The Portland Trail Blazers — past and present — had a big presence at the grand opening of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metro newest club on Monday, cutting the ceremonial ribbon, breaking in the new gym and adding a little celebrity to a festive community event.
The new center, brought to fruition through an ongoing $10 million capital campaign, officially opened its doors in the Rockwood community of Gresham on Monday. Located at the corner of Southeast 165 th Avenue and Southeast Stark Street, the new center will offer structured enrichment programs, educational opportunities and other activities for youth in a safe environment when school's out.
VIEW SLIDESHOW: Blazers help open Boys & Girls Club
“Boys & Girls Clubs are located in communities with high need and few facility-based services to youth,” said Erin Hubert, BGCP's executive director, in a release. “We are incredibly honored to partner with the city of Gresham to respond to the needs of the children and families in Rockwood. This building, with the support of so many that have stepped up to invest in this club, will open up a whole new world of opportunity for youth in Rockwood.”
Blazers on hand for the Monday event included current players CJ McCollum and Pat Connaughton and former great Terry Porter.
According to the release, the new center came about after the closure in 2013 of the Police Activities League Center in Rockwood. The area is home to a large population of kids under 18, and it also has some of the highest rates of poverty and juvenile crime in the region, so such a club was in high demand.
BGCP worked with city and state officials, as well as private donors, companies and several charitable trusts and foundations to help make the center a reality.
The club features features learning, innovation, and activity spaces for youth 6 to 12 years of age and is the first club in the metro area to have a standalone center for teens ages 13 to 18.
“Erin Hubert, her amazing staff, and dedicated board have been committed to creating a safe and welcoming place that is respectful of the boys and girls that it serves,” said Dave Otte, the partner in charge of the project for Holst Architecture, which designed the center. “From day one, they wanted a sophisticated and modern facility that didn’t play down to kids, but rather helped elevate them to become successful young adults. Holst has been honored to help them create this facility, and we are excited to see boys and girls thrive here for years to come.”
Built by P&C Construction of Gresham, the new center is also home to a sizable gym, made possible in part by Nike, and two futsal fields. The latter were added to the facility via the Fields For All partnership, a field-building effort that combines resources from Operation Pitch Invasion and the Portland Timbers' and Thorns' Stand Together community platform.
McCollum's second CJ McCollum Dream Center will sit in the new facility. The spot offers kids various educational resources, activities and materials. The Windermere Foundation also supported a commercial kitchen at the center, which will serve more than 75,000 meals a year.
Eventually, other nonprofits and service providers will also share the site of the new club with BGCP. They include Open School East and New Avenues for Youth.
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