The Oregon City Parks Foundation is asking city residents to drop in and rock out this summer, in support of city parks.
The nonprofit organization's campaign Drop in for Parks begins at 6:30 p.m. on July 13, when the band Aerosmith Rocks kicks off the summer's outdoor concert series at the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Oregon City.
The public is asked to bring returnable cans and bottles to the concert and drop them into big blue bags provided by the foundation. Volunteers will collect and take them to the Oregon City Bottle Drop, where all proceeds will go the OCPF.
"We'll also be handing out blue bags for people to take home," said Dorothy Dahlsrud, a volunteer with the foundation.
The bags are labeled, so when residents drop filled bags into the OC Bottle Drop's E-Z drop chute, the money from the returnable containers will then be automatically credited into the foundation's account. The Oregon City Redemption Center is located at 14214 Fir St.
People can also fill the bags and bring them back to the next concert and give them to volunteers. For more ways to support the OCPF, visit the foundation's website at oregoncityparksfoundation.org and click on the Donate button.
The Oregon City Parks Foundation was organized when a group of residents "saw underfunded park maintenance and realized a core group of volunteers was needed to assist with this issue," said Joyce Gifford, one of the organization's founders.
"Some parks were lacking children's play areas and some needed pathways," she added.
The group formed the organization, which received nonprofit status last year and set out to bring together volunteers, businesses, community leaders and individuals to support the parks system.
The foundation is dependent on grants and donations for funding, Gifford noted.
Since its inception, OCPF has partnered with SOLVE for a work party in Waterboard Park to remove ivy and has plans to build naturally landscaped play areas in parks.
By dropping off returnable containers, people are helping Oregon City parks "one can at a time," Dahlsrud said.
"Small steps can make a big impact," Gifford added.
The Drop in for Parks campaign is also a way for the foundation to become more visible and attract active members and more volunteers, Dahlsrud said.
"We need tech people, we need grant writers, and we need people who don't mind getting their hands dirty," she added.
This past spring, more than 30 people showed up to pull ivy in Waterboard Park, Gifford said, adding that volunteers are needed for an upcoming work party at 9 a.m. on July 29 at Old Canemah Park, 611 Fourth Ave., in Oregon City.
"Helping parks makes a healthy, vibrant community," Gifford said, noting that when families volunteer together it gives them ownership and respect for the parks.
"And that carries through" to the next generation, she said.
Dahlsrud added that volunteering and returning bottles and cans are ways to "touch your community and do good."
Jerry Herrmann, an Oregon City environmental activist and volunteer with the foundation, said that the group has just received a $19,000 grant from the Oregon City Metro Enhancement Fund. "We have targeted seven of 24 acres for ivy removal in Waterboard Park," he noted.
"We are hiring a company to come in and chop the roots of the ivy and pull up the roots. And then volunteers can come in [next fall or in early spring] to pull the dead ivy off the trees," Gifford said.
Herrmann is also interested in using the end product of the recycled bottles, which can be turned into building materials by a firm in Coos Bay.
"It can be used to build signage in the park or for trail markers. It is indestructible; we have used it for signage at the Environmental Learning Center," Herrmann noted.
Another park project includes a partnership with the city of Oregon City to build a trail to connect the Promenade with Canemah's Children's Park and Canemah Bluffs. The OCPF also plans to purchase native plants to help with a landscaping project at the VFW Hall.
For Dahlsrud, the big message is to let people know the foundation needs volunteers and donations.
She added, "There is never enough tax money to help parks."
What: The Oregon City Parks Foundation's fundraiser Drop in for Parks
When: The campaign kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on July 13 at the first outdoor concert of the season
Where: The End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, 1726 Washington St., in Oregon City
Details: Bring returnable cans and bottles to the concert and give them to volunteers or pick up a specially marked blue bag and bring cans and bottles to the next concert. You can also return marked blue bags to the Oregon City Redemption Center, 14214 Fir St. All proceeds go to the OCPF. Bottle Drop hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Bottle Drop hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Donate: Visit the website at oregoncityparksfoundation.org for more information or send checks to: OCPF, P.O. Box 963, Oregon City, OR 97045.
Oregon City businesses that have partnered with the Oregon City Parks Foundation are:
Nautilus Plus O.C., Lithia Subaru of Oregon City, Oregon City Swimming Pool, Les Schwab Tire Center of Oregon City, Oregon City Library, Oregon City Pioneer Center, Oregon Trail Visitor Interpretive Center, Oregon City Planning Department, Tony's Fish Market, CURVES of Oregon City, Oregon City City Hall, BUEL'S First Impressions Printing, Stitch-n-Embroidery, Oregon City TGR Logistics Inc., Elements of Style Salon and More, Abernethy Center, First City Central Market & Bistro, EyeHealth Northwest, Don Pepe's Fresh Mexican Food, Noel Orthodontics, Eastham Preschool, Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation Dist., Jo-Ann Fabric, Oregon City School District Transportation and Facilities, NRG Kayaking, Old School Craft and Super Genius.