As National Park Service and law enforcement colleagues said goodbye to slain Mount Rainier ranger Margaret Anderson on Monday at a private viewing in Lakewood, officials prepared Pacific Lutheran University for the crush of people expected for today’s public memorial service.
The small college of less than 4,000 students will be tested today as visitors spread across four venues on and around campus. Vehicles will be parked on the first fairway of the school’s recently retired golf course, and the public is encouraged not to try to get on campus.
Greg Brewis, a PLU spokesman, expects law enforcement and federal employees will fill most of the three campus locations for the 1 p.m. service. Nearby Rainier View Christian Church, 12305 Spanaway Loop Road, is the best option for others wishing to attend the service, Brewis said.
Anderson was shot and killed at Mount Rainier on Jan. 1. The shooter was found dead, drowned in Paradise Creek, after a 24-hour manhunt.
While the service will be held in Olson Auditorium, which seats 2,700, it will be simultaneously shown at the church, as well as PLU’s Lagerquist Hall and Trinity Lutheran Church.
Olson Auditorium is limited to family members, dignitaries and Mount Rainier National Park employees, said Donna Nemeth, a spokeswoman for the memorial.
Law enforcement and federal employee overflow is expected to fill 530-seat Lagerquist Hall and the 700-seat church, Brewis said.
The ceremony will be broadcast on Northwest Cable News, KIRO-7 and KING-5 and on thenewstribune.com.
Classes will be in session at PLU today, and the auditorium will be used for basketball games starting at 6 p.m.
Many of the parking lots will be closed to the public, and many streets around the school will be closed starting at 9 a.m. Many Rainier employees will arrive by shuttle bus from Eatonville.
Larger facilities have traditionally been used for memorials of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in Pierce County. The Tacoma Dome was used for memorial services after the 2009 deaths of four Lakewood police officers and Pierce County sheriff’s deputy Kent Mundell.
Brewis said the venue was requested by the Anderson family. Anderson’s father, Paul Kritsch, is a Lutheran minister from New Jersey.
The family has requested that media – one cameraman and one photographer will be allowed in the auditorium - not take pictures or video of them during the service.
Brewis said the best way to view the service is on TV or online. But for those who do want to visit in person, he says, “make sure you get here early.”
A private service for the family will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church before the public memorial, Nemeth said.
Gov. Chris Gregoire plans to attend today’s service even though she is presenting her State of the State address at 10:30 a.m.
Mount Rainier Superintendent Randy King will speak, as will NPS Director Jon Jarvis, Rainier’s superintendent from 1999-2002, and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.
While most park employees are expected to be at today’s memorial, Mount Rainier National Park will be open today.
The park will be staffed by rangers from other national parks and the road is not expected to be open past Longmire, park spokesman Kevin Bacher said.
Craig Hill: 253-597-8497