Tim Jorgensen’s Edgewood yard and his replica of New York’s once imposing Twin Towers have been getting lots of visitors this week.
“I just wanted to make people think and remember,” he said. “I’ve never seen my neighborhood so busy.”
He started working in April on the two scale models of the World Trade Centers, and put them up Sept. 5 in advance of the anniversary Friday (Sept. 11) of the attacks that destroyed the 94-story skyscrapers.
The replica towers stand at 33 feet, 3 inches, and are made of steel, rebar and plastic outside Jorgensen’s home at 36th Street East and 108th Avenue East.
They’ll come down Sept. 19 — 14 days for 14 years since the 2001 attack.
Costing about $12,000, the replicas weren’t cheap to build, and they weren’t easy.
“A lot of tedious, back-stretching, aching work,” he said.
The city told him the towers must withstand 85 mph winds, and that he’ll eventually need to get engineering paperwork done.
An engineer friend helped with the design, and the concrete base of the towers goes 5 feet into the ground, Jorgensen said. He’s not worried about them holding up.
Of the many visitors, all reactions have been positive so far, he said.
For a small donation, visitors can choose a name from the list of the roughly 3,000 people who died in the attacks, and write the name on Jorgensen’s towers, which he plans to put up every September.
“It’s incredible,” Rick Shelby of Federal Way said Wednesday after he added the name of victim Joseph Patrick Shea — a person he picked at random — to the towers.
“You don’t ever want to forget, and that’s such a good way to remember the victims,” he said.
Fittingly, the first person to add a name to the tower was a Graham resident who lost a family member in the attack and added the relative’s name to Jorgensen’s replica.
The new towers are not the first time Jorgensen has commemorated 9/11. After the attacks, he laid out Christmas lights in the shape of the twin towers in his yard.
“After that he was like: ‘I want to go vertical,’ ” said his daughter, Mikayla Jorgensen.
He did a PVC pipe version for the 10th anniversary, before graduating to metal this year, she said.
She helped him with the replicas, and thinks they look most beautiful and authentic at night, illuminated by flood lights they’ve set up.
“We want to bring about a positive from a negative,” she said. “It was a tragic day that we should never forget. It touches the entire country. It’s an American thing.”
She’s joining the Navy, and heads to boot camp in March. Dad is proud of her career, she said.
The family has no particular connection to the attacks to prompt them to build the makeshift monument.
“It’s just that I’m a patriotic, country-loving American,” the elder Jorgensen said. “Love the people, love the country, love what it stands for.”