NatureSpace in Spring

Play areas for children are still mainly closed, but the Wilshire Park NatureSpace has been a great place for kids to explore all season long. Should you visit the park, remember to keep a safe distance from other groups and bring along a mask. Right now you can see new growth on Oregon grape and watch the curling fronds of native ferns unfurl, or go slug hunting under a log. The fun of spring is still here!

That was some good soup!

The Friends of Wilshire Park raised $500 at its open house held on February 1, all of which will go directly toward the cost of the new playhouse for the toddler area of the playground. New and old Friends met on a characteristically gloomy January day in Portland, but that just made the several varieties of homemade soup and loaves of hot bread all the more tasty.

We are so very close to reaching our fundraising goal for the playground. Completing the playhouse will make the toddler area even nicer than it was before, with all of the play features that generations of neighborhood kids have loved. If you weren’t able to make it out to our open house, feel free to drop by at our next group meeting or make a donation. All contributions are fully tax-deductible and go straight toward the park.

Hot Soup on Saturday

We are in the final stretch of fundraising to finish the children’s play area at Wilshire Park. We are so close — frustratingly close — to getting the last few thousand dollars we need to put in a brand new playhouse to go along with the new car structure, which has been a big hit with kids of all ages.

One of our members has generously opened her home this Saturday, February 1, to kick off our final fundraising push. She’s a spectacular cook and will be offering homemade soup and bread to anyone who comes, which sounds awfully good as this weekend looks like it will be a typical soggy, wet January day here in Portland. Old and new Friends of Wilshire Park can get together to connect, brainstorm ideas, and — you guessed it — make a donation as we’ll have a box all ready for contributions.

If you haven’t been out to a meeting or activity hosted by the Friends lately, please come on out. The soup will be warm and so will the company. There will be activities for kids to do while parents and neighbors chat, so bring the whole family.

This is an open house event, running from 12:00 noon to 8:00 pm, held at 3724 NE 36th Avenue here in Portland, just a few blocks from Wilshire Park.

A Kid Emptied Her Piggy Bank for the Playground

At the November Friends of Wilshire Park meeting, one of the group members walked in the door and set this piggy bank on the table:

It was sent by her daughter, who learned that the group still needs more funds to pay for the new playhouse at the Wilshire Park playground. She had run to her room, grabbed her entire life savings, and gave it away to say thank you for the new car play structure and to do her bit toward finishing the playground.

With the completion of the play car and the repair of the merry-go-round the playground is looking much better but we won’t stop working until it has all the old worn out structures are replaced and even more improvements are made. Please consider donating today. Everything you give is tax-deductible and will make Wilshire Park a great place for kids and families for decades.

Donate Here Today and
Help Us Finish Our Playground!

Getting the car play structure put in also proved to us the value of grassroots efforts to make our public spaces better for everyone. Without the support and advice provided by the Beaumont-Wilshire Neighborhood Association and the Central Northeast Neighbors Coalition, the Friends never would have been able to get this project done. If you haven’t done so already, please consider speaking up on behalf of our neighborhood association, as there are currently efforts by a few city officials to weaken or even eliminate groups like ours. The Friends cordially invite those skeptical about the motives of neighborhood associations to come on out to Wilshire Park and see all the happy children playing on the new play structure. We didn’t do this just for our kids or our neighbors’ kids. We did it for every child that visits the park, and we intend to keep working to make our park a pleasant, beautiful place with something to offer for everyone.

Hey Kids! It’s a New Car!

Great news, friends! Yesterday installation began on the new car play structure! It isn’t even finished but it already looks great. Seeing the car go in feels great for the whole neighborhood as we’ve been working toward this for a long time.

The new car was paid for entirely by a community donation, and its installation is possible due to the support and advice of the Parks Department. It is large enough to hold several kids at once and sturdy enough to last until they are grownups with their own little ones. A few more panels and pieces will be added after the concrete cures.

The sandbox emptied completely as soon as the cement truck rolled up, with little ones asking their parents “WHEN CAN I PLAY ON THAT” and admiring an expert installation job being done by staff from Portland Parks and Recreation:

The only hard part now is waiting a few more days for the concrete anchors to set and for the rest of the panels to be installed.

We’ll keep you posted on when the car is ready for the kids to drive it to anywhere their imagination takes them. In the meantime, remember that the only thing better than a new car . . . is a new playhouse to go with it! We have raised thousands of dollars already for the replacement playhouse, and you can get us the rest of the way right now by donating! We have a little in our GoFundMe account and even more in direct donations to our fiscal sponsor, the Central Northeast Neighbors Coalition.

All donations are 100% tax deductible and are a wonderful way to show your commitment to fun, safe outdoor spaces for children.

Donate now and help us finish the Wilshire Park Playground!

 

Fundraising Update

Things are looking good for the Wilshire Park playground. We hosted a successful fundraiser at The Wiggle Room on July 29 and donations have been coming both directly to the offices of our neighborhood coalition, which is kindly acting as our fiscal sponsor, and to our GoFundMe account. This project would not be possible without the help of the Central Northeast Neighbors, which works hard to support our community in more ways than we know.

The fundraiser party kicked off at 9 AM, and all day there was a bubble machine, popcorn, and face painting, music, while their parents relaxed with food and drinks in the Wiggle Room’s cafĂ© space. Volunteers from Friends of Wilshire Park read stories and led a ukulele sing-along. The event did just as much to raise community awareness of the value of this project as it did to bring in the funds needed to purchase and install a playhouse at a park that draws in parents of young children from all over Northeast Portland because of its level ground, well-shaded play area, and equipment that is good for babies and toddlers.

Many local businesses generously donated to the event, giving gift cards for a raffle and items for the auction. House Spirits, Gazelle Natural Fiber Clothing, Laurelwood Brewhouse, Just4Kids Clothing, New Seasons Market, Fit4Mom Cedar Mill, The Portland Symphonic Choir, and Keys To Life Music all made contributions, as did several neighbors who are active members of Friends of Wilshire Park. Please show your thanks to all of the community sponsors who help us.

So where are we at financially? Well, the new car play structure has been purchased. We don’t have an exact delivery date yet but it will be installed within the next few months and we’ll provide updates as often as we can. It will look like many of the other off-road vehicle type toys in other parks in Portland, such as the Mount Tabor playground:

Check out those dual steering wheels! No more fighting over who gets to drive. This design is in keeping with our community poll, which favored a woodland theme.

So what about the playhouse? As of the beginning of August, we have got $2,690. That’s cash on hand from all donations after $15,025 was paid out to purchase the new car toy. That may seem expensive at first glance, but that price includes demolition of the old car, clearing away the site, building new supports, having the car toy manufactured in Minnesota and shipped here, and then having it installed. This toy will also survive 30 years’ worth of children climbing all over it. It’s a good investment in our children and our neighborhood. We’ll need roughly the same sum to purchase a new playhouse, although the more we raise the more options we have for purchasing play structures. The exact price for an item depends upon when it is purchased, as factors such as fuel costs and whether or not the item is purchased as a one-off or part of a bulk order for other play structures destined for Portland’s parks can have a substantial impact on pricing.

Now, what can you do? Our fundraiser party really did a lot to raise awareness and some cash, but what we really need now is, well, cash. All donations to this project are 100% tax deductible and can be made by visiting friendsofwilshirepark.org/donate. Now that school is back in we are hoping that parents active in local PTAs, members of scouting groups, and other child-focused organizations will help us keep spreading the word and bringing in enough cash to get this project finished. You can print and share handouts, tell people to subscribe to our newsletter, or come to our next meeting to help out.

We’re getting a new car!

Great news, friends! An anonymous donor has made a very generous cash contribution and we now have enough funds to purchase a new car play structure. This means that a new car toy will likely be installed by the end of the year. The exact piece will be chosen from the catalog of equipment that has already been approved for use in Portland’s parks. It will resemble an off-road vehicle good for exploring in the mountains or wherever a young imagination needs to go. It also won’t give the kids any splinters.

This is a big victory for us, and it’s made us all the more excited about finishing these much needed improvements to the toddler play area. If you want to help, please check out this handy list at friendsofwilshirepark.org/help for all the ways that you can make our neighborhood park better.

Spread the Word!

Our fundraising effort for new playground equipment at Wilshire Park is going well, but you can help us reach even more people by spreading the word! Please follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/FriendsofWilshirePark and Instagram at instagram.com/friendsofwilshirepark. If you’re coming to our big fundraiser party at The Wiggle Room on July 28, please go to our Facebook event page and click “Going.” This will mean that your friends will be more likely to see this event in their own timeline, and that means more attendees and more direct donations.

You can also help in a more low-tech way. Here are some posters that you can either share online or print out and post at local businesses or even the window of your car as you drive around town.

This poster will fill an ordinary 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper:

And this page has four small versions of the flyer, which can be cut up and used as a small poster or a handout:

This one is square-shaped, making it perfect for Instagram, Twitter or Facebook:

As always, these posters will be archived on our Resources page so you can find them when you need them.