As of Tuesday, February 20, 2018
DALLAS — Roger Jordan Community Park is one of three Oregon parks up for receiving new all-abilities playground equipment through the Moda Assist Program, a partnership between Moda Health and the Portland Trail Blazers.
For every assist during Trail Blazers games, a joint $10 donation from Moda and the Trail Blazers is made to the Trial Blazer Foundation to pay for the project at the end of the season.
Right now, Damian Lillard leads the team with an average of 6.6 assists. He and his teammates have accumulated 1,036 assists as of Feb. 6.
“Assists are basically the ultimate statistic for teamwork, because it’s based upon a player’s ability to pass the ball to another player helping them score,” said Michael Lewellen, president of communications for the Trail Blazers. “It’s a pass — a well-placed pass or well-played pass — that makes it easier to make a basket. Of all the stats we keep in basketball, it is the one statistic that is a teamwork stat, and that is one player’s ability to help another player.”
The Moda Assist Program helps make parks accessible, he said.
“The playground equipment is very user-friendly in terms of children of all ages and abilities,” Lewellen said. “Some playground equipment can be intimidating or difficult to navigate.”
The Moda Assist Program is just one of the community-outreach programs for both the Blazers and Moda, said Karis Stoudamire-Phillips, Moda corporate responsibility manager. In fact, when Moda and the Trail Blazers began their partnership, a key component was outreach to all of Oregon.
“The Blazers are not just Portland’s team; they’re Oregon’s team,” she said.
One example is “Three for Trees,” she said.
“We wanted one of those types of programs as well, but something that would be more meaningful for us and for them, and to get a player involved,” Stoudamire-Phillips said. “Not that planting trees isn’t wonderful, we wanted something that had more of a community reach.”
Inspired by a friend, Cody Goldberg, and his project to make Harpers Playground in Portland, Stoudamire-Phillips said she wanted to create all-abilities playgrounds around the state.
Building playgrounds goes hand in hand with the Blazers’ play program and with Moda Health’s focus on combating childhood obesity, Stoudamire-Phillips said. Children can learn a lot on a playground, including emotional stability, physical activity, learning to play and making friends.
“One thing that was really important to me is all kids being able to play,” she said.
Three cities were chosen based on different criteria. Dallas was picked because of the tremendous support seen during last summer’s RIP City Relay.
“We try and look to see which city really showed out and showed up at the city fair,” Stoudamire-Phillips said. “Dallas had the largest turnout, and the lines — people came. They were there early. They stayed until they rolled up the court. It was a tremendous turnout of people who were excited. It was the greatest enthusiasm, from the littlest of kids to the oldest of grandparents.”
Whoever garners the most votes will be presented with about $20,000 in April for all-access park equipment, Stoudamire-Phillips said.
Voting will begin Tuesday and end March 19. The other two parks up for the honor are David Park in Gresham and Baker Park in Redmond.
To vote: trailblazers.com/assists.