This former YMCA building, slated for demolition, was bought by a community group a couple of years ago and has since developed into exactly what its name implies...a center where the community can gather, play and be active. There's a recently renovated pool, exercise classes from Pilates to tai chi to bellydancing, children's classes and activities, a circuit training room, weight room and much more. And all without the posing and pressure to perform and look (or dress) a certain way that I've found in so many other clubs. It's very affirming if you're like me, a person who hadn't taken a fitness class since college or ever considered joining an athletic club.
I take three (free) classes a week for their modest membership of $40 a month (less for couples and families), and all three are attended by men and women ranging in age from their 20s to their 70s and all body types from fit to working-on-it.
The center has received several grants and, with a rapidly growing membership, is starting to work on the building's infrastructure. They've recently done a major overhaul of the pool and are going to start on the locker rooms and improving the upstairs area for small exercise classes and individual training sessions.
Details: NE Community Center, 1630 NE 38th Ave., Portland; Phone 503-284-3377
Photo courtesy of Miles Hochstein of Portland Ground.