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Park district effort has Nov. 15 petition deadline posted on 10/01/2021

After being delayed for more than a year, organizers of a potential Hoodland Park District restarted efforts with a rally held on Tuesday, Sept. 14 to help enlist volunteers to circulate a petition. Approximately 750 signatures will be need by Monday, Nov. 15 in order for the district to go a vote on the May 17, 2022 ballot.

“Awesome, more exciting than ever,” Regina Lythgoe, one of the organizers, said in describing the starting effort.

The proposed district, which had originally been proposed for the November 2020 election, would encompass approximately 20,000 acres, including the communities of Sleepy Hollow, Brightwood, Wemme, Welches, Zigzag, Rhododendron, Government Camp and Wapinitia, and feature a board of directors that will be elected on the same ballot. If formed, the district would receive three parcels along Salmon River Road gifted by Clackamas County, including the site of the former Dorman Center, which features the current community garden.

The district would develop the Dorman Center site as a community park, with proposed amenities possibly including a pavilion, playground, walking trails, extended community garden, bike pump track, skate park, dog park, space for farmers market, restrooms and onsite security. The district would be funded by a local property tax, proposed to be at approximately 67 cents per $1,000 of assessed value (resulting in approximately $200 per year on a house with an assessed value of $300,000).

Becky Fortune, who raised five boys on the Mountain and attended the September rally, noted that there were limited options for activities for her children, adding that her boys would frequently travel to Sandy to use the skateboard park there.

“It was a challenge,” Fortune said.

Fortune started working at the Welches Schools more than 20 years ago and recalled a number of grant-funded activities she helped coordinate, including adult classes such as yoga and pilates, art classes taught by area artists, afterschool programs and more, that only lasted a few years. She sees an opportunity for a potential park district to collaborate with various organizations on the Mountain to return some of those offerings for the community.

“I visualize being able to bring that back,” Fortune said. “We wouldn’t necessarily have to build a community center, but work with the school district for facilities.”

The district would also open the opportunity for other land in the community to be purchased or gifted, with a number of potential developments throughout the Mountain, such as bike and pedestrian trails connecting Mountain communities, an ice skating rink, a swimming pool and more. Organizers also noted that grant funding would be available to the district for projects, such a skate park, or for acquisitions, while the community would help determine the components and design of a proposed park.

If the district fails to form, organizers noted the parcels of land will be sold by Clackamas County.

More info hoodlandparkdistrict@gmail.com or visit www.hoodlandwomensclub.org.

By Garth Guibord/MT

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