by: David F. Ashton, Joe Kaczyk brought Black Bean fritters, courtesy of The Delta Café, to the February Woodstock Community Center open house.

Times haven't been easy for The Friends of Woodstock Community Center recently. Time after time, the city has threatened to pull funding for the center, and shutter it forever.

However, on February 10th, the stately Community Center, once a city fire station and located just west of the Bi-Mart Store on S.E. Woodstock Boulevard, was full of life.

'There have been some serious threats to the continued existence of the center, acknowledged volunteer Terry Griffiths. 'Indeed, some very, very 'close shaves'.

'But today, we're celebrating the fact that our Community Center is still open, thanks to the support and efforts of our neighbors. We're here today saying 'thank you' to all of the neighbors who support us.'

Griffiths told us this center is important because it provides a place for the people of the Woodstock area to get together, and to take classes. 'It's a nice, intimate space, and close to home for a lot of the people who walk here.'

Randall Magahay said that he takes clock repair class on Mondays, and attends Wednesday yoga sessions. 'It's nice to do this right here where we live, instead of traveling far and wide.' As a volunteer, Magahay added that he's happy to give to the center. 'I do landscape maintenance and plant growing, and donate to the plant sale.'

The kitchen counter was laden with treats. We saw cupcakes brought in by Island Creamery, scones from His Bakery, New Seasons' offering of fruit and bread, Delta Café's fritters, and Papaccino's coffee.

'We put on this open house to help raise both awareness and funds for the Community Center,' explained one of the event's organizers, Gary Bankston. 'This is turning out to be a fun event for the whole neighborhood. We have an art show and raffle and silent auction here.'

We moved into the 'Mirror Room', and found it filled with works of art. Proceeds from the sale of this art help support the Community Center.

We met artist George Heath. 'I just create what comes to mind when I make my ceramics.' Asked what he calls his cheerful, colorful artworks, he first said, 'Well, they're called Earl, Bob, Ted - and Bill! Hillary is yet to come.' Then he paused, searching for a better answer to our question; then opted for the term, 'sculptural cartoons'.

The basement of the center, once where Portland firefighters lived and slept between fire calls, for the open house was turned into a children's art workshop. Pink paper, hearts and other Valentine's Day decorations abounded, as kids made cards for family and friends.

On the way out, Griffiths confided, 'The Friends of Woodstock Community Center could use some help. We need a financial person to help us better our accounts.'

Another way one can participate is to can take classes at the center, she said. 'And, we always welcome volunteers. Of course, you can make a tax-deductible contribution to the Center, via Southeast Uplift.'

Learn more by going to the Internet website of the Woodstock Neighborhood Association,

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