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When Portland Parks ended its youth summer program at Brooklyn Park, the neighborhood stepped up

RITA A. LEONARD - Friends of Brooklyn Park on April 25 held a fundraising can drive to support the Brooklyn Park Summer Youth Program. Collecting donations were, from left, Melaney Dittler, April DeWeese, and Ben Tarne. "Friends of Brooklyn Park" was formed by residents in the neighborhood to help keep their summer youth program going in Brooklyn Park, after Portland Parks and Recreation decided not to fund it anymore. They have been successful so far in keeping the program open each summer, but it requires community fundraising – and, in the early afternoon of Sunday, April 25, the group held a returnable can and bottle drive on April 25 at the Brooklyn Park Shack. Brooklyn neighbors responded with enthusiasm, and the drive gathered some sixty full bags of returnable cans and bottles – some folks brought cans and bottles in laundry baskets. Event Chair Ben Tarne, and helpers Melaney Dittler and April DeWeese, spent three hours accepting the donations.

Tarne told THE BEE, "We had a heavy turnout today, what with the sunny weather. And at this time, we're confident that the popular Brooklyn Summer Park Program, under the leadership of Craig Montag, will be held four days a week, starting on June 21. The can drive is an ongoing program; but, for our collections this week, the bottle drop program will match these donations by 20%."

If you would like at any time to donate cans and bottles to aid this youth program in the Brooklyn neighborhood, you can pick up empty blue bottle-drop bags at Rose City Coffee Shop and at Brooklyn Pharmacy, both on S.E. Milwaukie Avenue just a short distance south of Powell Boulevard. And that's not the only way you can help: Tarne advised, "We'll also have a fundraising rummage sale, hosted at Brooklyn Center Suites, 3717 S.E. Milwaukie Avenue at Rhone, on June 25-26." For more information go online –

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