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A PP&R program cancellation sparks a neighborhood's drive to bring it back by itself

RITA A. LEONARD - Andy Ferguson, performing as Red Yarn, performed dance music for kids at the Brooklyn Park benefit concert in May. Scores of supporters, young and old, gathered at Rose City Coffee House on S.E. Milwaukie Avenue across from Brooklyn Park on Saturday, May 12, to enjoy a show and concert presented to benefit "Friends of Brooklyn Park", and the effort to continue a summer youth program at the park after Portland Parks and Recreation defunded it.

The two-hour event featured nationally known children's entertainers Red Yarn (Andy Ferguson, and puppets) and The Alphabeticians (Jeff Inlay and Eric Levine) – as well as the raffling of prizes donated by local businesses.

The concert followed the annual Brooklyn Neighborhood Cleanup at S.E. 16th and Center Street. Cleanup Coordinator Marie Phillippi commented, "Hardly anybody showed up till about noon, but then came the big rush! This year we made more money [for the Brooklyn Action Corps neighborhood association] than we ever have before."

Phillippi and concert organizer Ben Tarne chatted about the two successful events, while The Alphabeticians played and sang with guitars and kazoos.

Rose City Coffee House contributed a portion of their sales that day to the Friends of Brooklyn Park. The nonprofit organization's chairman, Ben Tarne, acted as master of ceremonies at the affair, played a "Heads and Tails" game for prizes, and even played a song of his own on guitar. Families donated $10 each, and also bought raffle tickets for items displayed on the front counter. These included gift certificates, children's game packs, adult beverages, and a ukulele donated by nearby Artichoke Music.

Other local raffle donors included Artist & Craftsman Supply, Bullseye Glass, Stone Barn Brandy Works, Windermere realtor Melaney Dittler, Hip Chicks Do Wine, US Bank, and Coco Donuts. Raffle winners were drawn at various times during the concert. Children present were invited to come forward and dance in front of the entertainers, and provided much entertainment themselves.

Those who want to know more about, or help with, the community's effort to retain the summer youth programs no longer supported by Portland Parks and Recreation at Brooklyn Park are invited to go online – www.friendsofbrooklynpark.org

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