Mission Statement

Our primary purpose shall be to work in a mutual relationship with the City of Sutherlin (City) to assist in the coordination of development and maintenance of the Ford’s Pond property for recreational benefit to the City; and to educate the public concerning the health benefits of outdoor recreation and to increase environmental awareness.

All improvements at Ford’s Pond Community Park are made possible through our fundraising efforts.

Our volunteers keep Ford’s Pond Community Park clean, safe, and accessible, while improving the habitat for wildlife.

Join our Monday Walkers to meet new friends while getting some exercise. Dogs on leash are welcome.

Our History

February 24, 2014-the City of Sutherlin considers purchasing Ford’s Pond for future municipal use; Sutherlin resident Beth Houseman suggests City Council could concurrently create a park.

April 29, 2014-The Friends of Ford’s Pond is incorporated by residents Beth and Jim Houseman, Heather and Josh Waechter, and Betty and Dale Roberson.

August 14, 2014-the city purchases the Ford’s Pond property and allows public access.

September 4, 2014-The founding Board of Directors meet: Jim Houseman (President), Wendi Stinnett (Treasurer), Beth Houseman (Secretary), Josh Waechter, Janel Sorenson, Colin Murphy, and Michelle Harding-Olson. We successfully convince the city to store Class A wastewater in Ford’s Pond to allow for recreational use.

March 9, 2015-City Resolution 2015.01: Designates the Ford’s Pond property as a park and the Friends of Ford’s Pond as a city partner in creating recreational opportunities.

The Friends assist the city with a $40,000 grant award from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, along with matching funds from local businesses, individuals, and The Ford Family Foundation for a park master plan.

Cameron McCarthy, a Landscape and Architecture and Planning firm, is hired to develop the Ford’s Pond Community Park Master Plan. City Council adopts the final plan on December 11, 2017.

Friends maintain a perimeter path (1.75 miles) around Ford’s Pond and a hillside loop (1-mile) and collect/remove trash.  

Grindings from the Central Avenue resurfacing project are placed at Church Rd. for future use. The city allows parking in July and park usage surges.

The city completes an Urban Growth Boundary Swap removing all, except 5 acres, of the property from city limits.

The Friends begin fundraising for park improvements. The Friends host the first event at Ford’s Pond with Blue Zones Project – Umpqua in July 2018. A weekly Monday Walkers group begins meeting in October 2018 (ongoing).

In 2019, the Friends are awarded a $25,000 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners grant to restore the oak savanna habitat on the west hillside. Working with Sutherlin HS, FFA students harvest acorns and begin growing the saplings at the school greenhouse. The Friends clear brush on the hillside.

With assistance from the Friends, the city is awarded two grants: 2018 Recreational Trails Program and 2019 Local Government Grant Program. With additional donations, including a $50,000 donation from the Sutherlin Area Chamber of Commerce (transient room tax proceeds) and 2018 and 2019 C. Giles Hunt Charitable Trust grants, over $700,000 is available for improvements. The Dyer Partnership Engineers and Planners, Inc., with David Dougherty, L.A., is contracted for the design/project management, with the ADA-accessible parking area, connection path, and a portion of the perimeter path, along with site prep, utilities, and furnishings scheduled for bid/construction in Summer 2020.

The Friends sign a 5-year Master Agreement with the city continuing the partnership and outline fundraising goals for 2020.

During the COVID-19 home isolation, the Friends continue fundraising/grant writing and are awarded a $25,000 grant from The Ford Family Foundation and a $5,000 grant from the Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation for the perimeter path.

Board of Directors

Jim Houseman

President

Geoffrey Faraghan

Treasurer

Beth Houseman

Secretary

Brian Menefee

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Larry Whitaker

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