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    MICK HOBAN / Portland Timbers / Alumni Ambassador

    Mick hails from England where he grew up in the industrial West Midlands. He and his wife, Linda, live in SW Portland.  Mick is a former professional soccer player with Aston Villa (England), Atlanta, Denver and our own Portland Timbers (NASL). He was the first ever player signed by the Portland Timbers in 1975 and, similarly, was Nike’s first soccer employee in 1978. Today he is retired and spends his time volunteering with: Harper’s Playground; Dynasty House, the Alzheimer’s Association and the Portland Timbers where he serves as an ‘Alumni Ambassador’.  “Play and games have played a major role in my life. Having had children of our own and now experiencing the wonders of being grandparents we know how important play and games are.  Once I’d met Harper I felt inspired to offer our assistance. We have been blessed to be a small part of the program and look forward to continuing our support. Play on!” 

    NICK FISH / City of Portland, OR / Commissioner 

    Nick’s favorite playgrounds as a child were in Central Park and in the meadow next to his family’s rural New York home. He has a passion for removing barriers in our community – a value he learned from his Dad, a principal sponsor of the Americans With Disabilities Act.  As Commissioner in Charge of Portland Parks & Recreation, Nick was proud to champion Harper’s Playground.  In his free time, Nick and his 9-year-old son, Chapin, like to play soccer.  “One of my favorite moments as a City Commissioner was joining the Goldberg family at the grand opening of Harper’s Playground. Although it was a rainy Saturday, the playground was alive with kids swinging, running, sliding, and playing in the sand. I hope Cody and April’s vision extends to communities across the country.”


    APRIL GOLDBERG / Teacher + M.S. Special Education / Harper's Mom

    Born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, April has called Portland, Oregon home since 1998.  She is the mother of two sweet girls, Harper and Lennon.  April is passionate about inclusion and works tirelessly to facilitate and encourage greater inclusive settings, especially in the public school environment.  The idea which became Harper's Playground was hers, and she is both the co-founder and President Emeritus of the Board of Directors of Harper's Playground.  April is a Special Education teacher at York Elementary in Vancouver, WA where she serves on a panel dedicated to stronger inclusive practices district wide.  "Every child has and deserves the right to play.  When we create opportunities for the most vulnerable, everyone benefits from the increased experiences and perspectives.”

    KELLY SAITO / Gerding Edlen Development / President

    Kelly Saito is an Oregon native, father of two lovely little girls, and an avid soccer and futsol player. He received his B.A in Business Administration, Finance and Marketing, from the University of Oregon and is President of Gering Edlen Development, a company that exists to do one simple thing: to create vibrant, sustainable and inspiring places where people can work, learn and live.  “It is a privilege to both me and to Gerding Edlen to be a part of Harper’s Playground. It is such an important space for children, families and their friends; and I look forward to seeing this model be embraced and replicated throughout the country.”

    KATHIE SNOW / Disability Is Natural / Author & Game Changer

    Kathie and her family moved from their native Texas to the Colorado Rocky Mountains in 1991. Before the births of her children, she was a broadcast television writer, producer, and director and a print journalist. She’s energetic, positive, and determined to help create a society where all are valued and all belong.  Kathie believes the inclusion of people with disabilities can best be accomplished when they move from clienthood to citizenship, and replace traditional "special" and segregated services with assistance from the abundant supply of natural supports and generic services that exist in every community. And everyone has an important role to play in this effort! "Every child is born included! Inclusion is the natural state--it's the default position! Inclusive playgrounds where all are welcomed, all have access, and all have opportunities to play and make friends should be the norm, not the exception. Harper's Playground is a model for communities large and small."

    JONATHAN BLASHER / METRO / Director of Parks & Recreation

    Jonathan Blasher was born and raised in Eugene, OR. He has devoted his life to serving the needs of communities, and is inspired by the capacity for human compassion.  He is the Director of Parks & Recreation for METRO in Portland, OR. Jonathan earned his BA from the University of California Santa Cruz and MBA from the University of Oregon Lundquist College of Business Executive MBA program. He is an AmeriCorps alumni, former Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer and member of the Urban League of Portland Young Professionals. In his leisure time he likes to play basketball, travel, play music, fly fish and spend time with his wife.  “The relationships, opportunities and well-being that I’ve experienced through play in my life have been incredible. Play is a universal language that every child should learn and practice throughout their life.”

    LISA SEDLAR / Green Zebra Grocery / Founder & CEO

    Originally from the Midwest, Lisa was drawn to Portland, OR for its creative culture, environmental advocacy, and most importantly, for its support of local, sustainably grown food (and wine).   Lisa has worked in just about every position in the food business, from store chef to CEO and everything in between. Prior to founding Green Zebra Grocery, she was the CEO of New Seasons Market in Portland and worked as the Director of Purchasing for Whole Foods Market in the Midwest.  In addition to being passionate about food and food security, Lisa believes strongly that business leaders have a responsibility to the communities they serve. Green Zebra Grocery actively supports sustainable business practices ranging from partnerships with local farmers, support for local non-profits, offering progressive staff benefits, implementing green building initiatives and volunteering in the community.  “What's better than a playground? A playground where people of every ability can play! I'm honored to serve as an advisor for Harper's playground because through playing together we create a more inclusive community, enhance understanding and have fun! Imagine if every playground was a Harper's Playground.”

    LINDA LAVIOLETTE / Social Profit Sector / Expert Consultant

    After forty years in the San Francisco Bay Area, Linda moved to the Northwest in 1991 seeking a kinder, gentler life closer to nature and dreaming of living in an intentional community. Linda helped to build Portland’s first co-housing community, where her daughter spent her childhood playing in the creek. Enrolled at UC Berkeley in the late sixties, Linda graduated with a BS degree in Conservation of Natural Resources, then worked at US EPA in its infancy. Linda has thirty years experience as a nonprofit leader: three times an executive director and 15 years a development consultant. In mid-2010 Linda returned to consulting after 8 years as first executive director of Portland Parks Foundation. In her numerous volunteer commitments since the fifth grade, Linda has focused on service to organizations that contribute to a healthier community. “Harper’s Playground is a magical play space fostering community and inclusion in an aesthetic setting. We need more places like Harper’s Playground in our world.”

    TOM GRIFFIN-VALADE / N Portland Neighborhood Services / Director

    Casting off childhood never really appealed to Tom. You would think that spending a ridiculously long time working in both academic institutions and local government would have knocked the sense of play out of him.  But LaVonne, his beautiful life-partner, and their four children persistently inspire him to ignore taking too seriously what in the long run really isn’t serious and to integrate play into his professional work along with most everything else.  Today, Tom is the Director of North Portland Neighborhood Services working with hundreds of volunteers to build community in North Portland.  "Of the most rewarding experiences of my career, has been to play a small part assisting Cody and April Goldberg rapidly transform a distant vision into the reality of Harper’s Playground." 

    DAVID M. HOWITT / The Meriwether Group / Founder & CEO

    David M. Howitt, founder & CEO of Meriwether Group and author of Heed Your Call is an inspiring thought leader and accomplished entrepreneur with over twenty years of experience providing financial, strategic, and brand counsel to early stage, and Fortune 100 companies. He has the unique ability to integrate vision and growth strategies with mission and purpose, and has provided guidance to Oregon Chai, Stumptown Coffee, Pendleton, adidas, Voodoo Doughnut, Salomon, yogitoes, Klim, Bloch, Dave's Killer Bread, ABC Carpet & Home, Living Harvest, and many others.  “At the Meriwether Group, we believe in “The Power of AND” and inherent in this is the human need and right for Work AND Play.   AND, importantly, Work AND Play for All!!  Harper's Playground exemplifies that concept perfectly through the harmony and happiness of ALL children playing together.”


    LISA LYONS / PhD / Legacy Health System 

    Lisa Lyons, PhD, received her Master's from University of South Florida and her Doctorate from University of Minnesota in speech language pathology. Her twenty seven year career has focused on serving children, their families and supporting rehabilitative teams of professions that provide direct care. Dr. Lyons has held faculty appointments at University of Minnesota, Northern Arizona University, Oregon Health Sciences University, University of Oregon, and Portland State University. She presently serves as Manager for Pediatric Rehabilitation and Pediatric Physician Specialists for Legacy Health System. "Memories are made during time together; playtime should be accessible to all."



    Kent was born and raised on the plains of the mid-west before moving to Portland in 1999. As a child growing up in a very rural part of the country, Kent understands the benefit and importance of connection to others and the power of a strong imagination that play facilitates. He graduated with a Bachelor Science in Communications from the University of South Dakota and has built his professional career around the trade of storytelling. In his current role as Sr. Vice President of Corporate & Crisis Communications at Edelman he helps brands from a variety of sectors and a wide range of sizes connect and relate to their audiences in the most effective and authentic means possible. "I was inspired by Cody's sharing his heartfelt story, and the inspiration for Harper's Playground at TedxPortland. Our mutual love of the Portland Timbers has helped create a relationship and ongoing conversation that I'm honored has now evolve to include my increased participation in supporting his vision to giving all kids access to play."