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Escape room fun comes to Lake Oswego

Lake Grove Presbyterian hosting Hourglass Solutions as benefit for middle school mission

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE  - Here's a hint: Solving the escape room challenge planned at Lake Grove Presbyterian Church in April may require donning a gas mask. Looking for something new for date night or an evening out with the girls/guys? Hour Glass Solutions has just the ticket: Book an escape room game and let the adventure begin. Escape rooms are an increasingly popular form of interactive entertainment in which participants are locked in a room and must rely on elements in the room plus their own ingenuity to solve a series of puzzles, find clues and escape the room within a set time limit.

Hour Glass Solutions is hosting a series of escape room games as a special fundraising event for Lake Grove Presbyterian Church’s Youth Ministries; all proceeds and donations will be used to fund the middle school summer mission trip. The games are held at the church, located at 4040 Sunset Drive in Lake Oswego.

The unique fundraiser is the brainchild of LGPC’s Director of Youth Ministries Kathleen Fast. After she participated in a couple of escape room events she was hooked.

“Kathleen is the most creative person I’ve ever met,” said Lenore Caldwell, LGPC Youth Ministries program assistant.

“Escape rooms are in my DNA,” she said. “They are fun, team-building events with puzzle solving and the challenge of beating the clock. It’s good, clean, cheap fun.”

She has designed two escape missions and invites the public to participate in both.

The scenario of the April mission is an extinction event: “Earth is venting deadly and explosive gases,” according to the scenario online at hourglass-solutions.com. “These gases are sickening and killing oxygen-using life all around the world, including human life, as our atmosphere is increasingly poisoned. This is an extinction-level event and will likely decimate both the biosphere and human population, and it is debatable whether humankind can survive this. You and your team have just one hour to secure your safety and recover a formula to reverse the toxicity before your oxygen runs out.”

Fast calls the May escape room scenario the DeLorean Dilemma. “It turns out that a sudden influx of cash actually didn’t make all of your personal problems vanish,” the description reads. “For you and the other lucky clucks, winning the $1.5 billion Powerball made things much, much worse. If only you could travel back in time to the moment you won so you could have a second go at it, you all might avoid divorce court, bankruptcy, prison, deportation, or the grave! You and your fellow winners have a very rare, one-hour window to ‘borrow’ the well-guarded DeLorean time machine before Doc Brown returns.”

“Kids are smart, and they have all kinds of gifts to call upon in solving the challenge,” Fast said. “They all have different gifts — physical and mental, so there is something for everyone to contribute to the solution.”

Fast and her crew have built the escape room out of recycled materials from other project, another tip to her creativity. Still another way she uses her creative talent is in engaging the youth in service.

For several years, 30-35 members of the youth group have spent a week in service at Living Hope Compassion Ministry and Good News Rescue Mission in Redding, Calif.

“They’ve really developed a heart for the homeless and hungry,” Fast said. The group serves breakfast on a regular basis at Portland Rescue Mission, and Fast has hosted sleepovers at the church, where the teens sleep in cardboard boxes to gain an appreciation of what homeless people must endure.

“This is a win, win, win,” she said. “Raising money is good, and it’s good for the kids to get their boots on the ground to help serve, and people truly appreciate our service.”

Bookings for the Extinction game are available April 8 through 23, with games at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; and 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m., and 7 p.m. Saturdays.

The DeLorean Dilemma opens May 6 and continues through May 21, with the same schedule.

Fast said the escape rooms are intended for those age 10 and up. Tickets are $20 per person and all proceeds and donations benefit the middle school mission trip to California. To book an Hour Glass Solutions game, visit hourglass-solutions.com.

Contact Barb Randall at 503-636-1281 ext. 100 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..