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Roberta and Ed Schwarz are preparing to hand over funds to complete West Linn park

TIDINGS FILE PHOTO - Roberta and Ed Schwarz have worked for 13 years to protect the 20-acre White Oak Savanna land that was once marked for development.After more than 13 years of fundraising and advocating on behalf of the White Oak Savanna natural area, Roberta and Ed Schwarz can finally see the finish line.

The West Linn couple will host one last fundraiser Monday, Jan. 29, at the West Linn McMenamins before turning in their last payment to the Trust for Public Land (TPL) — which already acquired the remaining 5.65 acres of the White Oak Savanna that was privately owned and thus unprotected.

When the land was acquired by TPL, it was conveyed to the City to become public park land like the other 14 acres of the savanna.

TPL agreed to allow the volunteers to pay their share in three installments, the last of which will come in after the final fundraiser.

"All together, the community will have given about $500,000 of the $3.5 million we needed (to acquire all 20 acres)," Roberta said.

For this last fundraiser, Schwarz hopes to beat the fundraising marks from the last two.

"The first year (at McMenamins) we brought in $1,200. Last year was $1,500 and I'm hoping we can get another couple hundred this year to break our record," Roberta said.

The fundraiser will run from 5 p.m. until closing, with 50 percent of the night's proceeds donated to the White Oak Savanna.

Then, Schwarz will have the reward of submitting the last bit of funding and watching her dream become a reality.

"It feels so good — we didn't know if we'd ever make it, and we did," Schwarz said. "We'll keep at it and having kids come up there to do restorative activities ... but I don't have to do any major fundraising on this ever again, and that's a good feeling."

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