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NORTHEAST

Dreamers pick Rigler

Oregon's I Have a Dream Foundation has selected Northeast Portland's Rigler Elementary School as the place where the foundation will adopt and help its next class of elementary school students.

However, the nonprofit foundation won't formally adopt the group of third- or fourth-graders until it raises another $500,000 for the project, said Executive Director Karen Hill.

The Oregon chapter of the I Have a Dream Foundation, founded in 1990, periodically selects a grade level and then provides academic and other support through elementary, middle and high school to help them graduate.

The foundation also provides financial assistance for college or vocational education for everyone in the adopted classes who graduates from high school.

The goal of the program is to lower the high school dropout rate in schools that have a large portion of students from low-income families.

The most recent class the foundation adopted was third-graders at Northeast Portland's Woodlawn Elementary three years ago.

Hill said the foundation has raised about $600,000 for the Rigler project. She said the group's goal is to formally adopt the third-grade classes at the school sometime this spring.

More information is at www.ihadoregon.org.

SOUTHWEST

Playground help planned

Maplewood Elementary School parents are planning two events to raise money for new playground equipment for the school, at 7452 S.W. 52nd Ave.

The first is a Run for the Playground, set for April 24. Students are encouraged to find sponsors for each lap that they run.

The second is the sale of wooden maple 'legacy leaves,' with prices ranging from $25 to $75. A painting party will be held May 4 at the school.

The Maplewood Elementary School Playground Replacement Committee has been working on the project for about 19 months with the goal of installing the equipment in June. It is supported by the school's PTA.

For information, e-mail committee heads Jim Battan, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or Joan Stein, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or fundraising Chairwoman Lisa Sloan, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

NORTH

Cops, kids meet and eat

Students at James John Elementary in St. Johns today will have a chance to meet their local police officers, check out their cars and eat pizza together.

Students at other North Portland and Northeast elementary schools including Clarendon, Vernon, Beach, Boise-Eliot, Humboldt and Rosa Parks have had similar opportunities, organized by community philanthropist David Yandell.

'We are trying to be proactive in terms of creating a positive context for the kids to get to know the police,' said Yandell, one of a handful of citizens honored as Royal Rosarians' Newsmakers of the Year last week. 'They need to know at a young age that the police are their friends and are safe to go to in times of trouble.'

Each of the school events was sponsored by local businesspeople and organizations; in all, Yandell says he'll reach 6,000 kids through the effort and hopes to do more with additional sponsors.

SOUTHEAST

Event supports StreetRoots, Dignity Village

The Clinton Street Theater is hosting a benefit April 5 for the homeless camp Dignity Village and the newspaper Street Roots, featuring cult musician Artis the Spoonman and folk singer-songwriter Jim Page.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. for the benefit show at 2522 S.E. Clinton St. Tickets are available through Street Roots, 503-228-5657, or at the theater box office.

Dignity Village was originally a tent city for Portland's homeless, founded in 2000 in response to the striking down of city anti-camping ordinances.

It has since grown into a cooperative with a city contract and several housing structures.

Street Roots, founded in 1998 and published twice a month, is a nonprofit publication focusing exclusively on homeless issues.

NORTHWEST

Pearlites pay to park

A scan of Pearl District condo sales for January and February shows how important a parking space can be.

According to data compiled by Willamette Realty Group on its new Pearldistrict.com Web site, the average sale price for the 62 condos sold in the neighborhood during the two months was $248,348.

The average price for the 59 condos with sales pending is a much higher $448,992.

Ben Andrews, part owner of Willamette Realty, said one reason the months' prices were unusually low was the figures included the sale of 13 units in the North Park Blocks and McCormick Pier that did not have parking.

Andrews said assigned parking can add between $30,000 and $40,000 to the price of a condo.

EAST

Argay targets growers

The Argay Neighborhood Association has scheduled a discussion on how to combat what authorities say are organized crime rings moving into the residential neighborhood to set up large commercial marijuana growing operations.

The topic was sparked by the discovery that two houses were being used to grow marijuana, one on Northeast Fremont Court and one near Northeast 131st Avenue and Prescott Drive.

The meeting, which will feature a briefing from law enforcement officers, is set for 7 p.m. tonight at Fire Station 2, 4800 N.E. 122nd Ave., north of Sandy Boulevard. For information call 503-256-5579, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.epno.org/argay.htm

-Tribune staff