Noble Woods Park
The 37-acre plot at 231st Avenue and Baseline represents one of the oldest and largest forested areas in Hillsboro. It is home to century-old cedars and firs, as well as abundant wildlife. And in 1991, it was in imminent danger of development.
The property that is now Noble Woods Park was at the center of a $6.5 million park bond that was narrowly defeated in the November 1991 election. Passage of the bond measure would have provided for the acquisition and development of at least five new parks as well as purchase of a multipurpose park site. Failure, however, meant the wooded property would likely be cleared for tract home development.
And while the measure failed at the ballot box, public outcry over the future of the property led to an unprecedented community fundraising campaign. The Hillsboro Community Foundation
requested the owners of the property - the Charles Noble family - postpone the sale of the land and give the community an opportunity to raise the money required for purchase. With a $1 million price tag, however, many thought it was an impossible feat.
The Nobles agreed to delay the sale of the property. They went further to offer the property at a $200,000 discount if it would be preserved as a public park. The City of Hillsboro contributed $400,000, leaving $400,000 in private funds to be raised. Money came from individuals, businesses and organizations in support of saving the Noble property. The Hillsboro Community Foundation launched its “553 Club” as a means for securing donations, with club members pledging $500 the first year, and $300 for each of the five years following. Businesses sponsored all kinds of promotions, from “Noble Burgers” appearing on the menu at Reedville Café, to a day's worth of sales totaling over $6,000 contributed by Midway Plant Farm. The largest single donation was a $50,000 contribution by Baker Rock Resources in memory of the company's founder, Gary A. Baker, and one of the smallest was a 50-cent gift by 7-year-old John Grillo whose only request was to “save my woods.”
Enough money was collected to enable the City of Hillsboro to purchase the Noble Woods property in October 1992 - almost one year after voters defeated the bond measure that would otherwise have protected the future of this valuable community asset. After years of additional fundraising, countless volunteer hours and many needed improvements, Noble Woods Park was dedicated in 1998 to the community that saved it.
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