‘Crowdfunding’ for ‘Gateway Green’ called a success

Take a look, and see why one of the original promoters of this project says he’s pleased with what was a ‘grand experiment’ in Oregon …

At a workshop held at the Gateway Shopping Center in Hazelwood, bike riders, neighbors and supporters discuss the next step in the Gateway Green development process.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Days before their deadline in the second week of October, many supporters of Gateway Green wondered if they’d meet their goal of raising “crowd-sourcing” funds for this project.

> See the East Portland News story, with many links to previous stories, ‘Gateway Green’ accord signed, from December, 2011: CLICK HERE.

Gateway Green, a 38-acre parcel of what advocates call “an undeveloped and overlooked island of land located at the confluence of I-84 and I-205”, is an area they hope to develop into “a world-class venue for all forms of off-road cycling recreation, for neighbors and residents of the region to national events and bicycle tourism”.

Gateway Green boosters and Friends of Gateway Green board members: From left, Gill Williams of David Evans Association – they created the original vision study; bicycle enthusiast Tom Archer; Sarah Giles from Oregon Solutions; and board member Will Heiberg an owner of Lumberyard Bike Park here join together to show one of the many checks contributed to the project.

At an October 2 planning session and open house, Friends of Gateway Green Board Chair Linda Robinson said they were “letting people know what has been planned so far, and how to help us plan more specifically.

“We have a concept plan already, and we are now looking at specific things like the Nature Play Area,” Robinson told East Portland News.

Their fundraising campaign, with a $100,000 goal, will help them draw up more detailed plans, she said. “We already have a Master Plan, and now we’re working on a Schematic Plan which puts in more detail. That will allow us to apply for major construction grants.”

This way of raising funds is a “grand experiment”, according to Ted Gilbert, of Baron Equities and Resources Inc., and one of the founding volunteer Gateway Green advocates.

At that event, one of the project’s original advocates, Ted Gilbert, talked about the fundraising campaign.

“This is really a ‘grand experiment’,” Gilbert began. “A few months ago, a representative of Oregon Solutions, an entity organized by the governor’s office, met with us. She said that ‘crowd-funding’ is the ‘new wave’ of fundraising.  It’s been used with for-profit projects for several years. It’s just getting started being used for community projects. We’d like to see if we could use it that way.”

It’s challenging, more than ever, to finance a schools and parks, Gilbert said, because public resources – the traditional mechanism – are so scarce. “We’re looking to see if we can leverage those resources with private resources, and demonstrate to the decision-makers how much grassroots support there really is for project – judged by the number of donors, as well as the amount of money raised.

“In a sense, Gateway Green is Oregon Solutions’ ‘beta test site’ to find out if this works,” Gilbert added.  “They’ve taken it on with us, and we’re all learning as we’re growing.”

Friends of Gateway Green board member Gill Williams points out some of the park’s proposed features to City of Maywood Park resident Joan Stevens.

When the Indegogo fundraising campaign closed on October 7, the donors pushed the campaign past their goal, having $123,880 in this round of funding.

Robinson reported: During the 33 days of the Gateway Green crowd-funding campaign, we gathered 756 donors for the project. Since the ‘official’ completion date, some substantial contributions have continued to show up in our Gateway Green mailbox – PO Box 16692, Portland, OR 97292.”

Keep in touch with the progress of Gateway Green by checking their website: CLICK HERE to open their homepage.

> On our FRONT PAGE: David Elkin, a volunteer of Greenworks Landscape Architects talks with Madison South neighbor Jason Howard, and Jim Labbe from the Audubon Society of Portland – the latter is on the board of the Friends of Gateway Green.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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