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The Portland Ballet is significantly expanding this summer.

The 12-year-old, Hillsdale-based company had dropped hints to the community for months, and discussed plans for the project on its Facebook page as early as May 28. But it was not until June 18 that Artistic Director Nancy Davis and Managing Director Jim Lane officially announced to the public that TPB would be expanding, thanks in large part to a $70,000 grant from the M.J. Murdoch Charitable Trust.

Along with the Murdock Grant, TPB has been awarded first-time grant from the Collins Foundation in the amount of $10,000.

“Usually you apply (for a grant) and they give you a little bit less,” Lane said with a laugh, “but that’s the way it works.”

In addition to the $80,000 combined endowment, TPB has received $2,000 in board gifts and $38,500 in individual donations at the time of the announcement, $24,000 of it directed to the expansion’s capital campaign, Building the Future. By Lane’s estimation, the expansion will need “right around $170,000,” meaning that at the time of the announcement, the campaign had amassed 73 percent of its goal.

Developer Jeffrey Weitz of North Rim Partners in Southeast Portland’s Buckman neighborhood, architect Laurie Simpson and James Frank Construction, Inc., a contractor based out of the Northeast Portland neighborhood of Montavilla, will handle the expansion.

While seeking bids from contractors, Lane said TPB made it very clear that the expansion would be a high-pressure job.

“If you can’t do it in 90 days, don’t bid,” he said. “It’s pretty aggressive, what we’re doing, because we’re remodeling here as well as something new on the outside.”

The expansion has the green light from Ardys Braidwood, who serves as landlord of TPB and owns many other properties throughout Hillsdale. A TPB press release said Braidwood agreed to lower the ballet’s rental rate over five years “to aid the nonprofit ballet academy and company in recovering its costs from the expansion.”

By the end of the three-month expansion on September 16, TPB should have a new 1,200-square-foot studio, new flooring in the 1,850-square-foot and 800-square-foot studios already in place, two dressing rooms and more stretching and warm-up space and an enlarged lobby with a new office and meeting room.

According to the press release, “The expanded studio will be able to accommodate 50 new Curriculum dancers, bringing TPB’s Curriculum enrollment potential to 200. It will also allow for additional adult participants in ballet, jazz, modern, floor barre open classes as well as the creation of new programs.”

This, in Lane’s opinion, is essential.

“We’ve really been struggling … since we opened with the fact that our front studio was pretty small,” he said. “It makes it so that we can’t get a full-size class there with adult people.”

The main studio, he added, “is nice and big, but we needed a third studio so that we could expand those classes. We been stuck with the small kids — the younger ones — only being able to do maybe 20 at a time, and we really need to build that base at the bottom and expand it, because as the kids get older they start getting into other things.”

Lane said the expansion would provide for four total classes, two in the first two beginning levels.

While construction takes place this summer, TPB students will be able to keep on dancing; the company has leased studio space nearby at 4620 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway in the Hayhurst neighborhood. Lane said that the first week of classes in the temporary location went smoothly, with no students having trouble getting there or finding it.

Still, Lane said he couldn’t wait for the dancers to return the expanded Hillsdale studio come September.

“When we first moved in to this location, it was kind of a derelict auto repair garage, and we turned into this — really pretty.”

Now, he said, “It’s going to be even more beautiful.”

For more information about The Portland Ballet, call 503-452-8448 or visit theportlandballet.org.

Art (and books) sought for July 28 Hillsdale Sale

This year’s Hillsdale Community Book Sale is adding donated art to its offerings. So, for this year at least, call it “the Hillsdale Community Book and Art Sale.”

The sale is on Sunday, July 28. Donation collection is underway at the Sunday Hillsdale Farmers Market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Collection will continue through July 21. Also, books and art can be left at the Hillsdale Main Street Office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The office is in the Sunset Office Building at 1509 SW Sunset Boulevard, behind the Hillsdale Brew Pub.

Organizers ask that books with no value such as outdated references and used textbooks not be dropped off. Potential donors of art should also weigh whether their donations have value before dropping them off. Frames should be part of the consideration.

The sale, in its eighth year, will be located on the sidewalk along the south side of Capitol Highway and at the Watershed Building, corner of Bertha Court and Capitol Highway.

Sale hours will be 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The sale is held on the same date as Hillsdale’s Blueberry Pancake Breakfast.

Proceeds from the sale benefit The Hillsdale Community Foundation, which is the institutional home of the Hillsdale Main Street Program.

—Rick Seifert

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