Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



'Friends of Moreland Woods' holds a public outdoor meeting to gain more public support and funding

RITA A. LEONARD - Friends of Moreland Woods Chairman Mark Lakeman presented the agenda for the visioning meeting, held on Llewellyn Elementary Schools covered playground area. "Friends of Moreland Woods" was formed by neighbors, primarily in Sellwood and Westmoreland, a couple of years back with the goal of finding a way to acquire the north wooded section of the Wilhelm's Portland Memorial property – adjacent to Llewellyn Elementary School – for use as a parklike public space.

Recently, the group requested to become a subcommittee of SMILE's S.N.A.C. committee, so that tax-deductible donations could be made to it. Such checks would be made out to SMILE, the Sellwood-Westmoreland neighborhood association, with the notation that the donation is to be earmarked for "Friends of Moreland Woods".

The new owners of the funeral home, Foundation Partners of Florida, have decided to use a small section of the two-acre property for a new parking lot, but the remainder – 1.8 acres – is not yet committed, and the Friends group is still seeking ways of buying the lot to preserve it as a Natural Zoned Open Space for public use. The lot is estimated das likely to sell at around a million dollars. The group hopes that if can raise a significant amount, individuals and various local businesses and charities might then donate the rest. On Saturday, October 23, the group gathered under the covered playground area at the adjacent elementary school to discuss visioning options for the future of this wooded natural area, overlooking the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge.

The two-hour meeting was chaired by Sellwood resident Mark Lakeman, founder & director of "Communitecture", and considered a national leader in the development of sustainable public places – more than 300 of them in Portland alone. Lakeman remarked, "We are at a critical stage in the preservation of the area. To raise the money needed to secure its future, we need a clear vision for what it will look like.

"We're here today to brainstorm and gather ideas to present a clear vision on what we hope the area will be used for. In November, when we meet with Foundation Partners, we'll request that the lot, currently zoned R-5 for housing development, not be sold for a full year – during which we hope to raise the funds necessary to purchase 'Moreland Woods'. There are grants out there; please let us know about them. And let us know of any concerns you may have."

Some three dozen interested neighbors gathered to listen and offer ideas to define the goals and best uses for Moreland Woods, as well as to prioritize ideas and uses for its future, to explore multiple design ideas, and to "organize the community to help with the next steps".

Those present were organized into three brainstorming groups to focus on design ideas for using the area as "a natural space for human reflection and interaction"; use for area wildlife, student learning, and social gatherings; and as a place to exercise dogs. There were also ideas for fundraising, which included charging $10 for Save Moreland Woods signs, "buy a brick" plans for pathways, naming each tree for a fee, holding a contest to create artistic benches at the site, and looking for sponsors.

Lakeman summed up the meeting with a hopeful air: "Next we need to compile this feedback to our website – – and then invite comments from people who weren't able to be here. We need to raise awareness of our planning when we meet with Foundation Partners at the end of the year, to firm up our vision and plans for fundraising."

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