City of Nyssa renames North Park in honor of Corporal Joe Johnson

Joe Johnson Memorial
Nyssa Memorial
Reserve Corporal Joseph Johnson
JJ's park in Nyssa Oregon
Posted at 4:49 PM, Jun 13, 2023

NYSSA, Oregon — On Tuesday evening, the City of Nyssa in Oregon held a ceremony, officially renaming North Park to “Corporal Joe Johnson Memorial Park.”

Joseph Johnson was the Nyssa Reserve Police Officer shot and killed on Saturday, April 15, just a few blocks from North Park, while responding to a call. Johnson, 43, had previously worked part-time as a campus safety officer for the College of Idaho.

Before the ceremony Idaho News 6 talked to SGT. Greg Armenta of the Nyssa Police Department. Armenta and Johnson were best friends.

"Man he was just one of those people that even the first time you met him man he was already your friend, there was nobody he couldn't talk to," Armenta said about Johnson. "Even people that he stopped or he gave tickets to or whatever, they'd always tell him thank you before he walked away. He just had that personality that you don't see anymore."

Mayor Betty Holcomb says the park, on Locust Avenue and North Fifth Street, will be known as "JJ's Park," a name chosen by Johnson’s children.

During the memorial ceremony for Johnson, held back in April, squad cars and emergency personnel from all over the region came to pay their respects to Johnson. Holcomb says that there was mass community support for Johnson, which showed his impact.

"And I don't know how many really knew Joe but it was just that it hurt our community," Holcomb said. "People came in when our officers were getting ready to go back on their shifts and they're like 'can I ride with you, what can I do to help you?"

In addition to cleaning up the park and adding new playground equipment, plans are in place to erect a permanent memorial for Johnson sometime in the future.

Tuesday’s ceremony featured city leaders, residents, and the Oregon State Police Honor Guard.