Windows on Woodland: Woodland’s future YMCA.

A fine mist of water from a fire truck fell over the cheering crowd outside the Lakeside Motel on May 23 as the old lodging landmark became a pile of rubble. Woodlanders weren’t gathered there to say goodbye to the old motel, but rather to say hello to Woodland’s future YMCA.

When Woodland voters turned down the levy to fund a swimming pool last November, it was one more setback in a decades-long dream. But even though Woodland won’t have a pool in the near future, the Woodland Community Swimming Pool Committee, headed by Benne Dobbe, did not give up on the hope of offering more recreation to Woodlanders. The committee contacted those who had pledged funds for the pool to see if they would be willing to have those funds used instead to build a YMCA facility without a pool. They overwhelmingly offered their support.

Property owners won’t be taxed for the facility; it will be totally funded by grants, foundations, gifts in kind and philanthropy, and will be operated by the YMCA of Columbia-Willamette.

The pool committee had already purchased the Lakeside Motel for the pool site because of its location by Horseshoe Lake Park and I-5. Robertson and Olsen plan to start construction of the YMCA on this site in 2020. At some time in the future, if enough funds are raised or if voters agree to finance a pool, Benno and Klazina Dobbe will donate their land adjoining the YMCA for the pool.

To celebrate the beginning of this project, Woodlanders gathered outside the Lakeside Motel for an evening picnic and a demolition ceremony. American Family Diner served ribs and hot dogs. Speakers welcoming the YMCA to Woodland were Benne Dobbe; Mayor Will Finn; Darlene Johnson, Chamber of Commerce Treasurer; Bob Hall, President and CEO of YMCA of Columbia-Willamette; Michael Green, Superintendent of Schools; and Ed Orcutt, State Representative, 20th Legislative District, Position 2,

Woodland’s West Coast Training, a company that provides training in the operation of heavy equipment, donated both equipment and labor for the excavation and demolition. The project got off to an exciting start when children ages six to 12 were given the opportunity to don an orange vest and hop aboard an excavator to help a trained operator deliver the first blows to the old motel. While curtains still hung in the windows, a ravenous excavator took huge bites, first out of the motel’s roof and then the out of the concrete-block walls.

Next, a wheel loader scooped up debris, causing laughter when the first scoop contained an old easy chair that had seen better days.

The remaining buildings are scheduled to be demolished June 15 during Planters Day weekend with the help of supporters who donated money for the right to destroy a room. Once again, the mist from one of Woodland’s fire trucks will rain down on the motel to keep the dust and debris down, and a few sprinkles might land on the spectators as a reminder that Woodland is on its way to having a YMCA.

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