A response to “do away with golf course”
I read the May 2016 letters regarding MAX parking and “Do Away with Golf” with great interest. I've been golfing at Eastmoreland since I was a kid – where I worked in the restaurant and pro shop for my uncle Arnie Inman, all through high school and college. And, 50 years later, and even after moving to Washougal, I'm still golfing there once or twice a week. I’m a longtime member of the Eastmoreland Women’s Club and have served more than ten years on the Women’s Board. So my roots run deep.
Eastmoreland Golf Course is the jewel of the City of Portland public golf course system. It's nearly 100 years old and has served this community well. It’s a place where kids learn the game – learn the value of honesty and character, and take the game through their entire life. It’s a place where lifelong friendships are made, and people can grow old in the sport. It’s open space in a high density area. It’s well-run, well-kept, and something everyone should be proud of. To exchange it for MAX parking or different sports facilities would be a crime.
And beyond golf – the Eastmoreland Golf Course is one of the few facilities in Sellwood, Westmoreland, Eastmoreland, Woodstock, etc., that can host weddings, reunions, memorials, etc. And, let’s remember – it also houses a darn good restaurant. In reality, those parking places fill fast and often. Perhaps the MAX riders just aren't aware of the many functions the golf course provides.
More soccer fields? More basketball courts? Come on -- walk across the Bybee Bridge, turn left, and enjoy the beautiful Westmoreland Park. There are soccer fields, baseball and softball facilities and even a tennis court and lawn bowling available. More parking? How about leaving your car at home and taking TriMet to the MAX stop? After all, it’s a transportation “system” – not just a MAX stop, or a parking lot.
Carol Rhoton Jolly
We are responding to the recent letter that suggests the Eastmoreland Golf Course parking lot be used to accommodate some commuter parking for the neighborhood. While we as neighbors certainly understand the frustration felt by commuters, such use of the golf course parking could significantly and negatively impact the golf facility – and upset a history of dedicated tradition, philanthropic and scholarship donations, lifelong recreational opportunity, and the intended purpose of the site. We as a city must look to TriMet for commuting and parking solutions, and should not distort the use of a valuable, century-old community asset.
Many people are unaware that the City of Portland’s entire golf program began early in the 1900s-as a citizen-generated effort, with equity in mind. More than 100 years ago, neighbors realized that participating in the game of golf was limited to those who could afford an exclusive country club membership. For most of us, this was – and is – beyond our means. So, in order to provide a recreational opportunity to all, neighbors embarked on a fundraising campaign to establish a Portland golf program – now known as Portland Public Golf. Its birthplace was on land donated to the City of Portland by the Ladd Estate a century ago for use as a golf course – land which is now the site of Eastmoreland Golf Course.
Since the City had received the land for a golf course, it needed a sustainable golf program. Once the dedicated neighbors had raised enough money, the City agreed to fold this fledgling golf program under its Parks & Recreations program, but with a caveat: That the program be self-supporting, and not reliant on any of the City’s General Fund tax revenues.
Shortly thereafter, the former Southeast Portland farmland – now Eastmoreland Golf Course – opened to the public. Fees from golfers playing there supplied the seed money that allowed the building of the Rose City, Redtail, and Heron Lakes Golf Courses. Next year, the Portland Public Golf program will celebrate its centennial. In each of its 100 years, the program has always met its goal of operating as a separate enterprise fund; and after a century of success, there are still no General Fund tax dollars used to fund Portland Public Golf.
The program’s success continues with the new Colwood Golf Center, purchased with the added benefit of preserving adjacent wetlands. Again, this growth and sustainability has been done with fees from patrons, and not tax dollars.
Over these many years, the golf program has also been fortunate enough to contribute to Portland as a community. In the 1970’s, we were able to use golf revenue to help fund a struggling Oregon Symphony. Portland Public Golf has helped to provide full-ride four-year college scholarships to nearly 100 deserving youths. Surcharges have helped assist other Portland Parks & Recreation youth programs, and provide support for Portland Public Schools during difficult times.
Beyond providing golf to our citizens and visitors at a reasonable cost, the program as a whole contributes to the local economy by providing jobs to over a hundred of our neighbors, with a payroll that exceeds $4 million annually. Portland Public Golf provides free access to area high school golf teams, plus free or low-cost instruction to local youth.
Portland’s golf courses provide valuable habitat to a vast array of wildlife that one might otherwise never see in a large metropolitan area. We employ best practices in the care of the trees and turf on the courses. Our radically innovative maintenance program has greatly reduced the need for chemical, fertilizer, and irrigation inputs to the soil. The program also works closely with the renowned Audubon Sanctuary program toward certification as safe for people and wildlife, and follows the best industry practices in water quality and environmental controls. The Oregon Golf Association named Eastmoreland Golf Course’s Kathy Hauff as their 2015 Superintendent of the Year for her leadership in these areas.
On a year to year basis, Eastmoreland and Heron Lakes courses are regularly recognized in Golf Week Magazine in the list of the 50 Best Municipal Golf Courses in the nation, and in Golf Digest’s Best Public Courses. Willamette Week in 2015 named Eastmoreland as the best public course in Portland.
Golf is a lifetime pastime; we like to say it is for ages 6 to 106. Golf is a game where all generations can participate and compete long after our ability, speed, coordination and energy have waned. But it’s not just the game that brings people to Eastmoreland or other City courses. Portland’s golf program relies not only on golf related activities, but on our restaurant and banquet business as well. Even during the off-season, courses will host wedding receptions, memorials, reunions, birthday parties and other gatherings. They require the use of the entire parking lot.
We as a community must ask our leaders for other options for commuting and parking solutions.
Rob Cumpston, 53-year employee & GM
Clark Cumpston, 53-year employee & PGA Life Member
Pigmice robotics team visits St. Louis, ranks high
FIRST Robotics Team #2733 – the “Pigmice” from Cleveland High School – went to the FIRST World Championship in May to compete against 600 other robotics teams. The team captain, a young woman from Cleveland, took the team to St. Louis on an unexpected lottery ticket, to have one of the most memorable and educational experiences in their FRC Pigmice career. The Pigmice ended their season by ranking 29th in their division out of 75 teams. Off-season, the team is busy with community outreach projects, such as mentoring FLL teams, teaching merit badges for BSA Troop 351, and many other projects. These robots cost a lot of money to build, so sponsors like Boeing, Autodesk, and Winks Hardware – to name just a few – help pay for all aspects of having a team. You can see more about the team, online, at: http://www.pigmicepdx.com
Moreland Farmers Market open again
The Moreland Farmers market is proud to have opened its 11th season on Wednesday, May 4th! The market times have been expanded, and will now run 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.! This is enough time for parents picking up their kids from school to stop by on their way home, as well as enough time for neighbors to stop by and enjoy a hot dinner after work.
Many of our neighborhood’s favorite farmers and vendors returned this year, along with some new and offerings! We are excited to be offering even more vegetables, berries, fruit, sweets, cheese, meats, hot food and bakery items than ever before.
We hope BEE readers will join us for music, kids’ activities, outdoor fun, cooking demonstrations, and some of the best food in Portland. See you on Wednesdays at the Market, on the corner of S.E. 14th and Bybee Boulevard in Westmoreland!
Moreland Farmers Market Manager
City sending wrong message?
Some residents of Portland don’t like the idea of high or mid capacity housing being built, but with the housing crisis being such an issue, but as a Portland native myself, I think it’s important we provide that housing to more than just high-income residents. Many life-long Portlanders are getting pushed out of their homes by rent hikes with nowhere affordable to go, partly because the only new housing being built is huge and expensive.
It’s a waste of space to build more houses for 1-2 families when the same amount of space could house ten times that amount of low/mid-income families or students – who are in much greater need of being closer to their work or school, because they are likely less able to afford the luxury of a car. Currently I feel as if the city is sending the message: “If you aren’t well off, we don’t need you here.”
S.E. 71st Avenue
Concerned about road dangers
In the May 2016 issue of THE BEE, there were articles on at least three car crashes, two of which resulted in fatalities. What are we doing to remove these dangerous vehicles from the road? With statistics like that, I find it hard to believe that parents put their children in these vehicles daily, rather than finding alternate ways of getting from place to place. If our society would invest in more non-lethal modes of transportation we would all be safer (and healthier). I encourage all my neighbors to lobby our elected officials for ways to remove these fatal vehicles from our streets.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Actually, today’s vehicles are the safest ever. The cause, as may be deduced from our reports on these accidents, is invariably a driver. This was also the subject of our May “From the Editor”. And this is the reason people are developing self-driving cars these days: The car is presumed to be potentially a much safer driver than today’s human beings.
Performance art by youth in Sellwood
I’m Ann Singer, Executive Director for Rogue Pack, an organization that focuses on storytelling, theatre workshops, and performances written and performed by Portland's under-served youth. Our next show is going to be a co-production with Girl Be Heard, a social justice theatre company from New York City: “Promises you break: Stories of youth from LGBTQ, mental health, homeless, and foster care communities”. Girls from Boys & Girls Aid will join Girl Be Heard on stage performing their own stories about life in the foster care system. The show is FREE, with suggested donation, and will perform Friday June 10th, at 7:30 pm at Sellwood Playhouse.
Carrot source clarified
Thank you to THE BEE for the nice article "Generations Return for Annual Westmoreland Easter Egg Hunt”. I, however, would like to make one correction. The generous donation of carrots was from New Seasons Market. For the last few years the Easter Bunny has been passing out carrots, tassels and all, thanks to New Seasons.
Portland Oaks Bottom Lions Club
Ode to the Sequoias
Last fall I wrote to you about saving the Sequoias [the three large trees threatened with removal by a developer who acquired the property on which they were, in Eastmoreland, as reported at the time on the front page of THE BEE]. They have survived. In celebration, I have written a poem about their survival through the summer and fall of 2015. I hope you can print it in the Letters in the June BEE:
Last summer you stood tall, feet firmly planted in the earth, with heads towering heavenward. You have been silent sentinels of S.E. Portland for 100 plus years. Residents admired your green magnificence and breathed in your fragrance.
Fall brought threatening winds quivering through your branches. Controversy swirled around you as developers sought your demise while tree lovers sought to save you. You witnessed: Protesters, admirers, signs, posters by children, one brave soul even nesting in your branches for a few days, prayers for your survival. Political activity, newspaper articles; and Friends of Trees tried to rescue you.
Winter came and you survived, still standing strong and tall. The community celebrated – singing in the rain. You heard “O, Come All Ye Faithful” and other carols, lights twinkling around your trunks.
Now it’s spring time; new life blooming all around you. The air is purer because of your presence; birds can still nest and perch in your branches. In the future children may play and adults may find peaceful sanctuary in the shade of your green cathedral.
Soon it will be summertime again; let the story of your survival inspire other neighborhoods in our lovely green city to save your cousins from destruction. Long may you live!
S.E. Nehalem Street
EDITOR’S NOTE: We normally do not encourage literary efforts to be submitted to our Letters column, but when we receive poetry about the news – it’s hard to resist.
If you went to Outdoor School and loved it, please help make it possible for every fifth or sixth grader in Oregon to also enjoy and learn about nature. By signing a petition to qualify “Outdoor School for All” on the November ballot, you’ll help get our next generation of leaders off the couch and into Oregon’s great outdoors. No taxes will be levied or raised to fund it. Instead a small portion of existing unallocated Oregon Lottery funds will pay for Outdoor School for All.
The Audubon Society of Portland is sponsoring this petition drive to provide a unique experience to those children whose families and public schools are not wealthy enough to provide it. We need 120,000 signatures by July 1st to qualify for the November ballot.