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Ford Pond Community Park Project Taking Shape After Recieving $960,000 in Grants

5:16 PM · Mar 18, 2021

The Ford’s Pond Community Park project has been awarded three Oregon Parks and Recreation grants totaling over $960,000. The Friends of Ford’s Pond (501(c)(3) nonprofit) and the City of Sutherlin 6-year partnership has resulted in grants and donations totaling over $1.8 million for improvements at the park. The City of Sutherlin purchased the 202-acre property in 2015, after it was once a wheat field and then was converted to a log pond. The park consists of the 95-acre Ford’s Pond and the remaining 107 acres is now being developed as an open-space, community park. “The Friends provide pro bono grant writing for the city to fund park improvements. The Friends received a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners grant to restore the 50-acre oak savannah hillside and partnered with Sutherlin FFA students who propagated and planted 400 oak seedlings” Friends of Ford’s Pond Board President Jim Houseman said. “Volunteers provide trash pickup, mowed 3 miles of trails, and remove invasive, non-native vegetation like Himalayan blackberry, English hawthorn, and Scotch broom. We’re a small, grass roots nonprofit organization working in partnership with the city to improve the park.” The city will be able to complete the perimeter path and add restrooms, picnic shelters, and an inclusive, natural playground. Construction is expected to be completed in 2022. The playground components are not included in the grant funding. Specific sources for the components will be identified in the design phase. The Friends of Ford’s Pond will be kicking off a capital campaign this spring. Those wishing to make a donation can at: “We’ll only be able to build the playground based on the community’s support,” Houseman said. “So, the Friends have taken on the fundraising challenge. The city will be hiring a specialized contractor to design the inclusive natural playground that will exceed ADA standards. A child with a disability can play with another child who doesn’t have a disability. We plan to have playground components to allow everyone to play together. The park offers opportunities to be close to nature while you hike near an active beaver lodge and bald eagles soar overhead.” With over 196 species of birds, the Umpqua Valley Audubon Society offers birding events at the park and maintains an eBird list ( “It’s very dynamic for birding,” Houseman said. “People can visit the eBird website and see what observations people are posting. It’s one of the best places in the county for birding. That’s a very popular activity.” Construction is ongoing on $760,000 of improvements including: parking, sidewalks, utilities, signage, security lighting, benches, and paving the first half of the perimeter path. There will also be a place for a food truck to park. This work is scheduled to be completed in early summer 2021. The city has opened a temporary parking area off Hwy 138W, on the north side of the pond. The City of Sutherlin also submitted another grant application with the Oregon State Marine Board for a boat launch, boat dock , single vaulted toilet and gravel parking on the north side of the pond. “It would be for electric boats only, if successful that would be a great benefit along with the other things going on at Ford’s Pond. The Marine Board will make their selection in June. It would be a two-year process. “ Brian Elliot, Sutherlin’s Community Development Director said. “This is a fantastic project for Sutherlin, Douglas County and Oregon as a whole. Highway 138 is one of the gateways to the coast. We would not be there where we are today without the Friends of Ford Pond, their volunteers and their organization.”


It's looking beautiful out there!

Mar 19, 2021