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Buy a brick and help build a trail in Stafford

Three Rivers launches a fundraiser for Stafford Basin Trail
by: Submitted photo, Jayne Cronlund, left, and Cary Strauch stand at the kiosk on Stafford Road where bricks will be placed to celebrate the Stafford Basin Trail.

The Stafford Basin Trail needs you - to buy a brick.

Or preferably a lot of bricks, since the Three Rivers Land Conservancy is hoping to raise $150,000 in its fundraiser for the project.

'We're selling bricks for $100 and we want to get the word out as much as possible,' said Cary Strauch, a member of the conservancy's board of directors. 'We have a variety of people getting the word out.'

Primary among them is Jayne Cronlund, executive director of the conservancy. She plans to speak to the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce, local Rotary clubs and other groups interested in making the Lake Oswego-West Linn area a better place for joggers, hikers, dog walkers, cyclists, and simply lovers of the natural environment.

'This is our first real project to get private funding,' Cronlund said. 'Bricks are just one easy way to get involved.'

As Cronlund admits, $150,000 is a lot of bricks. Yet the project has already achieved remarkable support. Of the project's $650,000 price tag, the city of West Linn and Clackamas County have already agreed to contribute $300,000, and Jay Minor, president of the conservancy's executive board, has agreed to serve as manager of the construction of the trail.

'That's a value of $50,000,' Cronlund said. 'Jay has a background in highway construction.'

The bricks will be placed around the trail's kiosk on Stafford Road, which was dedicated last June. It serves as an excellent symbol of what already has been accomplished on the Stafford Basin Trail. Just a mile and a half of the trail has been completed, yet it already snakes through extensive parts of Lake Oswego and West Linn.

It is a bit awesome to contemplate what the trail will look like when its projected 15 miles, connecting recreation routes in Lake Oswego and West Linn, will be completed in 2008, as hoped. It includes some very picturesque country.

'It's going to be a lot more scenic in the future,' promised Strauch.

The Stafford Basin Trail is the latest effort by the Three Rivers Land Conservancy to preserve open land for public use rather than allow it to be overwhelmed by developers.

As Strauch said, one of the trail's purposes is 'to keep nature where people live.'

Since 1997 the organization has worked with the city of Lake Oswego to acquire open spaces.

'In 2001 we realized it would be great to have a trail system,' Cronlund said. 'It made sense to open it up. Our next goal is to connect with the West Linn trail system on Rosemont Road.'

Such projects are what attracted the enthusiastic support of Strauch. A former member of the Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Board and a dedicated dog walker, Strauch said, 'When Jayne spoke to us about the trail I knew this was a non-profit I could really get behind.'

The public has already made extensive use of the basin trail, either walking alone or accompanied by dogs, and they are quite enthusiastic about it.

Yet they do have one particular question about it: Why does the trail come to a dead end at one spot?

'They say, 'What's going on? Isn't it going to go anywhere?' ' Cronlund said. 'I say, 'Yes! With their help it will!''

In other words, buy a brick. They're lovely bricks, they make unique Christmas gifts, and they'll go toward building a trail that will benefit the entire community.

To obtain brick-ordering forms, contact Three Rivers Land Conservancy at 503-699-9825. It is located at 1675 South Shore Boulevard.