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Third district meet on for equestrian team

After the Northwest Equestrian Center sold last week, the team worried that their competition site may be lost

The Estacada equestrian team has one more district meet to go. The three-day event, which is part of the qualifying requirement for riders to make it to the state competition, is scheduled for April 20 through April 22.

Until Monday, April 2, they weren't sure where it would be. It was scheduled to be held at the Northwest Equestrian Center in Boring, where the first two district meets took place and where all six district teams routinely practice.

But on Thursday, April 29, the Equestrian Center was bought on the steps of the Clackamas County Courthouse by NW Property Wholesalers for less than $800,000. The former business owner, Shelly Curtis, filed bankruptcy on Nov. 29, 2006, under the name Jolami, LLC. The property then went into foreclosure.

The day before that happened, a family who has been living on the premises and working as the caretakers of the animals that are boarded there didn't know if they'd have a job or a place to live after the auction took place.

And Carmel Guzman of Boring, who owns the non-profit agency Oregon Animal Rescue, and who has used the facility as a place to board horses for the past 15 years, didn't know if her animals could stay or if they'd have to go.

Trevor Burn of NW Property Wholesalers in Vancouver, Wash., said the only ones that have been asked to leave are Curtis and her boyfriend, Mark Broeg, who managed the facility for the past year.

'The most immediate plan is to keep the doors open, clean the facility up, and begin making repairs,' Burn said.

So the third district meet is on as scheduled for April 20. After that, the situation is still up in the air.

Sandy resident and gaming clinic facilitator Randy Pierce, who teaches at the equestrian center every Monday evening, said riders from Barlow, Sandy, Estacada, Corbett, Centennial and Oregon City high schools will all feel the loss if the Equestrian Center closes. 'I don't know of any place within 50 miles this big,' he said. 'Clackamas County has the most horses per capita in the United States, and Multnomah County is the most populated and wealthiest county in the state. I find it a shame that the two largest and richest counties in the state can't support these things for the kids. It's their heritage-it's what Clackamas and Multnomah counties have always been.'

After the sale of the property last week, Burn went to the equestrian center and discovered that Broeg was taking things from the property. 'I asked him to quit removing things from the property unless he could show me that he owned them,' Burn said.

Burn then contacted Mike and Paula Pfeiffer. They owned and operated the business from 1987 through 1999, and although they no longer own the 90,000 square-foot barn and 14-acres of property, they do still have a vested interest in the business.

Burns said the Pfeiffer's are currently at the facility and as for now, they plan to keep it open for upcoming scheduled events. 'They are keeping the doors open until we sort it all out,' Burns said. 'It's a great community place, no one wants to see it close down.'

Lori Rasmussen is the coach for the Estacada equestrian team. Her daughter, Meghan, is a senior and has been on the team for the past four years. The Estacada team has been practicing at the center twice a month throughout the season, and it is the only facility within the district big enough for district meets.

'There could be so much potential there if someone were to have the vision and backing to fund it,' Rasmussen said. 'I'd hate to see it go, I really would.'