Woodstock Center substantially celebrated by community

Look at this and discover why energetic volunteers work hard to keep the Woodstock Community Center vital – and the doors open …

Joe Kaczyk brings Black Bean Fritters, courtesy of The Delta Caf?©, to the Woodstock Community Center Open House.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Times haven’t been easy for Friends of Woodstock Community Center recently. Time after time, the city has threatened to pull funding for the center, and shutter it forever.

Florence Dezeix plays a Celtic harp, filling the community center with the warm, lush sounds of merry melodies.

However, on February 10, the stately community center, once a city fire station, is full of life.

“There have been some “close shaves” for the center’s closing, acknowledges volunteer Terry Griffiths. “Indeed, some very, very ‘close shaves’,” Griffiths agrees.

“But today, we’re celebrating the fact that our community center is still open, thanks to the support and efforts of our neighbors. We’re here today saying ‘thank you’ to all of the neighbors who support us.”

Woodstock Community Center volunteers Randall Magahay and Terry Griffiths relax at the Open House.

Griffiths tells us this community center is important because it provides a place for the people of the Woodstock area to get together, take classes. “It’s a nice, intimate space, and close to home for a lot of people who walk here.”

Randall Magahay says he takes clock repair class on Mondays, and attends Wednesday yoga sessions. “It’s nice to do this right here where we live, instead of traveling far and wide.” As a volunteer, Magahay says he’s happy to give to the center. “I do landscape maintenance and plant growing, and donate to the plant sale.”

The kitchen counter is laden with treats. We see cupcakes brought in by Island Creamery, His Bakery scones, New Seasons’ offering of fruit and bread, Delta Caf?© fritters, and Papaccino’s coffee.

“We did this to help raise both awareness and funds for the community center,” comments one of the event’s organizers, Gary Bankston. “This is turning out to be a fun event for the whole neighborhood. We have an art show and raffle and silent auction here.”

Alison O’Donoghue exhibits her buttons and painting, sketches on her current work, and chats with passers-by.

Filled with arts and crafts
We moved into the Mirror Room, and found it filled with works of art. Proceeds from this art sale help support the community center, we’re told.

Artist George Heath offers his “sculptural cartoons” for sale at the Open House.

We meet George Heath. “I just create what comes to mind when I make my ceramics.” Asked what he calls his cheerful, colorful artworks, he first says, “Well, they’re called Earl, Bob, Ted ‚Äì and Bill! Hillary is yet to come.” He pauses, searching for a better answer to our question; then opts for the term, “sculptural cartoons”.

Making Valentine’s Day cards is Maile Baures (center), between her sons Adrian and Loic.

The basement has been turned into a children’s art workshop. Pink paper, hearts and other Valentine’s Day decorations abound, as kids make cards for family and friends.

Join the community
On the way out, Griffiths confided, “The Friends of Woodstock Community Center could use some help. We need a financial person to help us better our accounts.”

Another way one can participate is to can take classes at the center she said. “And, we always welcome volunteers. Of course, you can make a tax- deductible contribution to the Center via Southeast Uplift.”

Learn more by going to www.woodstockpdx.org.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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