Rosewood kicks off remodeling effort

Even if you missed the Rosewood Community Center celebration, see how you can still support their remodeling effort, now through Christmas …

Rosewood Initiative Board of Directors members Kelly Pauli and Derric Thompson welcome guests to the outer East Portland Community Center.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Neighbors, organization representatives, and clients gathered for the last time in the Rosewood Community Center – as it now is – on Thursday evening, November 17.

“We are here to celebrate, and to offer the opportunity to invest in the remodeling of our community center,” welcomed Rosewood Initiative Director Jenny Glass.

Rosewood Initiative Director Jenny Glass spends a moment with Board Chair Jhoselyn Hernandez.

“We have been in the space for about 3½ years, and have done our best to use it pretty much as it is, as a giant open room,” Glass told East Portland News. “We’ve been able to hold a wide variety of activities here, including dance classes, business classes, afterschool tutoring – all kinds of things.”

The “open room configuration” of the Rosewood Community Center is certainly good for large gatherings, but adding some closed space will help them improve their programming, organizers say.

“But, we really need some separate rooms, so we can do more programming; and this will help us have a greater impact on our community,” explained Glass. “After the remodel, we’ll be able to hold simultaneous classes and programs, work with more partners, and bring more people into the Center.”

The “market value” for the remodel of what was formerly a billiard parlor was about $450,000, Glass said. “But, by working with nonprofit design-and-build firm called MotiveSpace, the actual cost will closer to $250,000. “They work with donors and suppliers for projects by nonprofit organizations like ours; and for us, it saved us a significant amount of money.”

Glass told the group of about 200 supporters how much the organization appreciates and depends on the support of volunteers and partners.

Robert Barzler, Louie Aguilar, Valerie Salazar, Pastor Don Frueh, Mayor Charlie Hales, and Jay Marquess gather for a “selfie” during the event.

Mayor Charlie Hales was present, and stepped up to comment, “I love the people who say ‘This is my place’. Jenny [Glass] is a ‘force of nature’; you cannot say no to her, I’ve given up trying. I’m recommending that all future officials to do the same.

“We’re in a time of national trauma, fear, and uncertainty,” Hales continued. “But there are some things that we know. When you look around this room you can see it. That is here, in this place, we know what inclusion looks like.”

Christy Hagman of the Free Store tells why she thanks and supports the Rosewood Initiative.

Another speaker, Christy Hagma, recalled how she started an event in 2014 she called the “Free Store”, to help families in need get household items, clothing, and community resources.

“We have grown so much, just because of Rosewood, and everything that we’ve done here,” Hagman shared with the gathering. “We are hoping to make it a program here at Rosewood soon, and we realize the value of how the Rosewood Initiative helps build community, and how much we support what they do.”

Glass said they hope the center will reopen by April of 2017.

As with all of their events, food is an important part of building community.

Although the Rosewood Community Center will be closed for a few weeks, they’ll be reopening, better than ever, in the spring.

  • It’s easy to donate online to their “Embrace Community Support” campaign to fund the remodeling, at; just use their secure webpage: CLICK HERE.
  • Or, for more information regarding the Rosewood Initiative, CLICK HERE.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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