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Bits & Pieces: Victorious Oaks


Ask the coaches and some of the skaters on the Oaks Senior Precision Team, and they will tell you they have been roller skating since they could walk. All that time spent on wheels paid off in late July, when the 16-member team took first place in the national competition, held in Lincoln, Neb.

Members hail from all over the Portland metro area. They practice for two hours twice a month at the Oaks Park roller skating rink.

Tiffany McKinnon and her friend and fellow coach Cindy White have been training skaters together for nearly 25 years, and have attended countless competitions, but this win was special for them.

“This was our first win at nationals coaching together,” White tells Pamplin Media Group’s Ellen Spitaleri.

McKinnon choreographed the team’s Latin-themed routine to the soundtrack from “Zorro” and the musical piece “Espana Cani.”

The group wore black and red costumes for their five-minute presentation.

In the precision team category, there are three divisions: junior, senior and novice, McKinnon says, adding that skaters have to be 15 years or older to qualify for the senior team.

“The skaters have to do everything as a group and in unison. They are required to do certain formations, like a circle, a pass-through, a straight line and a box,” she adds.

Parkinson’s event

The 10th annual Sole Support for Parkinson’s walk will take place Saturday, Sept. 6, at the Rose Quarter. It’s meant to raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s related programs and services in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Walkers are asked to check in at noon, and the walk begins at 1:30 p.m. Sole Support follows 1- and 5-kilometer routes, which are friendly for wheelchair, walker and stroller users. The day’s activities include music, a fun kid zone area, food carts and community partner fair; dogs are welcome on leashes.

For info: www.solesupport.org.

Big grant

Portland Piano International received the largest grant in its 37-year history, $90,000 from the Creative Heights initiative of the Oregon Community Foundation. It also received $20,000 from the Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund.

The group was one of the first 13 nonprofits to receive funding under the Creative Heights program, made possible by a $150 million 2012 gift from the estate of Fred W. Fields.

Portland Piano has brought in new leadership in the past couple years with Artistic

Director Arnaldo Cohen and Executive Director Ellen Bergstone. Last season, the company produced six sold-out recitals and increased subscriptions by 42 percent.

The Creative Heights grant supports a young pianists and solo works series; the Maybelle Clark Macdonald grant will go toward new initiatives.

The season begins Sept. 21 and 22 with Russian pianist Igor Kamenz making his Portland debut.

For info: www.portlandpiano.org.