Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.

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The Sellwood church quells neighbor worry about big apartments rising on land it is selling

DAVID F. ASHTON - Kathy and Chris Maas show plans that Immanuel Lutheran Church is making to upgrade its campus. Having served the greater Sellwood-Westmoreland community for more than a century, Immanuel Lutheran Church is preparing to upgrade part of their campus – the Community Hall.

That's what Kathy Maas told us – she is a member of the Church Council Board who is actively involved in the upgrade project, as well as being Immanuel Lutheran Preschool's Director.

Having read in THE BEE that the church had received permission from the Portland Bureau of Developmental Services to rezone – and thus to be able to sell – one of Immanuel Lutheran's five contiguous lots, caused concern among neighbors, Maas said.

"We sold a lot to a longtime parishioner, who wanted to be closer to the church and be a more active part of it," Maas informed. "The family is planning to build a one-story 'green' residence; this is not going to be a commercial development, or a high-rise."

The church's leaders decided on this option to raise funds for increasing their ability to perform community outreach by updating their 6,000 sq. ft. Community Hall – "without touching our operating funds," explained Maas.

The first phase of their plan is to move the playground equipment from the lot that's been sold to the grassy area in front of the Community Hall.

Next, they plan to renovate a portion of the Community Hall by opening two side rooms and installing a new restroom. Other potential enhancements discussed with their congregation include moving the preschool from the church basement into that space; another idea is to create an elder "daytime care area" – a place to bring the elderly, thus providing respite for caregivers.

"Another option for the area would be to offer it as a conference or meeting room for crafting clubs or AA meetings; there are few spaces for conferencing and meeting in the area," Haas said.

The third phase of their plan is to upgrade the Community Hall's prep kitchen to become a certified, licensed "commercial kitchen", which can be used by their members or other groups serving the community – either for serving in the hall, or for preparing food to take to others.

"With these upgrades, people can apply to rent the hall for events, including wedding receptions and other programs," Haas said. "Or, it could be rented for pop-up restaurants, or other community activities where people want to use a commercial kitchen."

Learn more about the church, and their preschool, online – www.immanuelpdx.com


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