Operation Pitch Invasion volunteer effort pays off for neighborhood
(Portland, OR) –
Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R), Operation Pitch Invasion (OPI) and the Portland Parks Foundation will dedicate the new Colonel Summers Park futsal court on Saturday, May 30, 2015, with a free celebration, snacks, and informal games.
The futsal court is entirely the result of an impressive OPI volunteer effort to enhance the park, located at SE 17th and Taylor. Futsal is a version of soccer played on a smaller scale, and the park is an excellent location for this added recreational amenity. The Portland Parks Foundation’s Parke Diem, the city’s largest annual parks-related volunteer effort, inspired OPI’s idea to build the futsal court.
What: Dedication of the Colonel Summers Park futsal court
When: Saturday, May 30, 11am-1pm. All are welcome to the free celebration
Where: Colonel Summers Park, SE 20th Ave. & Belmont. Guests include Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz, PP&R Director Mike Abbaté, and OPI’s Shawn Levy.
“The dedicated volunteers of Operation Pitch Invasion are a key part of why our city has such a high quality of life,” says Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “Portland Parks & Recreation can only do so much by ourselves. But when you add in nearly half a million volunteer hours a year, the possibilities are amazing – and evident, as with this court.”
"I’m so very thankful for OPI’s passion and efforts in bringing a new park amenity for neighbors to enjoy for years to come.”
In 2013, PP&R planning, management and construction staff looked to see what changes (physical and otherwise) the bureau could make to the park, in response to underage drinking and loud unpermitted gatherings taking place there. Portland Parks & Recreation removed damaged benches and picnic tables, trimmed up bushes and trees, and conducted a neighborhood park clean-up. A group of neighborhood volunteers repainted structures, and the City bolstered the presence of Park Rangers and police – make it clear that illegal activity will not be tolerated.
“Portland Parks & Recreation recognizes that increasing positive uses is an excellent strategy to reduce inappropriate activity,” notes PP&R Director Mike Abbaté. “And most fortunately, Operation Pitch Invasion was looking for volunteer opportunities they could undertake in the park.”
OPI and PP&R built on their partnership, and with the support of the Portland Parks Foundation and Buckman Community Association – the Colonel Summers Park futsal court was proposed and completed. PP&R and the Portland Parks Foundation provided staff support, OPI paid for the work and materials (with help from a grant provided by the Portland Parks Foundation), and a new, welcome neighborhood amenity came to fruition.
"Operation Pitch Invasion is dedicated to improving and maintaining the existing soccer facilities in the Portland area and in adding to the inventory of quality surfaces for the beautiful game,” say OPI’s Shawn Levy. “A futsal court like the one at Colonel Summers Park brings a healthy, safe, fun, and inclusive sport into a park without significant cost, construction effort, or impact on the surroundings. We feel fortunate that, working with our friends at Portland Parks & Recreation, we found just the right spot for the project, and we're extremely gratified to see the use it's already getting from both kids and adults."
“The whole impetus behind this project was the Foundation’s Parke Diem event,” adds OPI’s Josh Barrett. “OPI wanted to transform this space and Parke Diem was sort of a triggering event that seemed to give the project some momentum.”
The futsal court at Colonel Summers Park is available for open play every day; or to reserve it, call the PP&R Customer Service Center at 503-823-2525.
About the Portland Parks Foundation
The Portland Parks Foundation mobilizes popular and financial support to ensure a thriving and accessible parks system for a healthy Portland.