Jeff Smalley and a group of parents from Parkrose, Scott and Rigler schools are working to rejuvenate the Parkside Little League program and give kids in the Cully and Parkrose neighborhoods a chance to play ball and feed into the Madison and Parkrose baseball programs.
The Parkside league is the result of a 2015 merger between the Parkrose and Lakeside leagues. Both leagues have served their Northeast Portland communities for more than 50 years. The Lakeside name reflected the proximity of the league’s Falbo Field to Whitaker Ponds Nature Park, just north of NAYA Family Center in the Cully neighborhood. In the future, the league may change its name to something that better reflects its growing presence in the Cully and Madison communities. Falbo Field is named after former league president and Kenton neighbor Chuck Falbo, who passed away in 2014.
Smalley, who is the owner of Fire and Stone restaurant in the Beaumont Wilshire neighborhood, is looking for coaches, volunteers and sponsors to help with the project.
“Although other leagues in our district have increased registration fees due to growing costs, we have chosen to not pass this cost on to our families for the 2018 season,” said Smalley. “We are working to restructure the league and ask for grace and patience while this important work is done. Our entire organization is run by volunteers and we can’t do it without a little help. We want to make sure that every kid who wants to play gets a chance to play, regardless of circumstance.”
The Parkside league is looking into the possibility of selling its Bob St. Aubin Stadium property on East Burnside Street and 135th Avenue in the Hazelwood neighborhood, and it may acquire property to build a new stadium near the former Sumner School at Northeast 86th Avenue and Sumner Street. The new stadium would feature a lighted 50-70 field, a minors/farm field, a tee-ball, a covered batting barn and a concessions facility. In the interim, the hope is to spruce up the undersized Falbo Field in Cully and give players and their families the best baseball experience possible.
“We ask that each player participate in our annual fundraiser and that each family volunteer at least eight hours during the season,” said Stone. “We will host an equipment swap for families at baseball tryouts in February and we are currently looking for sponsors that will grow with us. Their contribution will ensure the continued growth and success of baseball in Northeast Portland.”
The Parkside season starts on April 7. Online registration is open now and tryouts will be held on February 24 and 25 with a draft in March. A pancake breakfast, field day and whiffle ball hunt are planned for March 10.
For more information, call 503-683-3574 or visit www.parksidelittleleague.org.