A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Why LBCC pickleball venue remains shut

Written April 20th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

At the new courts on April 20: No one knows when the public will be allowed in.

We’ve had fine summer weather in April, but Albany’s new complex of pickleball courts at Linn-Benton Community College remains closed for two reasons. One, the courts are still not quite finished. And two — what else? — Covid.

A few days ago a reader wondered why the courts were not in use, and she had not been able to get much of an answer.

This week I inquired with Jennifer Boehmer in the college administration. She checked with whoever runs campus operations and passed along the response she got:

“The surface contractor is waiting on a good stretch of dry weather to finish painting the courts, the last two light fixtures are in and ready to be installed, and I talked to the general contractor about the final cleanup, which will be done after all work is complete. I don’t have an exact date, but it should be completed by the end of June.”

Will pickleballers be able to use the courts then? Not necessarily.

Boehmer says it depends in part on Oregon Health Authority restrictions in effect at the time, and in part of what the college considers prudent. “We would love to be able to open for the community if it is possible,” she told me.

As college officials explained to me last fall, their Covid-related policies are aimed strictly at being able to reopen and fulfill their instructional mission, so public recreation takes a back seat.

The city of Albany is paying North Santiam Paving about $330,000 in park development funds to build 12 pickleball courts on what used to be four LBCC tennis courts. Under a contract between the city and LBCC, the courts are to be open for public use when they’re not needed for college programs.

If the college keeps the courts closed much beyond the time construction is complete, pickleball enthusiasts won’t be the only Albany taxpayers who wish the city had built this facility somewhere else. (hh)

5 responses to “Why LBCC pickleball venue remains shut”

  1. Scott Bruslind says:

    Play pickleball in Lebanon, home of the free and friendly.

  2. James Engel says:

    Just why does Albany “need” 6 tennis ball courts at the redone West Albany HS?? They are standing unused!

    • Julie Aufranc says:

      James Engel, go watch the high school kids play tennis at the new courts. They have been using the courts from 3pm to 6 or 7 pm all week for the last 3 weeks. Matches on Mondays and Thursdays. Last year there was no tennis season, no spring sports period. The year before courts had been torn up to make way for construction so the Albany Tennis Club allowed practice and matches at their courts. Hurry though because the season will be done in 3 weeks.

  3. Rhonda says:

    Is LBCC going to reimburse tax payers for the money they accepted when they agreed to open the pickleball courts to the public? I understand and respect the need for caution with COVID, but this is an outdoor venue where you’d be a good six feet apart from others at all times. LBCC is allowing baseball games to be played on their grounds with fans sitting the entire game in attendance so there also seems to be a lack of consistency in policy that needs addressing.


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