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Volunteers will spread bark dust at Centennial Park on Sept. 9 for annual community service day

Church members from 11 local congregations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are partnering with Woodburn Recreation Services to hold a day of community service Sept. 9 by spreading a load of bark dust around Centennial Park.

Dan Kohler, director of public affairs for the LDS churches in the Keizer area, said the church intends to make the rounds of local communities, performing a day of community service in a different city each year.

"We just want to help and be part of the community," Kohler said.

Last September, the church organized a community service day in Keizer to remove wood chips from the Big Toy play structure in Keizer Rapids Park. Armed with wheelbarrows, pitchforks and shovels, 300 church members and 100 community members working in two-hour shifts removed 600 cubic yards of wood chips in a day. Doug's Dirt Works in Keizer also donated the service of two track hoes and a loader to speed up the work.

Kohler said he originally asked the city of Keizer if they had any projects on their wish list.

"I said to the city, 'We'd like to do a community project,' they said maybe we could put in a couple park benches or horse shoe pits," Kohler said.

Kohler replied by asking what the largest project the city needed done was. The city told Kohler they needed to remove wood chips from the Big Toy so they could pour a rubber playground mat. Kohler volunteered.

"They said 'there's no way,' I said, 'I'll take that bet,'" Kohler said.

Now the church groups hope to replicate that achievement in Woodburn. On Sept. 9 the community is encouraged to take part in spreading an 18-wheeler load of bark dust around Centennial Park.

"A lot of church members are from Woodburn, and we recognize as a congregation being good citizens is what we need to do," Kohler said.

Kohler said he got the idea for a church and community service day from a friend who started a similar program in Coos Bay. At first the city was only giving volunteers small projects, but they soon realized how many people the church could mobilize.

Next year Kohler said the Keizer LDS church would like to hold a community service day in either Mount Angel or Silverton.

Woodburn residents are asked to come out and help Sept. 9, and bring a wheelbarrow and rake if possible. Volunteers can sign up ahead of time at https://www.justserve.org, but anyone can take part without registering. For questions, contact Dan Kohler at 503-559-6300.

Patrick Evans

Reporter

503-765-1195

email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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