Soccer club raises concerns as Oregon Village Board OKs $3 million borrow for Jaycee Park project

Oregon’s Village Board approved borrowing $3 million for a new sports complex at Jaycee Park West once a $500,000 fundraising goal has been met, following a vote Monday at its joint meeting with the Park Board.

The motion only had one dissenter, but the project as a whole has drawn criticism from the area soccer organization, Oregon Soccer Club, for its lack of soccer fields. The latest version of the plan shows only two multipurpose fields, intended to be shared among rugby, lacrosse, football, ultimate Frisbee and soccer teams.

Jaycee Park in Oregon has 9 soccer fields now, but under a new plan the village is working on, there will be 0. Oregon Soccer Club said they are at max capacity now (900 kids play here), but if they lose all fields, they don’t know what the future of the club will be. #News3Now pic.twitter.com/DBwDIfiYsI

— Amy Reid (@amyreidreports) October 7, 2019

Eric Anderson, the president of the Oregon Soccer Club, said the nine fields at Jaycee Park West are already full with the club’s current number of players – at his last count, nearly 900. Losing those fields and having to split time with many other sports puts the organization’s future into question.

“There is no definitive plan in place now for a future home for this club that’s been part of the community since 1978,” Anderson said. “And it’s grown by leaps and bounds and provides a great service for kids growing up.”

Previous versions of the plan had more fields for the club’s use, though they still cut the number of available fields to four year round. Anderson sent a letter to the board on behalf of the organization that outlined the lack of fields or plan for coordination among sports, but he said after that, the village board cut soccer out of the plans.

“We went back to the village, and we said, ‘What’s going on with the soccer fields?'” Anderson said. “And they said, ‘Well we took it from your letter that you no longer wanted to participate.'”

Anderson said that wasn’t his intention, and now he hopes the board will put the project on hold until the club can find a place to go, a hope he and other club members will keep until ground is broken on the new complex.

“We would feel the same way if this plan was all soccer fields and baseball and softball had nowhere to go,” he said. “We’d say, ‘Now hold it. Wait a minute. Where are they going?'”

Other clubs have not reserved their support for the project despite the soccer club’s concerns. At the meeting Monday, the president of the area softball organization thanked the board for the project and offered to help raise as much money toward the project as her organization could.

The plans for the complex include five baseball and softball diamonds, an upgrade from the two there now. The outfields are used as additional soccer fields, crucial during the Fall Fury, Oregon Soccer Club’s annual tournament and main fundraiser.

Under the new plan, Anderson said the club won’t be able to host the tournament as it has for the past 30 years, bringing in 135 teams from around the region. He said the event brings in money to cover scholarships for families that may not be able to afford to play otherwise, and he isn’t sure of the future of those funds.

“We really do believe in trying to have everybody win,” he said. “We don’t want there to be a winner and a loser. We want everyone to win, and we think that there are ways that that can be done.”

Members of the board repeatedly declined to comment on this subject. In its meeting one member said the board hopes to build more parks that could hold fields for soccer in the future.

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