Descendents of the Feyrer family are doing their part to keep the park that bears their name a great place for families to picnic and enjoy the Molalla River.
The family has taken on a couple of projects at the park to build as memorials to the family members who donated the land for public use.
Bob Oblack and Becky Wolf presented a proposal to the Clackamas County Parks Board in November 2013 that included the family history, family barbecue tradition at the park and their plans to build a new barbecue fire pit and picnic shelter. The plans called for installing a new memorial plaque on the barbecue to Mya and Beanie Oblack, Bobs parents, who left funds to Molalla River Watch for park improvements.
Our family donated the park to the county years ago, Wolf said. Then about three years ago, Bobs parents died and left funds for improving the park. Family volunteers have been working with Clackamas County Parks Department on plans for the barbecue and shelter. We started last fall, doing construction.
Wolf said the Feyrer family traditionally holds its family reunions at the park. During the Aug. 3 reunion, they will officially dedicate the new barbecue pit. About 150 family members are expected.
But I want people to know the barbecue pit is there for everyone to use, Wolf said.
Oblack talked about their great-grandparents, Gottlieb and Rosina Feyrer, pioneers who purchased about 1,000 acres in the Dickey Prairie Valley that included a stretch along the Molalla River. They built a farm that has passed down through the generations.
My mother and Beckys mother grew up on that farm, Oblack said.
It was years ago that the Feyrer heirs donated a section of land along the river to the county to be used as a free public park. Then eventually the sisters, including Oblacks and Wolfs mothers, donated a second parcel as an addition to the park.
We decided all three families should be honored with a new memorial plaque, Oblack said. So the memorial is dedicated to the sisters.
The plaque reads: This BBQ is dedicated to Mya and Beanie Oblack, Hannah and Chet Schink and Ellen and Roger Thronsen.
Wolf said the project morphed into also building a new covered shelter near the river of the same design as the one located at Ivor Davies park, which will be completed next year.
To help get the project completed, community businesses donated materials for the barbecue pit, and the family volunteers donated their labor.
This project is important to park for all the people who use it, Wolf said.
Feyrer Park has picnic tables right along the Molalla River, with campsites not far away. The old original fire pit, built of river rock, still stands in the park near the river, but it is in sad shape.
Wolf said the shelter will be built this fall, but the barbecue will be completed by Aug. 1.
We will be asking for more community contributions when we start building the shelter, she said. It will be built down near the shore of the river at the far end of the park, downriver from the main body of the park.