by:  Ellouise Minter

A simple building project has just been completed at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center. The lower level's concrete walls have received a fresh coat of paint, and the transitions from the floors have been made 'real smooth.'

But this is truly a case of a little meaning a lot, because it is the beginning of big changes at the ACC.

'This represents a lot of time and energy,' said Ann Adrian, ACC manager. 'Essentially, it's a historic event.'

The reason is that the money for the project comes from a $59,000 disbursement from the Minter Fund, which was established by the late Ellouise Minter in 2006 to benefit the ACC and the Lake Oswego Public Library.

The interest from the $1.5 million set up by Minter promised to provide huge benefits. But it required several years of cajoling to get the ball rolling. The Lake Oswego City Council was cautious about opening the purse strings.

'I wondered, 'What's the deal?'' said Doug Oliphant, former president of the Lake Oswego Adult Center Foundation and a longtime ACC activist. 'We had one and a half-million bucks and nothing was happening.

'Ellouise Minter intended for proceeds to be paid out annually. I discovered that not one penny had gone to the center.'

Oliphant pushed for action and also educated the public about the Minter fund. Others joined in to free up the Minter money, including city councilor Donna Jordan and a newcomer to the Lake Oswego scene, Malaika Maphalala, executive director of the LOACF.

'There were a lot of interested people who worked for this,' Adrian said. 'We had four different committees looking at our needs for décor, safety and signage.

'Donna Jordan (liaison between the council and ACC) brought representatives of organizations to look at all the possibilities for remodeling. She pulled folks together.'

Jordan is looking forward to the changes.

'We now have the money to make the center a more convivial place,' she said.

Oliphant said, 'When you walk into the center you don't get a lot of positive vibes. You do from the people but not from the building. It's not warm and welcoming. We can now do things conducive to bringing younger seniors here.'

'We had a feeling we could improve the first impression for users of the center,' Adrian said.

The next item on the to-do list is replacing the lighting, which Adrian points out is a matter of much importance to senior citizens, many of whom deal with diminishing eyesight. Although there is still money left from the first payment, more Minter funding will be necessary to do a complete job of renovating the ACC lights.

'Now that the ball is rolling, we want it to keep rolling,' Maphalala said. 'We're so pleased to have a resource that really benefits the ACC.'

Because of his own parents, Oliphant has an excellent idea of how much the ACC means to the senior citizens of this community.

'I could see how the center really improved their lives,' Oliphant said. 'We need to see the reality that our senior population in Lake Oswego keeps growing and growing. A lot of those seniors can use that center.'

How was this round of Minter funds used?

Individuals came together from the ACC's accreditation committee, the city's 50+ Advisory Board and the Lake Oswego Adult Center Foundation to draft a priority list of projects using the Minter fund's annual distribution. The proposed improvements, based on needs noted during the ACC's accreditation process and by the foundation, ranged from painting to flooring and aimed to make the ACC 'as user-friendly and accommodating as possible,' Lake Oswego Adult Community Center Director Ann Adrian said.

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