CORVALLIS, Ore. – Neighbors are fundraising to bring back a boardwalk to the Marys River Natural Area, after the original was destroyed during a major flood two years ago.
The Corvallis Parks and Recreation Department received $193,910 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds to pay for 75 percent of the cost to replace the boardwalk. But the City is required to produce a 25 percent match, $64,639, by June before it is able to access the funds. Friends of Corvallis Parks and Recreation is raising money to rebuild the boardwalk. So far the department has raised about $5,000. On Sunday, a group of neighbors is putting on a fundraising event to help out.
The boardwalk stood above wetlands, and neighbors say it provided community members with a place to enjoy nature without getting muddy.
“It’s just a really great place to be there first thing in the morning or in the evening,” said Chere Pereira, one of the event organizers. “You can hear the owls hooting and it’s just a natural space that we really, really enjoy.”
Pereira says losing the boardwalk during the storm was a huge loss to the neighborhood.
“It was sad,” she said. “I think that we did get attached to it and we thought this was something special in our area and then it was gone. And the damage was so extreme that we knew they couldn’t just repair it. That became very obvious.”
Karen Emery, the Director of Corvallis Parks and Recreation, says part of the boardwalk collapsed during the storm. She says the City had to remove what was left of it because it would have been unsafe for anyone to use the boardwalk. She also says the FEMA grant requires that 60% of the original lumber be re-used in the construction. Once the area was dry enough, Emery says crews took the boardwalk down and placed the boards in storage.
Sunday’s fundraiser is at the Chintimini Senior Center from 2-4 p.m. There will be music and refreshments, including a cake from New Morning Bakery. The event will also have a silent auction full of goodies including a two-night stay at the Embarcadero in Newport, paintings, pottery, and other items. There is a suggested donation of $20. Anyone who wants to make a tax-deductible donation to rebuild the boardwalk can write checks to: Friends of Corvallis Parks and Recreation.
Donations are also accepted online at: http://www.lovecorvallisparks.org/donate/