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School district opens soccer field


Parkrose soccer players, from left, Saba Berhe, Carla Canseco, Amanda Gilliam, Brendah Hansen (laying down), Jennifer Barrientos, McKenna Baskins and Lexi Krieger are tickled to play on the new field that officially opened at the high school last month.
Mid-county Memo photos/Tim Curran
At 75 yards wide and 120 yards long - a bit larger than regular fields - the new field will be open for rental to outside club teams and leagues in 2013.
In a ceremony at Parkrose High School last month, City Commissioner Nick Fish cut the ribbon for the new $350,000 soccer field. Portland Timbers Chief Operating Officer Mike Golub, from left, former PSD Board of Education member Guy Crawford, Fish, boys soccer coach Damian Califf, Timbers players Ryan Kawulok and Chris Taylor, PSD Superintendent Karen Fischer Gray and former Athletic Director Sanjay Bedi hold the ribbon.
Presided over by Superintendent Karen Fischer Gray, the new soccer field at Parkrose High School officially opened last month after a ceremony with speeches, a ribbon cutting, Portland Timbers players autographing, cake and hot dog eating and alumni versus student exhibition matches.

At 75 yards wide and 120 yards long, and built at a cost of $350,000 - $200,000 from the city, $100,000 from the district and $50,000 from the Timbers - the new field, in the northeast corner of the high school campus along Prescott Street, is a bit larger than a regular one.

Mike Golub, Timbers chief operating officer said, “It's our first field grant and it's a real pleasure to see it come to life.”

Alluding to the fact varsity soccer teams have been sharing the football field for years, Fischer Gray said, “We have very few soccer fields in east Portland. This is one of the most beautiful soccer fields in Portland. We're very proud to have it at Parkrose High School.”

Fischer Gray thanked former athletic director Sanjay Bedi and boys soccer coach Damian Califf for making the rounds with her at city hall lobbying commissioners for funds.

Commissioner Nick Fish gave credit to Fischer Gray for securing the funds. “Your Superintendent is a very modest person … but the truth is, she was lobbying during the time we were cutting budgets. The secret of success is your terrific world-class superintendent.” He then told a story of how his daughter, a soccer player, received a full-ride academic scholarship to “the college of her choice.”

Fischer Gray said the large open space behind the football grandstand had been on the district's radar for some time. “Quite a number of years ago, someone had a vision of taking this area of field and making it into something,” Fischer Gray said. “I called it the bird sanctuary, because that seemed to be what we had a lot of on this field.” To punctuate her statement (maybe making their own), birds flew over and made a visible deposit on people as Fischer Gray was introducing school board chair Jamie Woods. “We should have warned you about the geese,” he said. “The birds haven't gotten the news yet,” Fischer Gray added.

Because there are no lights - fund raising plans are in the works - to play on the new field, varsity teams are scheduling games at 4:30 p.m. instead of the usual 7 o'clock start time.

Manned by the Parkrose Boosters club, Fischer Gray said the district plans to have the concession stand open when possible. She also said a scoreboard is going up as soon as they get approval from the city.

Fischer Gray said the new field, like their other fields, will be open for outside rental, but not until 2013. For the rest of this year, only school district and Parkrose club teams will use it. The objective, she said, is to allow a healthy root system to establish so the turf can support the kind of traffic a busy athletic field receives.

In an email, Fischer Gray said there is no budget for long-term development with the field or any of the district fields. She said district maintenance crews will maintain the new field.

Parkrose Athletic Director Dave Richardson said it is a big relief to see the new field open. “As much as we struggled with scheduling, they (athletes) were really the ones who suffered from having to put everybody on one field; and juggle schedules, and practices and games - and then play on a field that simply had too much use. Both [soccer] programs as well as football are thrilled to have their own facility for their own sport.”

Despite her team's 1-13 record last year, senior Jennifer Barrientos is optimistic, “… but this year's going to be really good.” Will the new field help? “Maybe,” she said “Yes. We're looking forward to playing on it.”

The school district posted a video of the opening ceremonies on its website,

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