Stepping forward for bandstand

Decision to help fill maintenance gap for strapped city was as easy as a walk in the park

By Andrea Damewood, Columbian staff writer

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Walking through Esther Short Park from his downtown office to meetings gives Ron Frederiksen plenty of time to think.

Lately, it’s mostly been about how the bandstand, one of the historic park’s main features, was looking rather bedraggled.

“I thought: ‘Boy, that bandstand really needs some attention,’” Frederiksen said.

“I understand about city and budgets and all that,” he said, “so I thought, ‘Why don’t we just get organized and do this?’”

And at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Frederiksen, president of RSV Building Solutions, and about a dozen of his staff and sub-contractors descended on the structure.

They cleared all the leaves from the roof. They pressure-washed. They cleaned all the gutters and downspouts, along with the lights and pipes.

When they were done at 10:30, the bandstand — home to many a summer concert and mayoral address — looked worlds better.

“When we’re going through these tough times, why are we ignoring our surroundings?” Fredriksen asked, adding that he’s heard from nearly 30 other businesses that also want to organize projects. “We need to start taking pride in our city and doing some of this stuff.”

The effort dovetails with the city’s increased efforts to get volunteers in Vancouver parks, following budget cuts that have cut the number of maintenance staff.

“This is an excellent example of a corporate citizen working with the city to help keep Vancouver such a fantastic place,” City Manager Eric Holmes said last week.

The estimated value of the labor, plus equipment donated by Star Rentals, is probably in the $2,500 to $3,000 range, Frederiksen said.

“We’re just hoping to set the tone and get more of these kind of things going,” Frederiksen said. “It so lifts your spirits just to be out there and take action instead of complaining. It certainly did for all my people today.”

Andrea Damewood: 360-735-4542 or andrea.damewood@columbian.com or www.facebook.com/reporterdamewood or www.twitter.com/col_cityhall