Ryan, a friend of my son Jack, was over for dinner the other night and mentioned that a few days prior he and his dad had gone to Wilson High School to play tennis, but that they could not use the courts due to a sinkhole. Absurdly, this is the idea that immediately came to my mind:
I decided to go see the sinkhole for myself, and because it was a stunningly gorgeous evening, Garry accompanied me. When we got to the tennis courts we were met with this,and this:We looked through the fence again and again, but could not see a sinkhole anywhere.Then on the far side of the courts Garry spotted an orange cone,and we went to investigate.There we found it. The sinkhole:Actually there were two:Our search for the sinkholes was over. But I wondered if a few orange cones could be placed around the sinkholes to warn players away? Or could they be filled up with a few shovelfuls of gravel? Could the small sinkholes grow and endanger nearby people? Could a player reaching into the sinkhole to retrieve a lost tennis ball be bitten by a startled rat?
I should not make light of these sinkholes, because I am sure the issue is much more complex and dangerous than it looks, and undoubtedly there would be major liability issues if someone did get hurt. But what a beautiful evening it would have been for neighbors to be out getting some exercise with a game of tennis. Portland summers are short, and I hope the Wilson tennis courts are repaired soon. The much larger issue of course is Portland’s aging, sub-standard public school facilities. A $482 million construction bond will be on the ballot in November. Modernize aging facilities? Yes. Accessibility improvements? Yes. Seismic upgrades? Yes. The need is great, and who knows? Maybe a bit will be left over for neighborhood tennis courts.