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Photo by Peggy Wallace
Dorman Down - Community icon yields to the shovel posted on 10/02/2017

The old Dorman Center has stood on shaky ground for a long time.

But it finally fell to the county’s wrecking ball in September.

Deemed no longer safe more than five years ago, the Hoodland Women’s Club (HWC) rallied to the Dorman cause and began the difficult task of fundraising in order to replace it with a community center, starting a journey that ended up in an economic and political cul-de-sac.

Barbara Saldivar presented the idea at an HWC meeting, and along with Kay Baker took up the task of grant writing to secure funds to hire a project manager.

The club tapped Diane Lokting, who spearheaded the eventually fruitless fundraising effort and told The Mountain Times, at that time, what it had meant to her.

“I was proud to be the project manager for the Hoodland Women’s Club,” Lokting said. “Through this work I came into contact with many amazing people – first and foremost the women whose vision to bring a community center to Hoodland was a dream of over a decade.

“The demise of the project is very sad.”

Despite attracting many foundations, the fundraising effort came up short.

But the HWC wasn’t ready to give up.

The club joined forces with the Villages at Mt. Hood with a new idea for the four-acre plot propped up by a community garden: this time, a community park.

HWC member Regina Lythgoe launched the project with an appeal during a Villages board meeting.

“We don’t have places to push our grandchildren on swings,” she said, and the idea took wings.

The Villages solicited the creativity of the Mountain’s Ben Bliesner, Josh Frazier and Jason Johnson and the trio created a mesmerizing CAD of what the new park could look like. It included a skate park, public shelter, five picnic shelters, a BMX track, playground, an improved community garden and a park-and-ride area.

With Clackamas County Director of Business and Community Services Gary Barth on board, the next step, once again, was fundraising. Barth said the county was willing to lease the property for $1 a year – the county owns the property – but it was up to the village to figure out the funding mechanism.

But the second bell tolled. The Villages at Mt. Hood was disbanded by the county for reasons that strained credulity.

The question now, is there a third time? The Dorman Center is gone. But the lot remains, yawning, waiting.

One thing is certain. Never take the HWC lightly. As has been reported in previous stories in The Mountain Times, they don’t sit around knitting and drinking tea.

By Larry Berteau/MT

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