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Donations save PAL center, for now

Thanks to donations from members of the community, as well as some corporate fundraising hustle, the doors to the PAL “Bud Monnes” Youth Center in Gresham will remain open.

At least for a little while.

The Greater Portland Police Activities League Program late Tuesday, Feb. 12, announced that without additional funding it would be forced to close the center and its administrative office in the Portland as of Friday, Feb. 15. The Beaverton PAL center was to remain open, however, media reports indicate that officials with the city of Beaverton approved emergency funding to keep its center open for three more months.

Since the announcement, a total of $16,000 from the community has come in, allowing the center — at 424 N.E. 172nd Ave. — to continue to serve area children and teens, providing a place to study after school, socialize, recreate and stay off the streets.

“It's a stop gap,” said Mark McGinnis, the agency's new chairman of its board of directors.

The league cited ongoing reduction of governmental funding and the economic times as being to blame for the need to close the Gresham center, according to a press release. A statement from Executive Director Patricia Day TenEyck is noticeably absent from the release. McGinnis said she's been too busy trying to find donors and form community partnerships to comment on the center.

Gresham’s PAL center opened in 1994, building upon efforts already under way in Portland to provide after-school care, academic help and personal guidance for children and teens. Through a grassroots, community-based effort, it grew to include partnerships between all law enforcement agencies in Multnomah County, as well as the Beaverton Police Department.

It also kept children in poverty-stricken, gang-plagued communities off the streets, with everything from sports camps to art programs.

McGinnis credited individual donors, as well as board member Mike Casey, who appealed to Nike and its employees for contributions through an “inspiration run.”

More money — as much as $100,000 — is need to continue the center's operations in the long run, and an auction fundraiser set for Friday, Feb. 22, in downtown Portland. For details, go to portlandpal.org.




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