Members and staff of the Portland Timbers professional soccer club had a different goal in mind when they visited Hood River on July 23: Community service.
The annual event, a partnership with Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital, brought the Timbers to The Next Door’s Raices Cooperative Farm before heading to Westside Elementary for a free youth soccer clinic.
For an hour and a half, Timbers goalkeeper Steve Clark, defender Zarek Valentin and midfielder Andres Flores — and support staff — gathered at the farm’s Barker Road location to build greenhouse tables and paint a mural, designed by local artist Hugo Arias, on the side of a garden shed.
“It was perfect timing,” said Next Door Development Officer Justine Ziegler. “The Rotary had just finished a second greenhouse, and it has been empty because we didn’t have greenhouse tables.
“Some of the Rotarians came to head up the building team and supervise,” she said, adding that for Clark, “it was his first time using a staple gun — and he used it backwards.”
The players and volunteers split up to tackle the projects, but the tables came together pretty quickly, so by the end, most of the focus was on the mural.
“Hugo painted a mural on the outside of a shed, set up like a paint-by-numbers project,” she said. “It worked out really well.”
Volunteers were also able to spend time in the garden, visiting and snacking.
“Andres was visiting with Raices members — quite a few of them were there, and he’s from El Salvador … they showed him their garden and he was snacking on some of their tomatoes,” Ziegler said. “Steve got to leave with some beets and he was psyched about that. Most people had something they were taking home from the garden, which was really cool.”
By the time the Timbers left, volunteers had built two greenhouse tables and completed the mural.
“All of the (Timbers) organization people pitched in and helped, and Providence did as well,” said Ziegler.
Raices members have already put the new greenhouse tables to use, as its CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program is in full swing, she said. Later in the season, the tables will be used for drying peppers.
“We’re so grateful for the Timbers’ commitment to our community, and we appreciate the opportunity to partner with Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital, Hood River Rotary Club and the Timbers organization on this exciting project,” said Next Door Executive Director Janet Hamada in an emailed press release.
For more information about the Raices Cooperative Farm, visit nextdoorinc.org/raices.