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THPRD board restores Hideaway Park's name

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - The Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District's board voted last year to change the name of Hideaway Park but reversed their decision earlier this week.The Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District last August voted unanimously to change the name of Hideaway Park to Babette Horenstein Memorial Park.

On Tuesday the same board voted 5-0 to change its collective mind.

What happened in between those dates was that residents in the Hideaway Hills neighborhood gathered more than 150 petition signatures and many testified to the board that the Hideaway Park name had been part of the fabric of their community for more than a half century.

Several speakers at an October board meeting said their issue with the name change had nothing to do with the late Horenstein, who had been a longtime and influential THPRD board member.

But the opposition was nonetheless nearly complete in the Hideaway Hills neighborhood.

TIMES PHOTO: ERIC APALATEGUI - Greg Freuler and other neighbors living near Hideaway Park wanted to keep its historic name instead of renaming the park in honor of influential board member Babette Horenstein.At the October meeting, neighbor Greg Freuler showed the board a map of the immediate Hideaway Hills neighborhood with green icons marking homes where residents opposed the name change.

“There’s not a single person out of an entire neighborhood that supported this name change,” he told the board at that time. “Not one.”

THPRD staff brought the recommendation to rescind the name change to the board in light of not only the strong neighborhood sentiment but also at the request of the Horenstein family, who agreed with the latest change despite their strong sentimental ties to the park tucked into a quiet Garden Home neighborhood.

“Since that time, Mrs. Horenstein’s daughters have stated they would rather their mother’s name be considered for a different THPRD facility where it may be more positively received,” staff wrote to the board.

District officials said they do in fact still plan to honor the tireless volunteer by naming an as-yet-undetermined district facility after Horenstein.

Another retired board member, Eldon Foster, also testified in October. His opposition to the name change was different: He said Horenstein was so important to the district that her name should be reserved for a park or facility of wider importance than a neighborhood park.

With seemingly all sides on the same page about Hideaway Park, no community members testified at the Jan. 12 meeting before the board voted to restore the park’s historic name.

Hideaway was the board’s first swing at applying a new naming policy.

“Maybe we moved too fast,” Chairman Larry Pelatt previously said.