The volunteer members of the Grandstands Committee have worked diligently to receive approval to restore, preserve, and finally maintain the Greenman Field Grandstands. Each has proven instrumental and indispensable throughout the process. It is due to these individuals that this iconic and historic landmark will be saved and preserved for future generations!
Meet the team behind the Grandstands:
Mayor Rick Hobart
Rick grew up in a small town in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and moved west in 1973, making Vernonia his forever home. Most of his work history was in the logging industry as a log truck driver! He retired six years ago but drives school bus part-time, which compliments his wife’s schedule as a local teacher, and they enjoy their summers and holidays together as well as singing in the church choir together. You may have seen him running his own horse and carriage business, but actually it is more of a hobby for him! In his spare time, he now sits as elected Mayor for Vernonia.
He is a member of the Save the Grandstands committee for several reasons: The Lions Club back in 1959 under the direction of his uncle, Dr Hobart actually built the Greenman field grandstands from lumber from the Oregon American Mill, so he is very passionate about their preservation. Following in his uncle’s footsteps, he is also active in our local Lions club and enjoys the many activities made possible to better serve our community. We may see many more good things from Rick, and are excited he is on our team to make the Grandstands renovations a reality!
Janice purchased a home in Vernonia with her husband, blended family and twin baby girls in 2014. They were looking to settle into a small town that they could call our own to make their forever home. They have worked tirelessly helping others and investing in several volunteer opportunities throughout the community. “Aside from the serene beauty of Vernonia, my biggest draw to this town is the community of tight knit people.” Janice’s passion to preserve and honor the past, present, and future unity of the town folk led her to dedicate many months with the members of the grandstands committee towards saving and restoring the historic grandstands. We are so happy to have her involvement!!!
Councilor J.R. Allen
J.R is a life-long Oregonian whose parents bought a small farm near Vernonia in 1979. He really enjoys the fishing, hunting, and mushroom picking these hills have to offer. He decided to stay and raise my family in Vernonia so his children could attain the values and culture that he enjoyed growing up in. J.R. now enjoys giving back to the community that he has lived in for nearly four decades, and has recently been elected to serve as a member of the City Council. When the Grandstands were slated for demo something deep down kicked in for J.R.
” The same old-growth lumber in the grandstands from 1959 remains as strong as the men who volunteered to build our beloved Grandstands. We have worked digilently, and now have the opportunity to save Vernonia’s Grandstands for the next generation!”
Stacey had joined the Grandstands Committee, bringing her business sense and tech savvy skills to the table, to assist the team in creating & writing the business plan needed, presenting before the city, and working to draft the media and marketing materials for the group. Her families’ ties to the community run deep, with the original Pelster family settling in Vernonia in the 1940’s, with Norbert Pelster having been the watchman at the Mill, among other jobs. Seeing an opportunity to raise their family in this close-knit and welcoming community, Stacey and her family moved to Vernonia in 2014 onto the original Pelster homestead. They are very happy to be part of such a vibrant town, and Stacey is happy to be able to add to it’s character by assisting in the Grandstands renovation project.
John has been a lifelong member of Vernonia for all of his 76 years. He joined the military service in 1959 so missed seeing the grandstands built. Throughout his life, he did watch many ball games there, and when his nephew played football there, he watched every game. Into the third generation, his grandson also played little guy football there. He was blessed with 2 awesome daughters, Lisa and Kelli. John enjoys taking his friends and family fishing at Hagg Lake, and now spends the majority of his time enjoying his family!
“I consider it a honor to be able to do what I can to help restore our historic grandstands.”
G.A. “Pat” Patrick
G.A. “Pat” Patrick 73 years old, Retired truck driver, Lifelong Oregonian. Married 51 years 2 grown daughters and two grandchildren. Pat has admired small town living since he was 7 years old, Vernonia in particular. During the heyday of the Oregon-American mill, his grandmother ran a hotel here in Vernonia, which is now called The Ride Inn. She sold out when the mill closed and retired. Among his favorite early childhood memories is coming here to spend a week or so with Grandma and swimming at Hawkins Park. Growing up in the big city of Portland, he always yearned for the quiet small town friendliness found here. So it’s no small wonder when it came time to retire, he found myself purchasing a small home up on OA hill. What impresses him the most about Vernonia is the way the people are so open and friendly and come together to help one another and serve the community.
“With my family history here, I feel a connection to Vernonia. I want to be a part of that community and I can think of no better way to do that than participating in serving the community with whatever talents I have. Couple that with my sense of history, preserving the grandstands at Greenman field is a natural for me.”
Michael Calhoun was born and raised in Vernonia Oregon, a graduate of Western Oregon University with a BA in Communication and post BA in Environmental Studies from University of Oregon. He’s an environmental activist involved with a number causes and organizations. Michael currently serves as Board Chair for the Upper Nehalem Watershed Council, Assistant Director for the Columbia Soil and Water Conservation District. As well has being a member of the Vernonia Public Works Committee and Columbia County Parks Committee.
Being an alumni from Vernonia and a historic preservation advocate, Michael was eager to join the Save the Grandstands Committee. He feels that this structure can be preserved for future generations to enjoy as an asset to the community with a variety of uses.