Portland Parks Press Release November 22 2010

Media Contact:
Beth Sorensen, Public Information Officer
503.823.5300; 503.823.6634 (cell)

What:   Presentation of contribution towards “Harpers Playground,” an inclusive playground to be built at Arbor Lodge Park

Who:        Nick Fish, Portland Parks Commissioner
                The Timbers Army
                Cody and April Goldberg, parents of Harper Goldberg

When:   10:30 a.m., Tuesday, November 23

Where:   Office of Commissioner Nick Fish, Portland City Hall, 1221 S.W. Fourth Avenue, Room 240, downtown Portland

On behalf of Timber Jim, the longtime mascot of the Portland Timbers soccer team, the Timbers Army will be presenting a special donation to help build “Harper’s Playground,” an inclusive playground to be built in North Portland’s Arbor Lodge Park. The donation, which represents 100% of the proceeds from the sale of a commemorative Timbers scarf, is being presented to Portland Parks Commissioner Nick Fish and the family of Harper Goldberg at a special event at Portland City Hall at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, November 23.

“Harper’s Playground” is named after 5-year-old Harper, who has Emanuel Syndrome, but who continues to defy the odds in her battle to gain independence. “Harper’s Playground” will build community by providing an inclusive playground structure at Arbor Lodge Park where children and adults of all abilities can play together. Her parents, Cody and April Goldberg, who live near Arbor Lodge Park, have pledged to raise $200,000 for the project by next summer.

“The support of the Timbers Army has been instrumental is raising the visibility of the great project,” noted Commissioner Fish. “There is a tremendous need for this type of inclusive play facility in our community and the Timbers are setting the standard for other businesses and individuals to make their own contributions to help make Harper’s Playground a reality, not only for Harper, but for all children with special needs.”

- Background -
In early September, the Goldbergs contacted Sierra Smith, Community Outreach Director for the Portland Timbers; she in turn put the Goldbergs in touch with members of the Timbers Army, the supporters group that sits in the north end of PGE Park during Timbers matches.

Working in conjunction with 107ist, the non-profit trust that serves as the engine of the Timbers Army, the group raised over $3,000 through the sale of scarves commemorating the Timbers’ final match at PGE Park before the stadium’s remodeling for Major League Soccer.

In addition, Timber Jim, who’s been the team’s mascot on and off for more than 30 years, pledged to organize a platoon of Army members who will help construct the inclusive park, which will feature ramps allowing wheelchair access, swings and equipment with back supports,  and activities for kids with hearing and visual impairments.

"We are humbled and honored by the generosity this donation represents,” says Cody Goldberg.  “The money is a big help, and the spirit of love and perseverance that Timber Jim and the Timbers Army bring to this project is even bigger."

A second commemorative scarf, this one featuring the Harper’s Playground logo, will go on sale over the holidays, with 100% of the proceeds again going to support this important project.