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Portland gets picnic tables for being most natural city

by: Courtesy of Portland Parks and Recreation Fourth-graders at Gilbert Park Elementary School were presented Monday morning with a big check for $20,000.

Portland Parks and Recreation will collect a hefty prize Monday morning for winning Safeway's America's Most Natural City contest.

The victory comes with a $20,000 check that Portland Parks and Recreation will dedicate to adding a few amenities to Southeast Portland's Gilbert Park Elementary School and the adjacent Gilbert Park.

Beginning at 11:30 a.m., City Commissioner Nick Fish will get an oversized check for the city's E205 initiative, a program to improve and expand open spaces and park in East Portland neighborhoods beyond Interstate 205. The check will be presented at Gilbert Park Elementary School, 13132 S.E. Ramona St.

Fish will be joined at the ceremony by Safeway Group Vice President Jim Seiple and Gilbert Park physical education teacher Paul Crain.

Safeway grocery store officials hosted the contest on Facebook that called for supporters to vote for their cities' green initiatives. Portland received the most votes, giving it a $20,000 donation and 25 new picnic tables (constructed from segments of the world's longest picnic table) for city parks.

The longest picnic table - 305 feet - was created at a Safeway event and set a Guinness world record.

Safeway established the contest to highlight its new Open Nature line of all-natural food products. Portland-area Facebook users went to the special Safeway Facebook site and voted for the Rose City.