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Edwards Elementary parents hope to renovate the aging facility at Edwards Elementary

GRAPHIC FILE PHOTO - In an effort to replace the aging and – in their view – dangerous play structures at the Edwards Elementary playground, the Edwards Volunteer Organization is on a fundraising mission as the school year comes to a close.

In an effort to replace the aging and – in their view – dangerous play structures at the Edwards Elementary playground, the Edwards Volunteer Organization is on a fundraising mission as the school year comes to a close. The group of mostly parents has raised roughly $16,000 in the past two months through an online fundraiser, silent auction and a raffle at the school's annual carnival.

Organization leader Sarah Moore came before the Chehalem Park & Recreation District board in April to request their help in the endeavor. Moore and her fellow parents argued that the current playground does not adequately serve students with certain disabilities as well as younger students, and they went further in saying portions of the playground were dangerous for all kids.

The CPRD board responded with a willingness to help however it can, and Moore said she is encouraged by CPRD'S involvement in the process so far. Parents continue to work behind the scenes, along with CPRD, the school district and others, to make the change happen.

"We have a team of people together to move the project forward," Moore said. "The team is comprised of parents, teachers, district employees and CPRD board members. We are now looking at learning what our community wants in a playground."

The volunteer organization distributed surveys to concerned community members at a variety of events, the start of a data-gathering effort that Moore said she hopes will point them in the right direction. With this data, the organization will have a better understanding of what the community wants and how much that might cost.

Previous estimates of $150,000 needed for the renovations of the playground may no longer be accurate. It could be more or less, Moore said, depending on what the community needs and what companies are willing to submit as a bid for the project.

"Completely replacing what we have would be great," she said. "What our community needs, though, is an inclusive playground for all kids and that might require a little bit more funding."

It's unclear yet just how much CPRD will be willing to contribute to the playground renovation, but Moore said they've promised to "bridge the gap" between however much the volunteer organization raises and what it ends up needing.

Other funding avenues will be pursued this summer as well. Moore and company plan to pursue grants from larger entities in the community as well as local Rotary clubs. This will happen in conjunction with the group's pursuit of a bid from playground companies.

By the time summer is done, Moore hopes to have a clearer financial goal in mind with plenty of financial support in place from local entities. Having strong support from CPRD, however, has been the highlight of this process so far.

"CPRD has been amazing," she said. "They've agreed to partner with us to make this happen and they've been working through these steps with us."

School briefs

Teen studio arts on display at the cultural center

Teens with an interest in the studio arts are invited to a number of events at the Chehalem Cultural Center this summer. Sixth- through 12th-grade students can participate in the sessions, which run from June 24-28 cost $85 per session. Morning sessions are from 10 a.m. to noon for those interested in the photography and drawing/painting studio. Afternoon sessions, from 1 to 3 p.m., include stage and theater for teens, mixed media and a ceramics wheel throwing studio. For more information or to register, visit www.chehalemculturalcenter.org.

NHS alumni Golden Gathering set for August

Newberg High School alumni that have been graduated 50 or more years are invited to a meeting from 1 to 4 p.m. Aug. 11 at the A-dec Inc. company cafeteria. The event marks the 19th annual "Golden Gathering" celebration and is hosted by reunion chairman Ken Carsley, class of 1961.

Last year, graduates from the classes of 1942 to 1968 were in attendance. This year, the class of 1969 or earlier is invited to attend. Memorabilia to share will be displayed on tables at the event as well.

For more information, call Carsley at 503-538-5849.


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