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Pacers come home

Lakeridge hosts its first football

It's been a long time in coming.

Lakeridge fans will be clamoring Friday to the first home game the school has seen in its 37-year history. It will be a true homecoming in every sense of the word, and Lake Oswego School District officials are doing their part to make sure this isn't the only homecoming game at Lakeridge.

The game at Lakeridge against McNary High School of Salem begins at 7 p.m.

'It's a brave new world for Lakeridge,' said Stuart Ketzler, financial director. 'At times it's looked like we've been looking up a steep mountain, but we're there.'

It has already been a trying season for an undermanned Pacers team. But the homecoming game will be the high-water mark of the year no matter the outcome on the field.

'The kids are excited to be the first team ever to play on this field. We're not sure how big it's going to be but it could be huge,' athletic director and football coach Ian Lamont said.

After past disputes with neighbors over parking, traffic and other issues, officials are hoping that all goes well for the newly approved field. Previous limitations on the field required the Pacers to play at the district stadium at Lake Oswego High School, but this summer the city's Development Review Commission approved use of the field as long as a review of traffic, noise and other issues takes place next year.

There will be two consulting firms analyzing both the sound and the traffic during the game - information the district plans to use in its review.

'We intend to be good neighbors as far as mitigating the effects of this game,' said Ketzler.

McNary fans have two parking lots - the upper lot at Lakeridge and the Hazelia Field lot.

The district is also encouraging students, parents and fans to carpool and park in one of the designated lots or catch one of the shuttles.

First Student is running the five normal bus routes that run to Lakeridge every school day on a modified schedule for the game. The school has identified 900 parking spots in lots - such as at Waluga Junior High or City Christian Church, the locations for two tailgaters. There shouldn't be a need for any street parking, says Ketzler.

Parents are volunteering as flaggers to direct traffic between 4:30 and 7:30 p.m., as well as after the game.

'We probably have more volunteers than we know what to do with,' said Principal Mike Lehman.

Additionally, the district staff has taken steps to meet with the neighbors to include their input into the coordinated plan for the game.

'If you look at the differences between this plan and the one a few months ago, they're all neighbor recommendations,' said Lehman.

In fact, some of the closest neighbors wanted to know if they could put up signs in their yard to show their Pacer pride.

'We might be surprised whose lawns they show up in,' said Lehman.

One incentive the district is using is the Good Neighbor Transportation option. Fans receive free admission to the high school tailgater at City Christian if they choose one the these five options:

n Walk to the game from home;

n Use the free carpool parking at Palisades Elementary School and walk from there;

n Use the free carpool parking (three or more per car) for alumni and students at Christian City Church;

n Pay to park on the Lakeridge west lot: $10 per car or $5 for carpool;

n Take the bus from Waluga Junior High tailgater and back to Waluga after the game, from the National Guard Armory and United Methodist Church on South Shore Boulevard or from one of Lakeridges morning bus routes.

'If you are bringing a car, you want to have it full,' emphasized Lehman. 'We want to have the most amount of people with the fewest amount of cars.'

For her part, school board chair Deborah Lopardo is walking.

'I think we're going to have quite a crowd,' she said.

For more information and a look at a color-coded map, see http://losd.loswego.k12.or.us/news/lhs.homecoming.htm .