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Two-city rec program details unveiled

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Soccer camp, movie nights planned for Wood Village and Fairview.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - FROM LEFT: Wood Village Pastor Tom Miles, STRYVE worker Louie Aguilar, Friends of Fairview President Darren Riordan, Fairview City Councilor Brian Cooper, Portland Parks and Rec Director Mike Abbate, Community Activist Arlene Kimura, Hatfield Fellow Katherine Ashford, Pastor Brad Busiek, Reynolds Spokeswoman Andrea Watson, Fairview mother Denise Papin, Fairview Mayor Ted Tosterud, Gresham Mom's Club Founder Julia Puckett and Gresham City employee Ricki Ruiz.A proposed recreation program shared between Fairview and Wood Village has cleared another hurdle. Stakeholders presented a slate of initial offerings during a kickoff event on Thursday, March 9, at Wood Village Baptist Church.

"In the course of my (studies) I found a great unmet need, but I also found a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for this project," said Katherine Ashford, a fellow at Portland State's Hatfield School of Government who drafted a working model for the two-city rec plan.

"This vision has been fostered by many of you long before my participation," she noted. "I am truly humbled by the support and community spirit I see here."

A rough menu of recreational activities includes the launch of two co-ed soccer camps at Reynolds High School, expanding Fairview's family movie night program to Wood Village and a fishing derby at Salish Pond, which is tentatively scheduled for June.

Funding for the recreation program — which has not yet been approved by either city council — will be split 60 - 40, with Fairview paying the lion's share.

The total cost of the program, including the cost of a full-time recreation coordinator, has been estimated at just more than $133,000. Ashford recommends staffing most coaching positions with volunteers.

"I'm always looking for resources for young children," said event attendee Julia Puckett, whose 3-year-old enjoys the drop-in play park at Glenn Otto Community Park in Troutdale and storytime at the local library.

"There are many resources in Portland, but that includes travel time and we'd like to have something in the immediate area," she elaborated.

East Multnomah County already hosts several sports leagues, but entry fees range from $50 to $1,500, according to city documents. That monetary cost can pose a significant barrier to participation, especially in the Reynolds School District, where roughly 75 percent of the student body qualifies for free or reduced lunch.

Overall, one-third of Wood Village residents live below the poverty line, compared with one-fifth in neighboring Fairview.

In November, Wood Village City Manager Bill Peterson said the proposed rec program will likely have a nominal price. Both cities hope to offer need-based scholarships and corporate sponsorships to defray costs.

A budget prepared by Ashford pegs total revenue at $19,000, with more than half coming from donations, grants and other contributions.

Andrea Watson, a spokeswoman for Reynolds School District, described a "void" between Portland's robust parks programming and Troutdale's athletic efforts.

"We look forward to having more conversations and clarity about the school district's role," she said, "We just need to make sure the district doesn't have to pay anything into the program."

Ricki Ruiz, a Rockwood native and leading light at Gresham City Hall, was the only speaker to address the crowd in both Spanish and English. Other presenters relied on a translator.

"First of all, who made the food?" he joked.

"We feel like there's a huge need for these resources to be here," he said, noting that he is working to bring another soccer field to Fairview.

Nolan Young, chief civil servant in Fairview, said both cities will mull an intergovernmental agreement, formalizing the two-city recreation program. The two councils will meet to discuss the proposals at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, at Fairview City Hall.

"Our intent was to service the kids of the Reynolds School District, but to be inclusive, not exclusive," Young said. "As a result, we will not care where the youths come from. We will serve them."