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Preschool kids at Sellwood Community House are now protected from rain, outdoors, by a new pavilion

DAVID F. ASHTON - To be used both for schooling and for public events, the new volunteer-built rain sheltering Sellwood Community House Outdoor Pavilion is a valued addition. A project started in the patio outside of Sellwood Community House, at S.E. Spokane and 14th, on the sunny-but-cold afternoon of December 5, and completed the following weekend, has already been enjoyed on wet and wintery days.

"We call it our 'Outdoor Pavilion', and we're so glad to have it here," smiled the Community House's Program Manager, Elizabeth Milner, just after the New Year – as we used it to take cover from a light rain shower.

"The way this came about was that we realized that – once the rain started coming – we'd need more covered outdoor space for the kids; because of COVID-19 coronavirus concerns. We try to keep the kids who are in our preschool program outside, as much as possible," Milner told THE BEE.

"We looked around at different options for covering the patio area; and reached out to local architect Mark Lakeman, who put together design sketches for us, and then helped us procure all of the materials."

With class groups of ten kids, "The Pavilion 1s plenty big for the needs that we have now," Milner explained. "And, going forward, we can see birthday parties here – and perhaps an outdoor fitness class, and other events – just by moving the tables out of the way.

"We're so grateful for this new outdoor area, which now will help keep our kids and staff safer now and in the future, let us put on more community events, and accommodate community members even better!"

Made from reclaimed and salvaged materials

Mark Lakeman – who was also the creator of the original "Share-It Square" in Sellwood a number of years ago – joined us in the interview, just as a class of children came out to play. He observed that the structure – actually two of them – are made from reclaimed and salvaged lumber, driftwood from the coast, and roofing. The only new materials are the screws and bolts, and the gutter, he pointed out. It was constructed with the help of numerous volunteers, over three "build days".

"The shelter covers about 440 square feet – but it's built in two movable sections. Because it's made out of two modest movable pavilions, it didn't require a building permit," Lakeman explained.

About the inspiration for his design, Lakeman said, "The Sellwood neighborhood is a very community-oriented place that values our ecology. We wanted this pavilion to be a statement, complementing the historic structure, which itself was a statement of its time. These pavilion structures honor that, by being similar in some ways, but also having an updated idea."

The upper framing material is light in weight, but still strong enough to support snow loads in the area. "And, all the supporting structures are gathered from natural riparian areas, making it look treelike," Lakeman commented. "It makes me really happy to see this, now that it's up and being used."

He said it made him remember how much he enjoys carpentry, and thought that he might want to do this kind of thing fulltime. "Creating and building structures for kids, making play spaces – maybe that's the next chapter in my career! Doing this for people here in Sellwood." He heads a new firm oriented toward such work, called "Communitecture Architecture and Planning".

Keep in touch with Sellwood Community House programs and activities by going online – www.sellwoodcommunityhouse.org

And, to learn more about Lakeman's "Communitecture Architecture and Planning" – www.communitecture.net


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