Playground helps Portland kids of all abilities

Playground helps Portland kids of all abilities

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by Sara Roth, KGW.com Staff

kgw.com

Posted on November 11, 2013 at 1:35 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 12 at 3:11 AM

PORTLAND – A Portland couple whose daughter, Harper, was born with a rare genetic abnormality, has spent the past three years raising money to build a playground for children of all abilities.

Now, “Harper’s Playground” at 2525 North Dekum Street has been unveiled. It features slides that are wide enough for parents and kids to go down together and ramps instead of ladders.

Adaptive swings allow children who have outgrown baby swings to keep swinging. And climbing structures let kids of all abilities challenge themselves.

At first, Harper’s parents, April and Cody Goldberg, wanted to raise $200,000. But thanks to overwhelming community support, the Goldbergs raised $1.2 million for the playground.

NBC’s TODAY Show recently visited Harper’s Playground to see the final product.

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“It’s about the concept of including everyone,” Cody Goldberg said. “It’s the right thing to do but when you do it, it’s better for everyone.”

Goldberg said that, along with hundreds of other kids, Harper loves the new playground.

"It never gets old," he said. "We come by about twice a day."

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales was on hand to congratulate the Goldbergs.

“You see kids of all abilities here playing together,” Hales said. “It’s beautiful, it’s safe, it’s fun. It’s community.”

Another famous face also paid the playground a visit. Musician Ben Harper had a gig at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall Sunday. But before his show, he visited Harper’s Playground to show his support, even posing for pictures with the Goldbergs (pictured below).

"Harper is named after Ben Harper," Goldberg said. "When he found out that fact, he said, 'I need to see that park.'" 

The Goldbergs aren't stopping at one park, though. Harper's Playground is now raising money to help other communities build inclusive playgrounds around the country.

KGW Reporter Erica Heartquist contributed to this report.

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