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Sorority sisters give picnic area a lift.

Byline: Jim Feehan The Register-Guard

Fifty-six Chi Omega sorority sisters decided to paint the town artisan brown Sunday.

Well, maybe not the whole town, but they did get to all the benches and picnic tables - and a community garden tool shed - at Alton Baker Park.

The University of Oregon sorority organized the project through the city's Volunteers in Parks program. The women pitched in by scraping old paint and applying fresh coats, removing unsightly gum from the structures' undersides and taking out dozens of staples used to fasten tablecloths to park tables.

Besides brushes and wire-rimmed paint scrapers, they made use of needle-nose pliers, screwdrivers and wire cutters.

With the adroitness of a master, Allison Kuhn, a journalism major from San Anselmo, Calif., was underneath a picnic bench unfastening a bolt with a socket wrench, intent on replacing a damaged picnic seat section.

"I wanted to come out today and give back to the community," said Kuhn, who said she learned her way around a tool shed doing home improvement projects with her twin brother.

The sorority chooses a community service project each academic term, said Crystal Zeigler, community service chairwoman. Past projects have included volunteering at FOOD for Lane County, reading at elementary schools and sponsoring a ballroom dance at a Eugene retirement community.

"This is a good sisterhood thing and a good time for bonding," said Ziegler, a sociology major from Tigard.

Stephanie Grein, a general science major from Reno, Nev., displayed her multitasking prowess by fielding a cell phone call from her mother even with paintbrush in hand. "She was happy to hear I was painting picnic tables for a community service project," Grein said.

In all, the students applied three gallons of paint during the 90-minute session.

"It would take us a full day with a crew to get all of this work done," said Stephen Sanders, a Eugene city parks maintenance worker.

The project was a logical one for the sorority, said Kristin Hunt, president of the UO Chi Omega chapter.

A popular jogging park for sorority members, Alton Baker has also been the site of recent Chi Omega Parents Week picnics.

"When we come back next spring for Parents Week, it will look nice and I can say I played a small part in that," Hunt said.

CAPTION(S):

Brushes are put into action Sunday at Alton Baker Park as 56 Chi Omega sorority sisters volunteer to paint picnic shelters. Sorority members say they were giving back to a park they like to use for jogging and special events. Wayne Eastburn / The Register-Guard
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Title Annotation:General News
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Nov 15, 2004
Words:429
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