Blazers’ front office folks score big at Floyd Light

Yes, ‘hoops’ were involved. See what the Trail Blazers organization did for this school, during their day of service …

Volunteers from the Portland Trail Blazers and Rip City Management are on hand to clip, haul, and sweep – cleaning up the parking lot at Floyd Light Middle School.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Outside the buildings, inside the school’s courtyard, and behind in the play area, more than 80 volunteers pruned, raked, fixed, and painted all they could touch – at Floyd Light Middle School on August 15.

“We are with the Portland Trail Blazers’ staff and office personnel from the Rip City Management LLC. – the organization that manages the Moda Center [formerly known as the Portland Rose Garden],” informed Portland Trail Blazers Vice President of Community Relations, Traci Rose.

These aren’t low-level staff helping out: Event Manager Katie Colbert, Blazers Vice President of Community Relations Traci Rose, Loyalty Programs Coordinator Ketura Vargas, Staff Accountant-Finance Shiromani Narayan, and Ticket Operations Cheryl Mueller – all pause their work to allow this photo.

“We all dedicate one day a month, during the off-season, to get together and serve in our community,” Rose told East Portland News.

Their organization has worked to help education for many years, including 2008, when the Blazers’ “Make it Better” campaign paid to refinish ailing gymnasium courts in many schools. [See how they helped at the now-shuttered Lents Neighborhood Marshall High School that year: CLICK HERE.]

Director of Guest Services Neal Harrington gives these bushes a trim.

Inside the school’s courtyard, another group provides needed landscape maintenance.

“One of the issues we’ve been following is how poverty is moving to outer East Portland,” explained Rose. “We have been looking at where we can help the most, in the districts that have the most need right now.

“Here in the David Douglas School District, we talked with Superintendent of Education Don Grotting,” Rose went on. “He told our staff that they are serving some of the poorest kids in the state. And, at the same time, they are meeting the needs their students, and ending up with the best benchmark [test results and] graduation rate of any school district in the United States.”

A paralegal at Trail Blazers, Inc., June Hall pulls nails from a broken picnic table, preparing to install new boards.

Premium Services Manager Scott Kniess, and Group & Community Coordinator Hannah Eggert, paint a repaired picnic table, making it look like new.

Their job on this “day of service” Rose added “is to take one thing off their plate – fixing and cleaning the exterior of this school, so their staff can put their efforts someplace else.”

The goal, she added, is that when the kids come back to school, “it looks beautiful; all the students will need to think about is walking in and starting to learn.”

Premium Sales Manager Ryan Tinsley is one of several volunteers helping out at the Cherryblossom Meals on Wheels People Loaves & Fishes Center.

Floyd Light Middle School Principal Doug Pease and Vice Principal Chris Stevens say they are thankful for the awesome good work the volunteers are providing for their school – and its students.

Breaking away from a meeting at the district offices, Floyd Light Middle School Principal Doug Pease stopped by his school to see the progress of the cadre of sweat-and-dirt covered volunteers.

“This is wonderful; they are doing a great job,” Pease grinned to East Portland News, while surveying the grounds with Vice Principal Chris Stevens. “When we first heard about this effort, I didn’t know what to expect. But this is far beyond a ‘photo opportunity’ – they are working really hard inside and outside the school, and the results are great.”

Being part of the Trail Blazers organization, these volunteers say they couldn’t leave the school’s basketball hoops battered and unkempt – so they’re fixing and painting them.

As school starts in September, Pease said he’s going to share what the Blazers and Rip City organizations did for their school. “I’ll emphasize how the community really does care about them, and the space where they come to learn. I will tell him how this is one way the community shows they care, by giving to them.”

Hopefully, the principal added, “the students will be a bit more thoughtful about their school, and will feel supported by adults who care about their success.”

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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