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They seek the preservation of the velodrome, little league ballfields and other facilities.

PMG PHOTO: ALVARO FONTAN - Drone photos of Alpenrose factory and recreating center, taken in 2021.Neighbors of the Alpenrose Dairy property in Southwest Portland are seeking ways to influence the nature of a proposed 193-home development on the property — a place with a long history as a recreational hub open to the public.

"We don't know what we can do, but we want to do something," said Marita Ingalsbe, chair of the Hayhurst Neighborhood Association board.

Ingalsbe, Maplewood Neighborhood Association chair Claire Carder and Francene Grewe, representing Beaverton's Denney Whitford/Hempstreet Heights neighborhood, organized the Friends of Alpenrose Farm to advocate for preserving the Alpenrose legacy and at least some of Alpenrose's community assets. PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Marita Ingalsbe (left), Claire Carder and Francene Grewe sit in the stands of the main field of the main baseball/softball field at Alpenrose Dairy, which hosted the Little League World Softball Series for many years.

The future of the 52-acre property — bordered on the east by Shattuck Road and to the west by the Beaverton city limit — was in limbo beginning in 2019 because of a legal battle between members of the Cadonau family, descendants of Florian Cadonau, who started delivering milk around Portland in 1891.

In early 2021, the public was no longer allowed to use the velodrome, Little League ballfields and other facilities that for decades have served a broad community.

Last summer, builder Lennar Northwest Inc. submitted a preliminary proposal to build 193 single-family homes on the property as part of a land use pre-application to the Portland Bureau of Development Services. The builder has until June 17, 2023, to submit a land use review application with the city, but Ingalsbe said she expects that to happen soon.COURTESY IMAGE: OBRA - The April 1962 edition of the Dairyville Gazette featured information on the popular bicycle-racing facility. , Portland Tribune - News Despite talk of keeping open the Little League fields, velodrome, Dairyville and more, the venue may be closed forever. An epitaph for Alpenrose

The stated mission of the Friends of Alpenrose Farm group is to advocate for a balanced development. Among its goals are preserving the velodrome and the ball fields, conservation of forest and wetlands on the property, addressing community transportation needs and exploring opportunities for affordable housing.

Carder said Friends of Alpenrose Farm wants to raise public awareness of the planned development and to encourage the builder to listen to public input and to consider preserving community assets such as the ball fields and velodrome.

"We can't stop the march of time," Carder said. "But we do think it's important to recognize and remember the history and significance of places like Alpenrose."

As of Jan. 13, representatives from developer Lennar and from the company managing the Alpenrose property had not replied to requests for comment.

The dairy itself still operates on the property but will need to relocate if the property is redeveloped. In 2019, the dairy business was sold, independent of the land, to Kent, Washington-based Smith Family Farms.

Ingalsbe has lived in Southwest Portland for six decades. She remembers spending Sunday afternoons at Alpenrose riding horses and exploring the Western-replica Dairyland town. Alpenrose long hosted special events including Easter egg hunts, July 4 fireworks displays and Christmas in Dairyland.

"They were just embedded in the community," Ingalsbe said.

Perhaps best-known outside of the neighborhood for the Little League stadium that hosted the Little League Softball World Series from 1994 to 2019, the property includes the only velodrome in the state (the closest is in the Seattle area), a cyclocross course, a midget racetrack and a small rodeo arena. Until it closed in late 2019, the 600-seat Alpenrose Opera House was home to school activities, community theater and choirs.

The velodrome, famous for its steep banks, was built in 1967 when it hosted the U.S. track cycling national championships. Before it closed last year, it was one of only 26 velodromes in the United States.

As neighbors of Alpenrose, each of the women said the sounds from ball games or special events such as Easter egg hunts have been part of the fabric of life in the area.

Grewe, who raised her family in east Portland, moved in 2013 to the Beaverton neighborhood that borders the Alpenrose property. Before moving to the neighborhood, Grewe visited Alpenrose a few times for Little League games, but said wasn't fully aware of Alpenrose's impact on the community.

In an email Grewe said she and her young grandson would visit Alpenrose often to watch ball games or other activities.

Grewe was responsible for the restoration of the Jennie Bramhall House in the Albina neighborhood and has been involved with historic preservation in Portland, so she was thrilled when she was asked to join Ingalsbe and Carder in advocating to preserve Alpenrose.

"The prospect of losing our community resource that used to be part of the Alpenrose Dairy: world-class baseball fields, the velodrome, community theater, quarter-midget racetrack and more — it breaks my heart," Grewe said.

Ingalsbe said she has reached out to a variety of government agencies, including Metro and the Portland Parks Bureau. Both have funds to acquire land for parks, but Ingalsbe noted that the Alpenrose land might not fit those budgets or long-term plans.

Ingalsbe understands that grassroots efforts are unlikely to stop the development of the property. But she hopes that the Hayhurst Neighborhood Association and others can influence the development. For example, preserving the three ballfields for use by area Little leagues would be a positive for the neighborhood and Portland-area youth, she said.

"People are kind of resigned to (the development)," Ingalsbe said. "But this is Alpenrose. It's an icon. It's something very special to Portland."


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