The city axed a popular summer program in Brooklyn last year; neighbors want it back

RITA A. LEONARD - Attending the February 13th meeting of the new Friends of Brooklyn Park were, from left: Melaney Dittler, Adam Livermore, April DeWees, Genia Zilberstein, Caroline Dunn, and the committees Chairman, Ben Tarne. Nearly a dozen Brooklyn neighbors have been organizing as the "Friends of Brooklyn Park" (FoBP) to try to return the popular summer program that was axed by Portland Parks and Recreation last summer. The new committee's Chairman, Ben Tarne, took a leave of absence from his position on the Brooklyn Action Corps Board to guide the group, which has been meeting twice a month in an effort to "get things going".

At the February 13 meeting at Iron Tap Station, Tarne revealed that the group now has its own bank account and Tax ID number. Linda Livermore has donated accounting services to the group, and April DeWees has been chosen Treasurer, and Caroline Dunn was elected Secretary.

Tarne observed, "We've received a large donation from the Brooklyn Park Pub, and the Bear Paw Tavern did a fundraiser for us last year. We hope to raise about $25,000 to cover the costs of an eight-week-long 2018 Summer Program, which covers salaries, overhead, permits, and supplies. City insurance is going to be one of our biggest expenses, but PP&R is currently working on getting our permits ready.

"We're working on securing 501(c)3 nonprofit status," he continued, "But we already have a commitment from former Park Director Craig Montag to start the program in late June, with the help of one assistant. Hopefully, Craig still has access to the program supplies stored in the Park Shack. FoBP still needs a Communications officer, but currently we communicate on Facebook ( We're also looking to launch a website and a 'GoFundMe' campaign."

The committee has plans for a May 12 fundraising concert at Rose City Coffee from 4 to 6 p.m. The Greater Brooklyn Business Association (GBBA) plans to advertise the committee at their Vendor Fair at Sacred Heart Villa at the end of May. Melaney Dittler proposed a fund-raising raffle to take place at that time, and there were other suggestions for raising funds. "We could use a Fundraising Committee Chair," remarked Tarne. The committee is hoping for more Brooklyn residents to participate in committee efforts to restore the popular summer program this summer in Brooklyn Park.

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