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What will be left to enjoy, especially for families on limited budgets that can't easily replace this loss?

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - The Portland Childrens Museum is slated to be closed permanently. The Portland Children's Museum is a cherished venue for my family, and this is inarguably true for countless other local families.

Affordable, convenient and accessible, a visit always meant hours of unfettered, sheer delight and education for my toddler.

We are troubled, as is much of our community and its youngest denizens, about the impending loss of the museum.

This long-standing institution, which is nothing less than a physical embodiment of each child's playful spirit and curiosity, cannot be restored once it is dismantled. How does its dissolution represent our community, if we fail to put our energy and financial resources together to preserve a place that is inextricably linked to our children's happiness and development?

The things that survive this pandemic are unquestionably evidence of our values. Portland is a community that values social justice, the environment, beer, artisan eateries, dogs and above other things, children and education, is it not? Can we allow for this museum, beloved to our youngest residents, to be hurriedly taken away from them without deliberation or a chance for a coordinated, public effort to save it? What will be left to enjoy, especially for families on limited budgets that can't easily replace this loss?

Whatever financial obstacle the Portland Children's Museum is facing, it surely is not "insurmountable." A few days prior to the board's announcement, enrollment invitations were extended for the Opal preschool. This is a problem that can be remedied and it comes down to whether it's something we will do together as a community.

Portland, we don't need more coffee shops, marijuana dispensaries or breweries, however enticing those things may be for we adults. Our children need and deserve a chance to experience the joy of childhood again in this fashion, please don't let it (and Opal School) slip away.

Amanda Wernli lives in Southwest Portland


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