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Coming in 2013: A mountain community center

Hoodland Women's Club kicks off fundraising for the $1.75 million project
by: Diane Lokting This image of a Cascadian-style building is an example of what the new Hoodland community center might look like when contractors come back to the Women's Club with designs.

In the 1960s, the Hoodland Women's Club formed to garner support and funding for what is now the Dorman Center.

Fifty years later, the Women's Club is moving forward the next major mountain hub and a project almost 10 years in the making: Hoodland Community Center, slated for opening in spring 2013.

When the 12,500-square-foot community center becomes a reality, it will enhance current mountain programs and services, such as the senior center and library, with new spaces. And it will bring social services that mountain residents must travel as far as Oregon City to access, such as domestic violence outreach and the Red Cross' emergency presence during floods and power outages.

'The sense of community pride (the center will bring) is what I'm most looking forward to,' Kay Baker, chairwoman of the building committee, said of the new center. 'It's going to show this community it's important.'

With project manager Diane Lokting, the Women's Club is focused now on fundraising within the mountain community for the center, which will cost an estimated $1.75 million. The club has a goal to raise $100,000 locally, aiming to reach 200 pledges -- it has close to 100 now -- by the end of January.

These local efforts are vital to show major foundations contributing to the project the community support behind the project, Lokting said.

A year ago, the Women's Club won a $6,000 grant from Clackamas County to hire Lokting as the community center project manager. Prior to this, the club obtained a conditional-use permit from the county, approval for the location of the center -- north of Dorman Center and across from Welches Schools -- and funding from several private sources.

Additional grant requests and fundraisers are on the horizon. Most recently, the Women's Club received a $20,000 grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust to help hire a professional construction consulting firm that will help the project committee and manager navigate the building process with the county.

May will bring the review of grant applications for the Meyer Memorial Trust, Ford Family Foundation, and the Collins Foundation, which will total $700,000 if received.

Initial efforts for developing a new community center began in 2002, under Barbara Saldivar's leadership, when the Women's Club decided the Dorman Center was neither energy-efficient nor spacious enough to serve as a center for the whole community.

The Dorman Center, owned by the county and managed by the Women's Club, has for many years housed the Hoodland Senior Center, a pre-school, a day care and storage.

Early on, the Women's Club received approval to build the new community center on county park land. But the project ebbed and flowed, ultimately coming to rest until two years ago.

Now efforts are back in full force, and the project has gained considerable momentum the past year.

Beyond the improved library and senior center spaces, the new community center will offer a space for community and private events, a space for children's programming, a conference room, four offices, a commercial kitchen, space for the Neighborhood Missions Food Closet and an outdoor venue.

'I think it may bring people closer together,' Saldivar said of future community center, pointing out how the new space will serve intergenerational needs, offering seniors and children from Welches schools a place to congregate.

Lokting discussed the many opportunities the new center could offer, including a farmers market and Mt. Hood Community College satellite classes.

'It's amazing -- something we've dreamed about since 2002,' Baker said. 'To watch it really be going makes you want to work even harder to realize the dream.'

For more information about the community center project and fundraising, contact Diane Lokting at 503-309-0720 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .