SOUTHLAKE PARK FAQs

WHO IS WILLAMETTE UNITED?

Unlike other groups that have tried to build sports fields in our community, the Willamette United Football Club is run by people who live here. Our Executive Director has lived in Wilsonville for 20 years and has had three children go to school in our community. Our Director of Coaching has lived in West Linn for ten years and has two children in West Linn schools. Our entire Board of Directors lives in either West Linn or Wilsonville and all of their children go to school here.

We serve over 2500 children and over 90 percent of them go to school in the West Linn and Wilsonville School District. Those that do not go to school here live in Oregon City, Canby, Tualatin and Lake Oswego. We live, work and play in our community just like of the members of the Stafford Hamlet. We are VERY serious about helping nurture valuable members of society and to help children be the best they can be on and off the field.

IS THE PROPOSED PARK A PRIVATE PARK?

While the park is NOT operated by a city, the county or the state, it will still be operated as a public park and it will be open to everyone and anyone in our community. The park will have features that may be rented by anyone and there will be FREE amenities available to everyone in the community. The three outdoor fields and indoor training facility will be available to any local group that wants to rent them for practices or games. Fees are set at the lowest rate possible while still servicing the construction debt. The walking trail, playground and picnic area will be available any time the park is open to the public for free.

IS THE PROPOSED PARK A FOR-PROFIT BUSINESS?

NO. The park is not a for-profit venture. This project is completely manged by the Willamette United Football Club which is a (501) (c) (3) non profit organization. The construction loan and all business for the park will be run by a new LLC called Willamette United Facilities which is fully owned by WUFC and is also a non profit entity. All money made from the park will be used to operate the facility and any profit will be managed by WUFC and reinvested in our children and community. As the debt is retired the usage fees will be lowered to help the local non-profit organizations.

IS THE PROPOSED PARK REALLY NEEDED?

There is a desperate need for new turf fields with lights in our community. There are only FOUR artificial turf facilities in the community. These are all operated by the school district and while the district is a wonderful partner, the school fields are used for school sports first. What time is left is minimal and shared by multiple groups. There is one private turf field at Horizon Church but that field is often booked. Grass fields are only available six months out of the year due to rain and darkness and the Athey Creek field lease expires in 2020. We have over 2500 young soccer players and with the growth of lacrosse and football starting at earlier ages there are more young athletes in our community than ever. Add the new homes and apartments being built in Wilsonville to the equation and there is more demand than supply available in our community. Our organizations do NOT get to use fields in Lake Oswego as those fields are full with Lake Oswego organizations.

WHAT IS THE CLUB DOING ABOUT THE “BIG THREE” CONCERNS?

TRAFFIC

WUFC has spent almost $75,000 with one of the best traffic consultants on the west coast. We want the traffic situation to have as little impact as possible to the community. The soccer club’s lease at Athey Creek Middle School is finished in 2020 so the traffic generated by most WUFC families will NOT be new traffic. It will be existing traffic that is moving East down Borland Road. We have been assured that Borland Road, a main arterial, can handle the park traffic well.

LIGHTS

The outdoor fields will have lights. The new LED bulbs make light spillage virtually non existent. The light stops where the field stops. In addition, the property at SouthLake is surrounded by very tall mature trees that will shield light outside of the park. The lights are NOT used during late spring and summer months and there will be minimal use on weekends. We want this facility to be a source of pride to the community so the current plan is to close the fields at 9PM and to have all outdoor field lights turned off by 9:30PM every night once children are safely off the fields. We serve children and we believe they shouldn’t be out past 9PM.

NOISE

In the early plans for the park there was an outdoor amphitheater. Due to potential noise concerns that feature was removed from the plans. The park will NOT host any concerts or other events that produce loud noises. Our club does not use whistles for practices so the only whistles that may hear will be during games for the safety of the children. With the fields being so close to the freeway park noise will be minimal and in most cases will not be heard over the I-205 traffic. We have done extensive noise studies that confirm this fact.

BECAUSE THE PARK IS BUILT ON CHURCH LAND WILL THE PARK OR THE SOCCER CLUB BE A RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION?

NO. WUFC is not and will not be a religious organization. The relationship between SouthLake Church and WUFC will not change who we are or how Willamette United operates in any way. Willamette United is and will remain a secular organization. SouthLake Church knows this and they have embraced us as their partner and future neighbor. Everything we do as a club is driven by our mission statement.

The Willamette United Football Club works hard to inspire and educate our members to be strong and productive athletes, citizens, and leaders. We strive to help the whole child grow physically, emotionally, mentally and academically.

Our partner and future landlord, South Lake Church, has proven their commitment to the community in many ways, including opening up their land and buildings facilities to help Willamette United fulfill our mission.

We want both organizations to encourage 100% authenticity while being respectful of the safety, culture and needs of both organizations when they become neighbors.

WILL THE PARK IMPACT THE LOCAL ENVIRONMENT?

We are designing the facility to use natural materials that will help the park blend into the local environment. We are following all of the county’s guidelines carefully to help protect the environment. The park has been designed to stay as far away as possible from the river and we will keep as many of the trees as possible. We have and will continue to go to great lengths to protect the environment and in many cases we will work to enhance the area.

There is misinformation being spread about the chemicals and turf fields. THERE ARE NO CHEMICALS of any kind used to clean turf fields. The fields are cleaned with a sweeper. We take the safety of our children very seriously and we will not use any chemicals on the fields or around the park.

We have a plan to improve the habitat by planting food source plant life and creating breeding and nesting materials for local birds and small wild life. We are hoping to engage the Boy Scouts, the FFA and or 4-H groups to help us execute this idea by planting strategic plant life and building nesting boxes for local birds. We want the park to be home to beautiful plant and animal species.

We are working with local grade school teachers to create cross-curricular thematic lesson plans that we will post on the park’s web site. These lesson plans will be about the local wildlife, the river, plant life and the community’s history. The lesson plans will be available for download for free and teachers will be able to visit the park during the school day with their students to learn about the area and how to take care of our community. We see this project as a way to grow community pride and to help nurture responsible members of society.

HOW WILL THE SOUTHLAKE PARK CONSTRUCTION BE PAID FOR?

Willamette United is going to use a combination of existing revenue, new revenue, donations, sponsor dollars and private financing to get the park built. These funding sources will also include grants and a SNAP loan which is a lending vehicle specifically created to help non-profit organizations. Because we have over 2500 children that play for our club we can move them into the park on day one and have substantial revenue to put toward debt service.

There will be NO PUBLIC MONEY USED FOR THE FINANCING OF THIS PARK. WUFC has taken on the burden of building this park so local tax payers do not have to.

Will adults use the park and will there be alcohol served at the park?

SouthLake Park will only serve children and for special events families. We will NOT be hosting late night adult leagues or games. The park will have a concession stand but it will NOT SERVE ALCOHOL and there will be no restaurant or cafe. There is no hooded grill or fryer on premises. There are no waitresses or seating specifically for meal service. Nobody will be coming to the park specifically for meals. We will be providing healthy snacks and drinks for children and coffee for parents.

What about large crowds and the permanent seating?

There is no permanent seating at the park. Parents bring their own folding chairs. During games there will be between 75 and 125 people on a field, including players and coaches. There will not be any large crowds attending youth sports activities.

2018 Update

WUFC Sports Park Update

The board and staff of Willamette United would like to update our membership concerning the proposed fields at SouthLake Park. It has been a long and expensive process as we work to create our proposed sports park. While the process is moving slowly, it is absolutely moving forward. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we work to open this desperately needed facility. 

Progress Report

In the last 18 months:

• We applied for a similar use decision for “sports fields” from Clackamas County. Before 2017 it was unclear if sports fields were considered an acceptable use for a conditional use permit. We asked for clarification about sports fields being an acceptable recreational use under parks within a conditional use permit application. This decision is NOT about any specific piece of land but for a county code clarification. Thanks to a positive decision, we can now apply for a conditional use permit to put sports fields in Clackamas County.

• We have done all of the studies, drawings and surveys needed to apply for a conditional use permit. This includes but is not limited to environmental, hydrological, traffic and soil testing. We also have a full set of 90 percent schematic design drawings for the entire park. This process took over 12 months and cost over $300,000. This work was paid for with the funds we raised from our four club auctions and profits from the Mt. Hood Challenge.

• We have identified the large pieces needed to pay for the $14.1 million park. The club will use a SNAP loan (a special loan for non-profit organizations), a large private investment, grants, existing revenue and new streams of revenue created by building the park. We will need to raise $1 million from donations and sponsorships in the coming months to complete the financing package.

• We have 17 verbal commitments from local youth sports organizations to rent field time at the park. These verbal commitments represent 65% of the available field time at the perk.

We are now waiting on one last task before we can apply for a conditional use permit. SouthLake Church and the National Foursquare denomination are working together to finalize an LLC which will own the land and lease it to Willamette United. Once we have the final land owner corporation in place we will apply for the CUP.

It takes approximately 90 days for a conditional use permit decision. If we get a positive decision we can break ground in 2019 and open the park in 2020.

As we move forward there are a number of steps we have to take before construction can begin. Many of these steps will be happening at the same time and this list is not in chronological order.

Next Steps:

• Once we get the land ownership structure from SouthLake Church and Foursquare we will apply for a conditional use permit from Clackamas County.

• Receive conditional use permit decision.

• Apply for the SNAP loan from our partner bank.

• Have our design firm complete all necessary drawings and plans in an effort to secure construction permits.

• Begin our capital campaign in an effort to raise the needed funds to complete the financing package.

• Close sponsorships

 

Traffic Plan

Last week several members of the SouthLake Park Project met with the Stafford Hamlet and the Lower Tualatin Valley Community Planning Organization. It is important to everyone involved with the park project that we get input from the community. We have met with local cities, the county, local youth sports groups and other organizations looking for input and to hear potential concerns.

The one item that keeps popping up is the concern about traffic. Our group is working with the county to make sure that we meet all requirements concerning traffic on Borland Road in front of the proposed park. WUFC has hired the services of Kittleson & Associates, which is one of the best if not the best traffic consultant in the state. We are studying the area and creating a plan that will meet county requirements and hopefully IMPROVE the traffic situation in and around the park. We will spend almost $50,000 on traffic planning alone. It is important to the park's success and the well being of our children that we make sure the traffic situation is set up for success.

We do not have all of the answers yet and we will not have them until our preliminary work with the county and all of the studies are complete. All we can do at this time is communicate that this concern is a priority for our group and we are spending the proper amount of time and money needed to make sure that our ultimate solution is one that serves the park and community.

Once we have the final plan in place we will make sure that everyone in the community knows what we will be doing concerning traffic near the park.

Building SouthLake Park - Working Through The Process

Make no mistake. Building SouthLake Park is a tremendous undertaking. If we are going to succeed in getting this facility built it will take the effort, hard work and expertise of everyone in our community. While the Board at Willamette United is optimistic about the project, we want to stress that this is far from a "done deal". We are working through a detailed process that will give us the best chance of success.

We are currently working with Clackamas County on the conditional use permit process. We have an experienced team of consultants helping us work with the team at Clackamas County in order to make sure we are approaching the park's creation in a way that is safe and respectful of the neighborhood, community and environment.

We are meeting with local groups like the Stafford Hamlet and the Stafford-Tualatin Valley CPO to get valuable input as we proceed. We are also asking local youth sports groups to give us their feedback and input as we finalize designs for the park. The park will be home to soccer, American football, lacrosse, basketball, baseball and softball. We want to stress that this park is NOT a soccer-only facility. All local youth sports organizations are welcome to be a part of this project and use the park when it is complete.

As we work through the conditional use permit process we are also working on financing, fund raising and sponsors. The park will cost between $10 and $12 million to complete so we have our work cut out for us. 

Make sure to check this blog regularly to get updates and to learn about ways you can help get SouthLake Park built!