Kids run through inukai play space with entry doors and the rainbow-hued mural in the background.

A Green Play Space for Hillsboro Kids

This September, we planted the final seeds in the beautiful green playspace that opened this spring: a set of monkey bars to encourage kids to be more active in the space. As this project finally comes to a close, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on the long journey and community support that made this project possible and will give our youth and amazing space to exercise their bodies and imaginations for years to come.

It was a proud moment for the Inukai Family Boys & Girls Club community when revealing their new green play space collaboration with Depave at the grand opening at Inukai this spring. “I couldn’t possibly be more excited about this project, the impact it will have, and that we get to include our community and families in the process in the process! We at Inukai have been trying to get something done with that space for years now, and it means the world to me that Depave stepped in to make it happen! This project is critically needed to give our youth a safe, accessible, place to play in nature, something that has limited access at our Club and surrounding neighborhood.” said Rachel Schutz, who started the project as the Inukai Family Club Site Director, and is now Vice President of Club Services.   

Depave’s mission is to transform over-paved places into green spaces in order to reconnect urban landscapes with nature and combat the effects of climate change through community collaborationThey came in at a vital moment to help us transform an old parking lot — once home to a pair of dumpsters and flooding during heavy rain — into a beautiful play area which our kids and families love. It was truly touching to see how our community came together to make this project possible.

Depave Work Party 2018, group ripping up pavement at Inukai Club

Inukai Family Club members and staff helped design this greenspace during a collaborative ideation process with DepaveProject designers came up with several concepts and youth contributed ideas to the project, including fruit trees, a stage and a rain garden. Members also worked with local artist, Arturo Villaseñor, to create a mural that proudly displays flags from every country in the world, shows multiple languages spoken in the Club, and has a bright rainbow blasting through the design that features symbols of peace and freedom throughout. It was important to youth to express that wherever you come from, you are welcome here.

Through thoughtful donations of materials and our dedicated volunteers, building a stage was possible and has hosted many a performance by youth. Families loved being able to use the space for our end-of-year graduation ceremony for 6th graders, showcasing their transition from our youth programs to our teen room for the summer. 

This has been an amazing transformation. Where it was once too hot to be on the pavement for long in the summer, with an increased chance of scraped knees from the asphalt, we now have a peaceful green space for connection with creativity and play. It is such a delight to see this space lit up with music and the joyful sounds of kids having fun!

Volunteers pose at the Depave planting party as we finished up our Inukai playground.

Projects like these are a community effort, and without our community this project would not have been possible. We have so much gratitude for the organizations and individuals who stepped up to help make this project a reality. Thanks to: Baker Rock, Clean Water Services, GreenWorks PC, EcoTech LLC, Hillsboro Arts & Culture Council, Hillsboro Grocery Outlet, Hillsboro Water Department, Kiwanis Club, Mutual Materials, New Village Masonry and Construction, Parr Lumber, R&H Construction, ReBuilding Center, Reser’s Fine Foods, Inc., Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District, Tuality Healthcare Foundation, and Urban Forest Pro. 

If you’re interested in helping out the Clubs, there are plenty of ways to get involved. To help with more projects like this one, check out our volunteer page! To make more projects like this possible, consider making a gift. Or, if you have a specialized donation that might help improve our Clubs, such as cedar bark chips, gardening supplies, new paint, or more, please fill out our contact form and let us know!