Volunteers salvage items to reuse from old play structures at Troutdale's flagship playground

About two years after a fire destroyed one-third of Troutdale's signature playground, Imagination Station, the remaining play structures were torn down. OUTLOOK PHOTO: MATT DEBOW - Talia Shide poses with her 9-month-old daughter, Cora Shide, during the teardown of Imagination Station on Saturday, June 16.

On Saturday, June 16, Troutdale city staff, volunteers and crews from Conner Construction Co. disassembled the original structure west of Reynolds High School on Southwest Cherry Park Road. The park deconstruction paves the way for the construction of Imagination Station II, which will be an all-inclusive playground designed by Leathers & Associates.

On Saturday, crews worked to tear down the structures and salvage items such as slides and climbing walls, said Kimberly Carl, the project's volunteer coordinator. Those items were taken home by anyone who signed up for them, and by Saturday most of those pieces were claimed.

"It's not just being put in a dumpster," Carl said.

Carl, a Gresham resident, said her kids played at the original Imagination Station often, and for her daughter's 11th birthday they had a scavenger hunt at the park.

"It'll be a great structure that is all-inclusive," Carl said. "It is sad to see the original go down, but it'll be nice to see every child have as much fun as my kids had."

Imagination Station's II is designed for use by children of varying abilities, said L&A President Mark Leathers, in the proposal submission.

"Special attention has been given to the design to ensure that it provides all-inclusive play with a heavy focus on accessibility," he said. "The play equipment that has been chosen challenges users by addressing their physical, social and mental development while providing exciting play opportunities. Safety-fall surfacing on the entire project will consist of poured in place rubber."OUTLOOK PHOTO: MATT DEBOW - Troutdale City Manager Ray Young and Elizabeth Welch help to take apart a swing at Imagination Station on Saturday, June 16.

The original structure was designed by L&A in 1994, and built with the help of volunteers, according to an Outlook. The structure was rebuilt with community involvement in 2012, funded in part by a grant from Metro Regional Government.

L&A was selected by the Parks Advisory Committee and Troutdale City Council for the rebuild, at a cost of about $800,000.

Talia Shide, who volunteered on Saturday morning, was taking home some of the playground equipment and artwork.

Her father, Frances Claus, was a Troutdale employee who helped build the original park. Claus died in 2006 from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly know as Lou Gehrig's disease.

In addition to keeping a memento to honor her father, Shide said the play equipment will be enjoyed at home by her nieces and 9-month-old daughter.

Shide's mother, Debbie Claus, also brought home park equipment.

"It's bittersweet; but I'm happy to see something new built here," she said.

The upcoming volunteer rebuild sessions are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, on the weekends of June 30, July 7 and July 14.OUTLOOK PHOTO: MATT DEBOW - A backhoe demolishes a play structure at Imagination Station on Saturday, June 16. The playground was torn down about two years after a third of the playground was burned by a fire.

To sign up to volunteer, contact Carl via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 503-674-7256. Volunteers can also sign up at Troudale City Hall, 219 E. Historic Columbia River Highway. Drop-ins are also welcome at the park during volunteer hours without prior registration.

For more information about the park, visit

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