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Troutdale City Manager Ray Young made the right call in recognizing a serious problem in the making.

COURTESY PHOTO - The proposal by GameTime.It would be nice to have seen the Imagination Station playground rebuild happen at a quicker pace, but we understand the recent decision that scrapped the first round of design proposals, essentially setting the project back till next summer.

For those having a hard time wrapping their brains around what happened last week, here it is in a nutshell:

The city of Troutdale realized its Request for Proposals (RFP) fell short of requiring designs to honor the look and legacy of the original Imagination Station, which was damaged by an arsonist in April 2016.

The city received eight proposals, and settled on two finalists. It seemed like a final selection was imminent, when it all suddenly fell apart late last week.

Here's the problem: The design (by GameTime) that seemed to meet most of the criteria in the RFP was receiving less support than the other finalist. That must have been frustrating for the people at GameTime, who were being penalized for playing by the rules.

Meanwhile, the other finalist (Play By Design) was getting high praise, even though it didn't score as well when measured against the RFP. But it did do a better job of honoring the look and legacy of the original Imagination Station, which wasn't a measure included in the RFP.

When that realization came into focus, there was really nothing else that could be done. In fairness to all involved — including the residents of Troutdale who cherish the legacy of Imagination Station — the city needed to throw out all existing design proposals, and re-issue the RFP with a nod to the look and legacy of the original playground.

Is this really going to have a significant impact on the rebuild of Imagination Station? Hmm, maybe not. It was somewhat questionable if the rebuild would happen this summer anyway. Assuming the council had made its final selection by late June, the winning company would then need time to manufacture the components and deliver the goods. And a mostly volunteer workforce would need time to complete construction before the return of the autumn rainy season. That's a big ask.

In all likelihood, this project may have been delayed until next summer regardless.

In the end, going out for another round of proposals ensures a fair process for all, with the best interests of the public firmly in place.

Troutdale City Manager Ray Young made the right call in recognizing a serious problem in the making. His decision will almost certainly produce better results for all concerned — especially the children who will enjoy the play structure for years to come.

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