Parkrose Looks To Pass Bond Measure To Bring Athletic Facilities Into The 21st Century

Portland — Back in July, Elite Oregon Girls took a comprehensive, thorough tour of the Parkrose athletics facilities with Superintendent Michael Lopes-Serrao and Athletic Director Ryan Gallagher to address Title IX concerns raised by EOG about the differences between the softball and baseball facilities. It became apparent throughout our conversation that Parkrose was looking at much larger issues than that, particularly with the visibility of being the shell of a 5A school that is falling into irrelevancy with its athletics facilities. Sharing their conference with the likes of Wilsonville, La Salle Prep, Putnam, Canby, and others, the facilities stick out like a sore thumb in a conference headlined by schools with luxurious facilities for athletes.

In our conversation, Mr. Lopes-Serrao and Mr. Gallagher both acknowledged the potential legal issues involved with the differences between baseball and softball facilities, but also stressed the hurdles that the district faces to address them as a low-income, inner city school district. After our conversation, EOG put any legal filings on hold until the district provided their plan to upgrade the facilities at Parkrose. Last Friday, EOG was supplied with a proposed bond measure that would change the game for athletes and bring Parkrose closer to that of the conference they compete against. While it doesn’t solve the potential legal issues between baseball and softball, the rest of the plan is nothing short of a logical, ambitious, and invested effort into changing the experiences of Parkrose athletes one step at a time.

Under the proposed measure, the grass football field would be upgraded to turf, and the wooden stadium grandstands would be completely replaced. Storage for teams would be expanded by converting a section of a building closest to the facilities into storage space, the aged tennis courts would be completely fixed and upgraded to be able to better host meets, and the auxiliary gym would be renovated and upgraded to better suit the needs of teams at Parkrose. When put together as a package, the upgrades would bring Parkrose out of a shell and into a new era. According to Athletic Director Ryan Gallagher, the new turf field and subsequent upgrades would be available to all programs, including dance, band, cheer, soccer, and football. “That is the beauty of a turf field, everyone will be able to use it,” Gallagher said. “We will no longer have to restrict access to allow for seeding, fertilizer, watering, and growing the grass field.”

As for the auxiliary gym work, Gallagher was upbeat about the possibilities with it upgraded, “This will do a lot for programs in the fall. In the winter, it will benefit basketball and allow more access to band and dance,” Gallagher explained. “All sports will be able to use the gym for pre-season training due to the amount of rain that is a blessing and curse here in Oregon.” One last piece of the puzzle is a vacant softball field located on the west end of campus, situated above the tennis courts on a hill. It was built over ten years ago for the softball program, but it wasn’t designed correctly and ultimately has sat vacant since it was built. That situation has led to Parkside Little League entering discussions with the school district about utilizing the field, upgrading it and potentially adding a youth field on campus. The discussions are ongoing as of this writing, with no timetable on a deal being struck.

After reviewing the bond measure, which includes other upgrades beyond athletics, EOG would be fully in favor of it and endorse it to be passed by voters in the Parkrose district once it is formally placed on a ballot for voting. The district has a good record of paying back bonds in a reasonable time period, with their latest one from 2011 being completed in under 15 years. Additionally, the impact of having quality facilities for athletes is a real benefit to the school and its programs, which is ultimately what matters the most at the end of the day. To view the proposed measure, you can click this link.

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