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Mike Bondi, director of the North Willamette Research and Extension Center, invites the public to attend an open house July 19 from 4-7 p.m.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Lake Oswegan Mike Bondi, the director at the North Willamette Research and Extension Center, poses at the entry sign to the center, located south of Wilsonville. He invites all to attend the centers free open house event July 19.

Long-time Lake Oswego resident, Mike Bondi, is welcoming visitors for a special event at the farm he manages — the North Willamette Research and Extension Center (NWREC), one of a dozen similar farm research centers around the state and operated by Oregon State University.

The center is the Willamette Valley's only agricultural research and experiment farm and is located in Clackamas County just south of Wilsonville. NWREC is hosting its annual Community Open House on Wednesday, July 19 from 4-7 p.m. The center is located at 15210 N.E. Miley Road, Aurora.

"Our open house is a fun event," says Bondi, a Lake Oswego resident. "It's the one time of the year we open the gates and welcome the public in to see what we are doing."

The center is a 160-acre experimental farm and is home to nearly 30 faculty and staff. During the summer months, the center adds another 30 high school and college students to help with field and laboratory work.

The NWREC's Community Open House is a family event, and it's free. The faculty and staff will have displays and demonstrations showcasing their work. OSU Master Gardeners and Master Food Preservers will be present to answer questions. Hay wagon tours of the farm will be available.

Berry tasting will allow participants the chance to sample the latest varieties of berries coming to the market. Fresh, farm-grown vegetables will be for sale in a mini-farmers market. Hamburgers, hot dogs, and berry pie will be provided by the Canby High School's Future Farmers of America chapter. OSU's Benny Beaver will be on hand for photo opportunities.

"Come on down to the farm," Bondi says. "The work we do at NWREC is important for all of us. We help the farmers produce the food we all want and need. See how we are shaping farming for the years ahead."

Bondi says that more than one-third of Oregon's entire agricultural value is produced in the north valley between Salem and Portland. NWREC's research and education programs for farmers focus on the main agricultural crops grown in the region including nurseries and greenhouses, berries, hazelnuts, Christmas trees, vegetables, and small farms specialty crops.

Bondi has lived in Lake Oswego with his wife, Connie, since 1985. Their son, Aaron, graduated from Lakeridge High School in 1997. Bondi's career with OSU now spans 40 years — mostly as OSU's Extension Forestry and Christmas Tree agent in Clackamas County. Six years ago, Bondi was appointed as a Regional Extension Administrator for all Extension and research programs in the area — including the Director of the North Willamette Research and Extension Center.

For more information about NWREC, including driving directions, see their website at http://oregonstate.edu/dept/NWREC.

— The Review, Tidings

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