lentspark.blogspot.com June 2, 2009
With pictures of Victor Ponce Jr. in his Little League uniform on the mantle, the last thing you'd expect to find in the Juergens-Ponce home on Southeast 92nd Avenue are opponents of bringing pro baseball to Lents.
But turn around from the photographs in their living room, and look out the huge window facing west, and you'll see why Beavers owner Merritt Paulson's dream is the Ponce family's nightmare.
"I can't imagine how our house can remain at all livable, or sellable on the residential market, with a professional baseball stadium just a few feet away," said Kathleen Juergens de Ponce. "With homes this close, there is just no mitigation of the livability impacts."
The Ponces moved to Lents in 2005, shortly after getting married, with plans on raising a family in the southeast Portland neighborhood. Moving from a small apartment in Northeast Portland, the family was particularly enamored by the view of the park across the street.
Their first child together, Tenoch, was born in early 2008. Juergens de Ponce is eight months pregnant.
Sitting in her living room, Juergens de Ponce can read the numbers of players playing at Walker Stadium. Her husband found a stray baseball in their yard while mowing the lawn over the Memorial Day weekend.
But that park could become a baseball stadium under a proposal being pushed by the Beavers and City Commissioner Randy Leonard. That means 72 nights a year of stadium floodlights filling their living room, 72 nights of public address announcements and walk-up music for each batter, and who knows how many fireworks nights and other specials that draw large crowds into a residential area.
That's particularly bad for 48-year-old Victor Ponce-Juarez, Kathleen's husband and a welder with an irregular schedule — some shifts start at 4 a.m.
"I work with heavy equipment under hazardous conditions," Ponce-Juarez said. "Somebody could get killed on my job if I don't get enough sleep to function safely."
For 12-year-old Victor Ponce Jr., the proposed Triple-A park would detract from his little league experience.
"When I'm playing baseball in the park, I want to hear the cheers of my friends and family, not the roar of the loudspeakers from a big-league stadium," he said. "Kids use the park for soccer games, birthday parties, and just hanging out. A professional stadium will interfere with that."
The Ponces are available for interviews prior to Wednesday's 6 p.m. meeting of Friends of Lents Park. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information on interviewing the Ponces.
Friends of Lents Park
This grassroots group of Lents area residents seeks to sustainably and collaboratively preserve and improve Lents Park and the Lents neighborhood for the enjoyment of future generations of Lents residents.
The park is a 38-acre green space in the heart of Lents. It features walking paths, playgrounds, baseball diamonds, soccer fields, basketball courts and a community garden — all of which are teeming with activity most days of the week. It also has hundreds of old trees, many of which would be cut down for construction of a stadium.
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