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The popular St. Helens recreational area leads in the race for Moda Assist honor

SUBMITTED PHOTO - McCormick Park in St. Helens, which has a disc golf course, is one of three outdoor recreational areas in the running for the Moda Assist honor. Voting ends April 2.

It's the ultimate execution of teamwork on the basketball court – an unselfish assist that leads directly to a teammate's ability to score.

For the seventh consecutive year, the Portland Trail Blazers' teamwork will fund a positive outcome for a deserving Oregon community thanks to a partnership investment with Moda Health. The Moda Assist Program commits $20 per assist – double last season's amount from the two partners – to install an all-abilities playground at the end of the season.

As of last count, St. Helens' McCormick Park is currently in the lead and despite the suspension of the NBA season due to the COVID-19 scare Moda and the Trail Blazers are committed to promoting healthy lifestyles for children through the Moda Assist Program. Columbia County residents can vote online at trailblazers.com/assist until April 2.

"This program has brought playgrounds to communities across the state," Said Dr. William Johnson, President of Moda Health. "We're happy to bring it back for the seventh year and look forward to continuing to inspire kids of all abilities to get out and play."

McCormick Park is the largest and most popular park in the city of St. Helens, attracting locals and park users from the entire Columbia County region. The park is approximately 80 acres and hosts a number of recreational opportunities. Despite the recreation facilities that attract thousands of visitors annually, McCormick Park's only playground equipment was installed over 20 years ago. Due to its heavy usage and age, certain elements of the original set have been removed due to safety concerns. The partnership with the Moda Assist Program would allow the city to leverage limited funding to install brand new playground equipment for children ages 2-12.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - McCormick Park is one of three outdoor recreational areas in the running for the Moda Assist honor. Voting ends April 2. Each year, Oregonians nominate their communities to be considered for the playground. Three finalists are then chosen from that group and each city rallies their fans to go online and vote for the winner. Voting started March 5 and ends on April 2nd at trailblazers.com/assist. Also, under consideration are Tupper Park in Sandy and Violet LaPlante Park in Astoria. Participating communities, each with its own defined needs, are of comparable population size and economic base. Vote now for the park you think should receive the donation to build an all-abilities playground.

Trail Blazers All-NBA point guard Damian Lillard continues his role as the program's ambassador, showcasing the team's and Moda's commitment to active, healthy lifestyles and the value of play for fans of all ages. Over the Trail Blazers' first 63 games this season (**through March 4), Lillard and his teammates have accumulated 1,265 assists. Lillard currently leads the Trail Blazers with an average of 7.9 assists per game.

Past recipients of the all-abilities playground equipment through the Moda Assist Program include Geiser-Pollman Park (Baker City, OR), Birnie Park (La Grande, OR), Culley Park (Portland), Fichtner Mainwaring Park (Medford, OR); Sunset Park (Hermiston, OR) and Baker Park (Redmond, OR). So far, the program has generated over $100,000 in funds from the Trail Blazers and Moda to support the initiative over its multi-year history.


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