Local bowlers plan rally in Forest Grove
Allyn Clark, who owns both Rainbow Lanes in Forest Grove and the Four Seasons bowling alley in Hillsboro, is participating in a rally with local members of the bowling community this Saturday, Oct. 10, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in an effort to gather momentum to open bowling centers statewide.
The organized gatherings are taking place at six bowling locations in and around Portland, including Bullwinkle's in Wilsonville, Langer's in Sherwood, Milwaukie Bowl, Tigard Bowl, KingPins in Portland and Rainbow Lanes in Forest Grove.
"We're trying to bring the community together," Clark said. "Both regular community members and bowlers, to show the governor and county commissioners how much support we have for bowling, and that the communities do want it open."
All interested participants are welcome to attend the rally and are encouraged to wear a bowling or bright-colored shirt, and bring signs with "positive, easy-to-read messages." Masks must also be worn and proper social distancing must be practiced, organizers ask.
Clark said he's heard from supporters and interested parties throughout Washington County regarding their plight, also with questions like "why are they open in McMinnville, but we can't bowl in Hillsboro or Forest Grove?"
Yamhill County is in Phase 2 of the statewide reopening plan, allowing more types of businesses to open and relaxing some restrictions on gatherings. Washington and Clackamas counties are in Phase 1, as is their more populous neighbor, Multnomah County, which means additional restrictions are in place.
"There are a lot of people that are frustrated, because they don't understand why that is," Clark said. "Every day, people want to know why I'm not open, or ask if I'm open because they don't know otherwise.
"People are looking for activities to do, and with the rainy season approaching, bowling is one of those things."
Clark said one of the most frustrating things has been the lack of communication from the state regarding the bowling lanes' situation. He said bowling alley owners all were under the impression that when the state and counties began reopening this past June, that they would be part of Phase 1, but that didn't happen, and they don't understand why.
"We've had zero feedback from the state," Clark said. "Until about a week before everything was official, we were under the impression we were going to be in Phase 1 with the proper social distancing. Then all of sudden, that course changed, and since then, we've heard very little from the governor's office."
Clark added that the situation has been very difficult on him from a business standpoint, and that aid — like the federal Paycheck Protection Program loans — have been of little help due to some of the restrictions revolving around his business' "seasonal" status, employee retention and sick pay complications.
Ultimately, Clark hopes that Saturday's rally will raise awareness about the plight of the bowling business and show that Rainbow Lanes is a piece of the community that many people do miss.
"Our hope is to be a part of the community again, and operate and be what we have and want to again be," he said.
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