Click here to donate to this incredible campaign! And: THANK YOU!

Help transform our playground from a parking lot into a green playing field!

Increase kids’ opportunities to play, be active, and benefit from a full physical education curriculum.


For years, Capitol Hill students and neighbors have made the best of the school’s playground – which, aside from our play structure area, is all asphalt. Capitol Hill is the only PPS Westside elementary school without a field. After countless skinned knees & elbows and ripped pants, and the daily risk of broken bones and concussions, it’s time for a change.

Capitol Hill’s lack of a field reduces our kids’ opportunities to play, be active, and benefit from a full physical education curriculum. PE is held in the gym, where kids don’t benefit from fresh air and have limited room to move. At recess, kids either avoid the blacktop or play soccer & other games on the asphalt, with an increased risk of serious injury. Capitol Hill students, parents, and staff, along with community partners, have joined to transform our playground from a parking lot into a safe playing field that will benefit our community for years to come.

Plans include installing a turf multi-sports field, providing a soft, safe space for our kids and families to play. Stretch goals include adding a 1/4 mile walk/jog path around the perimeter of the playground, adding elements to the play structure area, and establishing a dedicated fund for maintenance and replacement. Our goal is to complete this project before the end of 2017.

Here’s where we need your help!

We ask our families, friends, alumni, and neighbors to contribute to this incredible fundraising drive. The sooner the funds are raised, the sooner we’ll enjoy the results. Please make a donation that you are comfortable with – from $10 to $5,000 – every bit helps us reach our fundraising goal! Please note that all donation amounts can be made anonymously and all donations are tax deductible. 100% of your donation goes towards Capitol Hill’s field & playground project.



Why a field?

  • Given the growth of our school community, our playground is very limited for the number of kids at Capitol Hill. Installing a field would give kids a safer option for play at recess and outside of school hours, as well as during PE class. A field would also benefit the larger community by providing access for sports and free play.
  • Asphalt – Asphalt is an unforgiving surface. It’s wet and slippery in winter, baking hot in summer, abrasive and rock hard all year long. The risk of serious injury is real, and the minor injuries are a regular feature of life at Capitol Hill.
  • PPS – The district does not have the funds, mandate, or the bandwidth to improve our children’s play and physical education environment. Let’s face it: their plate is overflowing with challenges. Almost all projects of this nature in Portland are community driven and funded.
  • Lasting investment – A field is a lasting investment that would serve our community long after our children have left Capitol Hill. It is a legacy that we can pass down to our neighborhood. A turf field has a 8-10 year lifespan, and the initial infrastructure investment can last 50 years or longer.
  • Not just a field – We have included options in addition to the field to expand the usability and appeal of our playground. These options can be implemented in the initial phase or added in over time, depending on the pace of fundraising.
  • This is something we can do! We can’t solve all the issues facing PPS, but we can transform the way our kids play at school and make a lasting impact on our community.

Why not just plant grass? Especially for “green-minded Portlanders,” natural grass is appealing. Unfortunately, in our climate, natural grass for our playground is not practical. During most of the school year, with even light use, grass quickly degrades to mud, rendering the area unusable. Many grass fields are closed during excessively rainy periods to preserve the fields, which is why synthetic turf has become more common in Portland. Also, PPS will not maintain grass. Unlike synthetic turf, grass requires constant maintenance, annual reseeding, and dramatically increases daily cleaning effort in the school’s common areas and classrooms.

Is synthetic turf toxic? The scientific evidence is scarce on either side of this topic. The concern centers around the crumb rubber infill made from recycled tires that is used to give turf loft and the action of natural grass. Our team is following this issue very closely and is researching the feasibility and additional cost of alternative infill.

Active kids – why does that matter? The rise of childhood obesity and the lack of physical activity among our youth is common knowledge. Active kids develop healthier lifelong habits, are less likely to become obese, perform better in school, and are more likely to graduate from high school.

My kid has other interests beyond ball games and organized sports. What’s in it for them? Kids love to run and play. At Capitol Hill, students are currently not allowed to play tag at recess due to the risk of injury. A field would provide space for tag and free play, in addition to ball games – virtually any kid’s games and activities that they can think of. Having the field available during recess will also draw kids who are interested in sports and organized games, relieving some of the congestion on the play structure.

What will it cost? Our current estimate for the project is between $200,000 – $300,000, depending on the final size of the field and the additional options. The estimates are subject to change as the project progresses, but this is our current fundraising target.

Where will the money come from? We are looking to our school community and local public and corporate giving to meet our fundraising goals.

How can I help? First and foremost, this project needs your financial support. No matter how big or small, every dollar counts. Please also help spread the word to your extended family and neighbors who may want to contribute. Additionally, the project occasionally requires specialized individual talents – be on the lookout for calls to action that you can contribute to. Lastly, the success of this project depends on our ability to leverage our community’s talents, energy, and connections to realize our goals. If you have ideas on how you’d like to help, please let us know!

How can I donate? Click here to donate online. If you prefer to make a donation by check or cash, please drop it off or mail it to the school office. Make sure your check is made out to CAPITOL HILL PTA with “Playground” in the memo field. If you would like your donation to remain anonymous, please just let us know. Mail to: Capitol Hill School, 8401 SW 17th Ave., Portland, OR 97219

If you have any questions, please contact the Capitol Hill PTA at

Thank you for your support!