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Swinging into playground action

Volunteers needed to help with construction Sept. 24 at Canemah Children's Park
by: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN Workers from Brant Construction were preparing the playground at Canemah Park for playground equipment last week. Volunteers are needed to help install the equipment later this month.

At least 15 volunteers will be needed to help construct a new playground this fall.

Oregon City has approved a $92,000 contract for playground equipment at Canemah Park, but city taxpayers would have received fewer monkey bars for their money without volunteers agreeing to help with installation of the play structures.

The work, to be overseen by professional installers from the playground company, will be labor-intensive, including wheel-barrowing many loads of cement for the posts, lifting equipment and using hand tools to install. Paul Edgar, land-use chair of the Canemah Neighborhood Association, expected many more than the required number would show up for a 'barn-raising' type atmosphere.

Community Services Director Scott Archer said that about $12,000 went back into equipment purchases, thanks to the neighbors' promise to help.

'We appreciate the opportunity to do this, and it will be fun,' Edgar told the City Commission.

Last month, commissioners approved a $323,650 contract for restrooms, a basketball court, an expanded open lawn area, interpretive signage, picnic areas and a trail to Metro's adjacent natural area.

The regional government's $2.2-million land purchase earlier this year in Canemah Bluff triples the size of this protected natural area from 90 acres to some 271 acres, just as Oregon City-funded construction began in Canemah Park.

The state of Oregon's Parks and Recreation Department last year matched funding with Oregon City for Canemah with a grant of $253,900.

'We've been actually able to get more bang for our buck,' Archer said.

Metro's purchase on the northern portion of Canemah Bluff fills a gap between pieces of land bought earlier by Metro's Natural Areas Program, which voters tasked with preserving and protecting critical habitats, natural resources and open spaces. The other new section is south of Metro's existing 38 acres and is separated by privately owned land.

'We could have had less playground equipment by bringing in setup people, and a decision was made that, if we could help, we could get more individual pieces of equipment,' Edgar said.

The construction is set to begin on Sept. 24, but may be delayed to the following weekend.