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After some renovation, and with the pandemic looking to begin winding down, Woodstock reopens its preschool

ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF - Working on an early October Saturday morning, to prepare the grounds of the Woodstock Community Center for its preschool to finally resume in-person classes, were, from left: Terry Griffiths, Benedicta Foley, Sandy Profeta, David Groff, and Bea Rector. The Woodstock neighborhood had been offering a community preschool – up until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The preschool has been operating for years, and even though it has a waiting list, it is pretty low-key. Now, after two years of pandemic closure, the Center was ready to resume the in-person preschool on Monday, October 4th – after having been prepared for the re-opening two days earlier by a group of industrious volunteers. Pete Jacobsen, Vice-Chair of the Woodstock Neighborhood Association (WNA), had sent out a Woodstock Community Center work party invitation to eighty people who had signed up online as members – and among those responding were three eager new volunteers.

Those three, along with four members of the Friends of the Woodstock Community Center and two neighborhood "at-large" volunteers, accomplished a lot on Saturday, October 2nd – which turned out to be a beautiful fall day.

Two weeks before, as reported elsewhere in this issue of THE BEE, Woodstock and Hawthorne KeyBank employees had contributed a mountain of needed work at the Center. But a few unfinished tasks from that day remained, and those were completed on October 2nd in the course of only two and a half hours.

One of the three newcomer volunteers who came to help was Courtney Blinkhorn (a resident for five years). They set to work, washing windows inside and out until they sparkled.

Benedicta Foley, another new volunteer who responded, dove in with a shovel, a wheelbarrow, and a rake, and spread wood chips across the front area. Steve Fox, a longtime Woodstock resident and member of the Center's "Friends" group, brushed a new coat of black paint onto stair railings. Sandy Profeta, the neighborhood association and Community Center coordinator for its annual online plant sale, weeded and gave advice on which plants on the Center grounds were weeds – and which were not!

Along the front sidewalk, Woodstock resident Bea Rector beautified the landscape by weeding. The other volunteers joined in weeding, pruning, and spreading wood chips. Jacobsen used his skills to repair the kiosk that had been constructed in 2018 in front of the Center with volunteer help from the community. The kiosk has information about PP&R classes, and currently displays the history of the WCC. The reverse side of the kiosk provides space for community information and announcements.

The Woodstock Community Center has weathered many Portland Parks & Recreation budget cuts over the years. Now, however, because the Friends of Woodstock Community Center created a partnership with Portland Parks & Recreation 15 years ago, the Center reliably stays open. As part of that partnership, volunteer yard maintenance there is headed by the "Friends" group's Co-Chair, Terry Griffiths.

The preschool's in-person session continues throughout this year and next. And, in-person PP&R classes and rental space for events and meetings are hoped to again be offered after New Year's. Virtual Woodstock Community Center fitness classes, and possibly more virtual classes to come, can be found online at www.portlandparks.org Meantime, the WNA website now makes it possible for neighbors to sign up online as "members" to receive emails about events, meetings – cleanups such as this one, and updates – as well as to receive the monthly online newsletter. To add your name to that list, go online – www.woodstockpdx.org


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