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Tualatin track looking to continue last year’s success

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With the track and field regular season winding down, Tualatin Head Coach Hashim Hall said he’s pleased with where both his teams are heading into districts and states. 

Last year, the girls team won the state title, and the boys finished 11th in the state meet out of 39 teams competing. 

One thing Hall wants is for the younger or less experienced athletes is to look to their teammates, which he thinks can help propel them forward.

“Kids are focused inward. We as a staff have to point out what some other kids are doing,” he said. “Look how hard they’re working. Look how they approach their workouts. Look how the conversation is between events. Look how they warmup and prepare. Then they state noticing.”

Lucky for Hall, he has a bunch of athletes on the team he wants to be examples for their younger teamers, such as senior Lauren Ayers, who won the state title in the 3000 meter last year, and finished second in the 1500 meter and second as part of the 4×400 relay team. 

“She is our leader,” Hall said. “She’s hardworking and super talented, kind, and a great teammate.”

Another senior Hall shouted out was Ethan Grimm, who finished third at the state meet last year in the javelin with a throw of 174-feet, 11.5-inches He has surpassed that distance at every event this spring, and on April 3, he set a school record in the event with a throw of 193-feet, 6-inches at a dual meet in Oregon City. 

He beat his own record nearly a week later with a throw of 196-feet, 8-inches in a dual meet against Lakeridge. It’s listed as the longest throw by any high school athlete in the state and one of the top 15 throws nationally this season, according to AthleticNET, an online database that keeps track and field results. 

Hall said Ayers and Grimm are two Timberwolves the coaches try to point out to the younger athletes. 

“Of course, they know that Lauren is special and they know Ethan is special,” he said. “I like to think that from the surface level they are seeking out that, but if they don’t, we try to push them into that direction.”

One welcome sight for Hall and the rest of the team at their April 23 meet against Tigard was the return of Elizabeth Graham. The senior had been dealing with a hip issue, Hall said, and the Tigard meet was the first time she was able to participate in all her events this season. 

“They were not (personal records) for her because she’s just coming back but it’s important to have her because of how important she is for the states,” Hall said. “Our states are better when she’s a part of it.”

Last year at the state meet, Graham finished second in the long jump and fourth in the triple jump. This year, she competes in those events and on the 4×100 relay team. 

Another member of that relay team is senior Kyra Bakke, who Hall said he’s counting on if the girls are to repeat as state champs. Last year, Bakke finished third in the state in the high jump. She also competes for the Timberwolves in long jump and triple jump. 

Senior Alyssa Aune finished sixth in the state meet last year in the discus with a throw of 113-feet, 3.5-inches. Her best throw this season so far was 129-feet, 1-inch, which is the fifth-best in the state this season. 

On the boys side, Hall said junior Vincent Sadighi is having an impressive season. 

“He was a 100, 200 guy and now he’s running pretty good at the 400,” Hall said. “Because of that, we have two relays that have talent. The four-by-four has shown more of that this year.”

Hall said freshman Cole Hachmeister has earned a lot of opportunities in his first year with varsity. 

“He’s very important to our 4×100,” Hall said. “He might even be on the 4×400 because he’s been working so hard. He’s the fastest freshman we’ve had at our school.”

On the field event side of things, Hall said senior Tyler Craft will be key to the team in the state meet. Last year, Craft finished third in state in the triple jump. 

Hall also praised senior Cameron LaGrow, who had his season-best discus throw of 111-feet, 10-inches last year at the district meet. He has surpassed that distance by at least 10 feet in every meet this season, which his personal best throw of 146-feet, 10-inches coming earlier this season.

Boys, girls lacrosse teams looking to youth for success

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The Tualatin boys and girls lacrosse teams are both in the midst of youth movements.  

Both the boys and girls have found themselves working in newer, younger players this year partly due to graduation and partly due to injuries to more established players. 

The Timberwolves on both sides have had varying success through the first half or so of their seasons. 

Here’s a look at how the boys and girls are doing heading into the homestretch before the playoffs:

Boys Team

Just four of the players for Tualatin’s boys lacrosse team are seniors. Yet, the Timberwolves sat at 5-5 through their first 10 games as of our press deadline. That already surpasses last season’s win total, when Tualatin won two games. 

“They’re working really hard,” said Tualatin Jon Stevens, who is in his first year leading the program. 

“We’ve got great senior leaders and some other captains. What we’re finding a lot of fun is the camaraderie is building. That’s the secret ingredient. When we get that, then you can accomplish some great things.”

Stevens is a former assistant coach at West Linn for more than a decade and used to own Big Foot Lacrosse, a lacrosse store in Tualatin that was purchased and turned into Lacrosse Northwest. He said that defense has been the strongpoint for his team so far this year, led by goalie Nick Buelna and Kevin Jiricek. 

 On offense, Trent McMillin and Caden Knips are the two highest goal scorers for Tualatin. McMillin is responsible for nearly half of Tualatin’s goals this year with 23. The Timberwolves have 54 as a team. Knips is next with nine goals. Knips also leads the team with four assists; no other player has more than one.

“Those are the guys we’re really relying on offensively,” Stevens said. 

Stevens also said the team has received contributions from freshmen Luke Patzke, Cash Forcier, and Nick Clary. 

“We’re relying on young guys that should be playing JV, but we don’t have a JV team and everyone has been forced to step up and contribute,” he said. “They’re doing it.”

Girls Team

Tualatin girls lacrosse Head Coach Lois Ray said her team is also following the lead of some of the more experienced players. 

“We’ve had a couple of players who worked really hard this summer and have really pushed their teammates,” she said. “It has been awesome to see.”

One such player is junior Rose Frezza, who is tied with a team-high 13 goals as of our press deadline. 

“She has led our draw team and is setting her attackers up and is looking to score herself,” Ray said. “On the defensive end, she’s causing turnovers.”

Frezza is second on the team with 19 points, trailing only junior Addison Deibele, who has 13 goals and seven assists for 20 points overall. Senior Jillian Mangum has 11 goals. 

Ray said she has appreciated the high level of energy her team’s defense has shown so far this year. She also has been happy to see how involved the whole team has been on the offensive end. Four players have at least three assists on the season.

“Our team is really good at assisting each other and looking to set each other up for success and getting goals,” she said.

Ray said senior Grace Love and Mangum have done a great job in helping the team transition from defense to offense. 

Freshman Mahaela Horsford has made an immediate impact on defense. 

“She does really well at taking the coaching and applying it right away and locking in on the other team’s top attackers,” Ray said. 

Another player bringing the energy this year has been freshman Ava Wilson, who primarily comes off the bench for Tualatin.

“Hers scrappiness and drive to goal has been awesome to see,” Ray said. “In her moments, she goes 100 percent.”

Like the boys team, the girls team has shown great camaraderie this year. After each game, Ray collects nominations for the player who best excelled in their particular role that game. She then has the team vote on the winner, and that player gets to take home the Wolfie trophy until the next game. 

Bell Bottoms & Backbeats: Northwest Senior Theatre’s Groovy Musical Extravaganza

Calling all flower power enthusiasts and disco devotees! Get ready to groove and giggle at Northwest Senior Theatre’s latest production, “The Times of Your Life,” a high-energy celebration of the iconic music and comedic trends of the 1960s and 1970s.

This unique show isn’t your standard musical. “The Times of Your Life” seamlessly blends crowd-pleasing hits from the era with hilarious comedy skits, creating a fast-paced and entertaining experience. 

Audiences can expect to hear beloved classics by artists like Elvis Presley, The Supremes, The Beatles, The Mamas & the Papas and Simon & Garfunkel. The show’s musical director, Mak Kastelic, has cleverly interwoven these hits into the fabric of the play, creating a nostalgic tapestry that will have toes tapping and hearts soaring. 

“It’s going to be a lot of fun for all ages,” said Areanne Lloyd, president of the group. It will bring back memories for many older folks and introduce younger audience members to that magical time in music history.”

Directed by the ever-enthusiastic Lennon Smith, the production promises a delightful journey through life’s ups and downs, all set against the backdrop of a bygone era. The talented cast of seasoned performers will bring the timeless themes of love, loss, and the enduring power of friendship to life with their seasoned acting chops and surprising vocal talents.

“We’re starting with [Chubby Checker’s] ‘The Twist,’ and we’re coming out with walkers,” Lloyd said, sort of a self-pun, since all the members are 55 or older.

Skits and jokes will be interspersed between music numbers in the 90-minute musical variety show that will include such vintage songs as “Cathy’s Clown,” “I’m a Believer,” “My Boyfriend’s Back,” “Proud Mary,” “These Boots are Made for Walking,” and many more, Lloyd said.

“We will have a keyboard, bass and drums combo on stage, some choreography staging, some duets and quartets and all the permutations of musical variety,” she said.

“The Times of Your Life” promises an afternoon of laughter, reflection, and, of course, great music. Whether you’re a longtime fan or simply looking for a unique and entertaining afternoon, this production is sure to lift your spirits.

Everyone is welcome at the upcoming event at Rise Church, which has plenty of free parking and is wheelchair and walker accessible. For more information, call 503-251-4332 or email nwseniortheatre@gmail.com.

So, dust off your platform shoes and bell bottoms, and get ready for a night of laughter, music, and pure theatrical magic —don’t miss your chance to see this delightful show!

About Northwest Senior Theater

The Northwest Senior Theater ( NST) is a group of experienced (55 and older) performers, comprised of retired performers – professional and non-pro – not yet ready to put our voices and bodies out to pasture. We are singers, dancers, actors, musicians and production folks who love to perform. We still love the challenge of building a character, stretching our limbs and strengthening our voices. The ultimate joy is the delight we see in our audiences.

NST Could Use Your Help!

Every show needs lobby assistance handling tickets and ushering. We also need volunteers to help backstage with props and wardrobe.

If you would like to help and participate in the bustle of performance days, please leave a message at 503-251-4332 or email us at nwseniortheatre@gmail.com.

The Times of Your Life

When: 2:00 p.m., May 15, 16, 17 and 18
Where: The Stage at Rise Church
10445 SW Canterbury Lane in Tigard
Tickets: $10, Purchase online at www.nwseniortheatre.org. Tickets will also be available at the door.


Tualatin’s Volunteers: Celebrating Growth, Learning and Connection

In recognition of April as National Volunteer Appreciation month, Tualatin celebrates the groups, families and individuals who strengthened the bonds of our community through service. Thanks to these special individuals, our community is greener, cleaner and more vibrantly connected to each other.

800 volunteers gave 17,000 hours of their time to a variety of City programs. Volunteers planted over 4,000 trees and got tough on trash in the Hug a Street program. Volunteers shelved books, Spruced up the Library, and volunteered as Homework Helpers to give an extra hour of educational support to students at Bridgeport Elementary.  

The Tualatin Arts Advisory Committee and Veteran’s Plaza Service Inspired Art Committee worked collaboratively to develop the vision for the Veteran’s Memorial Plaza at Commons Lake Park. This project honors our veterans, and revitalizes the east side of Commons Lake with a fountain, new landscaping and three art installations.

Do It Yourself volunteers scheduled their time to remove invasive plants and litter from our restoration sites and trails and over 100 summer youth volunteers came out for Library Summer Teen and TEAM Tualatin. Join us in celebrating and appreciating the volunteers in Tualatin who generously contribute their time to keep Tualatin growing, learning and connected.

For More information on Tualatin volunteer opportunities, visit www.tualatinoregon.gov/volunteer

Goodbye Employee Market, Hello Employers Market

I’ve been at this staffing thing a little while, and I’ve seen trends over the last 24 years that show that the only thing predictable about the jobs and employment market is that it is wholly unpredictable.  

When the real estate market crashed in 2008, sparking the ‘great recession’ of 2008/2009, it seemed like it would never come back. But as we’ve seen, it’s not only come back but surpassed all expectations. Housing prices in our area have nearly tripled since then and, despite currently higher interest rates, remain extremely solid.  

In the last 5+ years, we’ve experienced an employee’s market to a degree I’ve never seen. Employers were so hard-pressed to find help that they offered signing bonuses, much higher wages, and lowered expectations of new hires. The employee was completely in the driver’s seat.

Last year was sluggish. Inflation was soaring, and mortgage interest rates tripled in a year’s time.  Businesses withdrew into a defensive posture, not forging ahead with growth, but tapering off hiring and expansion plans.  I had several articles last year referring to this, mentioning how often we heard clients saying, “We’re going to hold off for now,” even in the normally busy summer months.

This year seemed to be off to a good start, shaking off last year’s slowdown and hitting the new year with optimism and back to normalcy.  However, there seems to be another round of slowing hitting the job market in the last 30-60 days.  We’ve read about huge names like Nike, Columbia Sportswear, Intel and many others laying off employees by the thousands.  

In the local job market, people seeking jobs are noticing it’s a much more competitive atmosphere in landing a job than in the previous few years.  Companies are slower to hire, not accepting the first available candidates, but being far more selective.  They aren’t bumping the pay either.  

In the staffing business, it’s become clear that many clients are a bit slow, approaching their hiring with greater caution than in years past, hiring less, and many opting to find talent on their own versus using agencies as there are more candidates looking in the job pool than before.  

Cycles come and go. Throughout time, this has always been the case.  They seem to hit us with fury; people (and the news) often overreact, but ultimately, cooler heads seem to prevail. Markets correct.  Investor and consumer confidence ebbs and flows, but ultimately, normalcy has a way of always coming back.  

People looking for a job need to reposition their mentality and attitude to address this change in this softer job market.  The current conditions are sluggish, but by no means dead.  This would be a good time to land a job with a great company, even if the wage is lower than you might be thinking.  

Become invaluable, and your wages will catch up.  This simple advice sounds old school, but it’s just borrowed from the lessons of previous downturns.  

Tigard-Tualatin Schools cutting $8.8 million, reducing staff for 24-25

Tigard-Tualatin staff are facing another round of layoffs, with the district forecasting $8.8 million in budget cuts for the coming school year.

The district will return next fall with 45 fewer teachers. Though most of the shrinkage will come through attrition by letting positions fall away rather than filling them as staff retire or resign, about seven teachers will get pink slips.

“This is a very difficult conversation to have,” Superintendent Dr. Sue Rieke-Smith said. “This is year two of two years of (staff) reductions, and our challenges continue.”

During an April 8 meeting, school board members voted 4-1 to approve the cuts after hearing from Reiki-Smith and chief financial officer David Moore on district funding and spending.

“There are certainly things that we want to ideologically vote against because we just don’t like it and it doesn’t feel right because it’s not fair,” said school board chair Tristan Irvin. “We know that these are necessary decisions and pieces that we have to make to continue moving forward and supporting our students.”

Staffing reductions will account for $7.4 million, about 84 percent of the cuts, with the remaining $1.8 million coming from slimmed-down offerings.

“These are reductions in scope but not an elimination of programming; I want to be clear about that,” Reiki-Smith said, meaning while some services may shrink, nothing will disappear.

Class sizes will not increase, continuing to hit district student-teacher ratio targets.

TTSD, which has been tapping its reserves to make ends meet, cites a cocktail of declining enrollment, insufficient state funding, the inflationary cost of staff salaries and benefits, and the rising cost of meeting higher student needs as the source of its money troubles.

Federal pandemic funding, which kept the reserves flush over the past two years, is set to sunset this fall, compounding the challenges.

Schools across the state are in similar straits, with some districts planning to close buildings. Portland Public Schools announced a $30 million spending reduction for the 2024-25 school year in February.

Salem-Keizer Public Schools announced a staggering $71 million in budget cuts for next year, with 400 jobs on the chopping block. Gervais School District announced it may shutter completely if an upcoming funding bond fails on the May ballot.

“This Trifecta of decreasing enrollment, COVID dollars going away, and increasing costs is hitting all districts hard this year,” school board member Jill Zurschmeide said. “This has nothing to do with mismanagement by our district or our administration. It has to do with the cold, hard reality of the education system in Oregon.”

Tigard-Tualatin student numbers are down by about 1100 from 2017. Next year’s incoming kindergarten class is projected at about 700, down from about 900 in pre-pandemic classes. Fewer students mean less state funding, regardless of individual student needs.

“Coming out of the pandemic, we maintained our staffing levels and even increased them with additional resources until the current year (when) we had a reduction,” Moore said.

Deficit spending is drawing down reserves in the general fund, which peaked at $34 million during the pandemic. Moore projects that number will be down to $17-19 million, about 10 percent of operating revenue, at the end of June.

“We’re spending at a deficit, but we have been (planning) the last couple of years and making adjustments,” he said, adding that the school board plans to put a funding bond on the November ballot.

Project: Independence! Tualatin Valley Lodge to host Rideshare Seminar

Discover the freedom of independent travel! Tualatin Valley Elks Lodge is hosting a community workshop on ride-sharing on Saturday, June 1, from 2 to 5 p.m. This is your chance to learn how to use Uber and Lyft, and gain the confidence to travel on your own terms. 

We hear it all too often that people are losing their sense of independence due to either not having access to a vehicle, having to ask family and friends for rides or having difficulties seeing at night. Mass transit or taxis are not available in the area. Or, you may be planning a trip somewhere, and a rental car is not worth the expense. 

We want to help!

Join us and learn more about using Uber and Lyft. The only requirement is a smartphone. We will provide instructions and assist in programming the apps on your phone. We will have people here who drive for Lyft and Uber to answer any questions you might have. We will find out what is required for someone to drive for Uber and Lyft and what the requirements are for their vehicle. We will share some safety guidelines for using Lyft and Uber and discuss how you pay, tip and rate your Ride Share experience. 

Tualatin Valley Elks Lodge is located at 8350 SW Warm Springs Street, Tualatin. If you have any questions, please contact the Elks Lodge at 503-691-1935. 

Wild Over Watercolor (WOW!) celebrates 15 years as leading visual arts group in Tualatin

WOW! is what they call it and for good reason. Not just a cute acronym, WOW! gives joy and encouragement to the people who meet, work, and grow together in this artist group, which meets twice monthly in Tualatin at the Tualatin Heritage Center. 

Who is WOW!? They are watercolor painters from every walk of life and are united in their love of the flow of paint on paper. They would tell you it’s an addiction!  Some of our members are new to getting the unruly medium under control. Others are award-winning artists gaining broader name recognition in the larger art community. Learning and innovation are hallmarks of this creative group. Experience level matters not as much as sharing knowledge about creating interesting compositions, mixing colors, and trying new techniques. 

What about seeing WOW! artwork? WOW! puts on an impressive annual group art show in August at the Enid Joy Mount Gallery in the Keizer Art Center, which, we’ve been told by those who follow art, rivals the collective accomplishments of any art group in Oregon.

Want to meet some WOW! people and get to know us better? WOW! will have a table at Jurgens Park on Saturday, June 1st, along with other City groups, to reach out to the community in an informal way. Visit the artists there who will be painting and answering your questions. In prior years, visitors to the WOW! table have commented, “I like art and want to do it, but can’t draw or paint.” 

We would reply: “You don’t need to be born with any special talent. To become an artist, you need curiosity, a desire to learn, and a willingness to try new skills and practice them.”  WOW! is open to new members who share a passion for painting.

If you want to learn more about what activities WOW! has going on and their meeting schedule, go to the WOW! website at www.wowiswatercolor.org. You will find information about the upcoming art show in Keizer and also learn about where to take classes to brush up on your skills or take yourself to the next level. Several of the members of WOW! are practicing art teachers in the community and have a great background as art educators. With their help, you can learn the basics of watercolor, as well as intermediate and advanced techniques. You can learn about specialized methods such as marbling and get private consultations and mentoring.

Visit WOW! on June 1st at Jurgens Park to speak with an artist about the group, or visit them online if you or someone you know is interested in the wild and wonderful world of watercolor.

Safety Town returns to Tualatin

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Tualatin Together is bringing Safety Town back to Tualatin this summer. Safety Town uses guest presentations from first responders, songs, dance, crafts, and hands-on experiences to teach rising kindergarten and 1st-grade students basic safe practices with fire, pedestrians, bikes, traffic, buses, water, poison, and emergency preparedness. Campers will get to ride their Kett cars through the camp’s scaled city to learn basics about traffic flow, helmet safety and pedestrian safety. Daily crafts and songs coincide with the lessons of the day to help every camper learn to be safe in their community. Camp will also include a field trip to New Season to teach young campers about bus safety.

Tualatin Together worked with local kindergarten teachers to create the curriculum to help students starting school in the fall transition to being young learners in a classroom. The curriculum is adapted from the National Safety Town Center to best serve the students in our community.

Tualatin Together Executive Director Cyndy Hillier commented, “The opportunity to collaborate with partners to bring this national program to our community for our youth is a dream come true. This could not be a better time in these young lives for us to come together to invest in safety as well as build healthy relationships with trusted adults such as first responders and teachers.”

Two Safety Town sessions will be offered:  July 15-19 and July 22-26

The sessions have identical content. Please register your child for just one session to ensure we have space for everyone interested in Safety Town. The camp runs daily from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Before—and after-camp care is not available for Safety Town. This camp is likely to fill up quickly, so early registration is recommended. 

Camp counselors and junior counselors are students from Tualatin High School and Hazelbrook Middle School. All student counselors go through an application and interview process before being hired. Once hired, student counselors will receive many hours of training as they prepare to teach their young campers. For many counselors, this will be their first job, and they will also benefit from the leadership training and experience that Safety Town will provide them. 


If you are interested in being a counselor, learn more on the Safety Town website: tualatintogether.org/event/safety-town.

Tualatin Prepares for Second Annual Pride Celebration

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On June 22, Tualatin will build on the success of last year’s inaugural Pride celebration with the 2nd annual Pride Stride. This year’s event is co-sponsored by the City of Tualatin and a community coalition of organizations dedicated to the promise that members of the LGBTQIA+ community – who include our friends, family, neighbors, and city staff – have a right to be seen, heard, valued, and celebrated. 

This year’s event has grown from a grassroots effort last year  of just a few community members to a community coalition including:

  • The City of Tualatin
  • Tualatin Together
  • Tigard-Tualatin School District
  • Tualatin Library
  • Tualatin Police Department
  • Many other community organizations

This year, all community members are invited to peacefully gather at 10 a.m. for welcoming remarks followed by a 1-mile, wheelchair-accessible walk around the city center. 

This event is free and open to the public. Safety for everyone involved is a top priority for Pride Stride Tualatin. We are working closely with first responders including, the Tualatin Police Department, Washington County Sheriff, Clackamas County Sheriff, and Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue to keep all participants safe. Peacekeeping and de-escalation measures will be woven into all aspects of the event.

Following the walk, participants can enjoy a community fair with food vendors, music, collaborative art activities, and more!  Join us in uplifting LGBTQIA+ voices, celebrating LGBTQIA+ culture, raising awareness of issues affecting the LGBTQIA+ community, and supporting LGBTQIA+ rights. I hope to see many in our community at the Commons on June 22 for this uplifting community demonstration of joy and togetherness.

If you would like to contribute to this event, you can do so through Tualatin Together, which has generously volunteered to serve as the fiscal agent.

For More information, please see tualatintogether.org/tualatin-pride-stride.

Tualatin Pride Stride 

Date: Saturday, June 22, 2023
Location: Tualatin Commons
Time: 10 a.m.-1 p.m.