Volunteer effort — 5,000 informational door hangers distributed Saturday to help raise support for a bond measure to renovate the aquatic center

Five thousand informational door hangers plus 116 volunteers and two and a half hours.

That was the Chehalem Pool Committee’s formula for raising awareness and support for a potential $20 million bond measure to renovate and expand the Chehalem Aquatic and Fitness Center. by: GARY ALLEN - Spreading the word - Volunteer Tyler Bell leaves an  informational hanger about the Chehalem Pool Committee's    campaign to renovate and expand the Chehalem Aquatic & Fitness Center during a canvassing event Saturday. In partnership with a George Fox University social    work class and more than 100   volunteers, the committee          distributed 5,000 hangers.

Done in partnership with students from a George Fox University social work class, the canvassing effort Saturday in Newberg and Dundee was a rousing success, according to organizers.

Committee member Karen Saunders was hoping to draw 100 volunteers for the event, and based on the amount of event T-shirts that were handed out, that goal was easily reached.

“The support we had from the swim team and water polo families and the George Fox students and their friends and family was incredible,” Saunders said. “I was super pleased. I felt like everything went off very smoothly. The weather was not the greatest, but that was okay. Everybody was excited and as energized as I was.”

Two groups of students from professor Erin Johnson’s social work class partnered with Saunders and the committee, with one helping in the ongoing outreach efforts at public events and presentations to community organizations and the other organizing the canvassing event.

The latter team of students acquired maps from 2nd Street Community Church, which makes a similarly-extensive effort for its annual Feed the Need event, in order to assign various residential sections to the approximately 50 groups it sent out Saturday.

Many groups finished quickly and returned with extra hangers, which allowed organizers to regroup and canvas several areas they had designated as optional and utilize all 5,000 door hangers.

The rainy weather may have motivated volunteers to move quickly and, for the most part kept people in their homes, but the goal of the event was simply to get the information in the hands of voters, not to engage in active discussions. When people were able to strike up conversations, volunteers reported getting mostly positive responses.

“It’s fun going out with your friends into the neighborhoods,” GFU student Lacey Carlson said. “It’s a good project to be involved in, especially with the volunteers we had; they’re mostly from the pool, so people who utilize the pool on a regular basis, whether for sports or just recreation. Folks were really happy to be a part of it.”

Carlson said the pool committee project tied in perfectly with the class’ unit on community organizing and, personally, she was impressed with the approach the committee has taken.

“Even just partnering with Fox, with our class, showed they’re really trying to reach out and have people involved in this project with them,” Carlson said. “I think that’s a really big strength or theirs.”

The committee’s goal is to raise enough support in the community so that the Chehalem Park and Recreation District will feel confident in putting a bond measure on the ballot in the fall. CPRD will conduct a phone survey about several possible measures some time in mid to late May.

The cost to area homeowners would be 72 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, meaning a $200,000 home would see an annual tax of $144.

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