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Posted on: December 20, 2023

UPDATED Beloved Port Angeles Dream Playground Damaged in Fire

Press Release 3

December 22, 2023 Update: 

The site where the fire occurred was demoed yesterday, December 21st, and clean up efforts still continue. The remaining areas of Erickson Playfield, including the Pump Track and Skate Park, are now open for public use. 

Public restrooms are available each day, except Christmas Day and New Years Day. Click here to view Public Restroom Winter Operating Hours.

Finally, fundraising efforts to rebuild the Dream Playground are underway, thanks to the Port Angeles Dream Playground Foundation and our incredible community. The Dream Playground Foundation is accepting donations online; the fundraising link is supported by the generous contributions of the United Way of Clallam County. If you would like to donate, please visit: https://fundraise.givesmart.com/f/4jt6/n?vid=1319oe

To learn more, visit the Port Angeles Dream Playground Foundation website: https://www.padreamplayground.org/

We are sincerely grateful for the outpouring of support from our community and we look forward to working together to rebuild this cherished gathering space. 

Original Post: 

Early this morning, December 20th, a devastating fire took place at the beloved Dream Playground at Erickson Playfield, leaving approximately two-thirds of the playground damaged or destroyed.  The fire was reported at 3:44 a.m. and Port Angeles Police and Fire units were dispatched moments later. Clallam 2 Fire Rescue and Olympic Ambulance provided additional response. The fire was under control at 4:00 a.m. and fully extinguished at 4:15 a.m.

At this time, Erickson Playfield has been secured as a crime scene. A suspect is in custody and an investigation is underway by the Port Angeles Fire and Police Departments, with assistance from Clallam County Fire District 3 and the Washington State Patrol. More information will be shared as it becomes available.

Until then, and until after the area has been cleaned and made safe to visit, Erickson Playfield remains closed. Your support and cooperation are greatly appreciated during this time.

For over 20 years, the Port Angeles Dream Playground has been a symbol of community spirit. The playground’s build, one of the largest volunteer efforts in Clallam County history, included more than 2,000 volunteers using tools and equipment loaned by the community. Over $185,000 was raised to pay for the construction, with most of the funds coming from local businesses and thousands of individual contributors.

Led by Steve Methner, President of the Dream Playground Foundation, volunteers, donors and local corporate sponsors came together again in 2021 to replace the then aging wooden structure and wood chip ground covering with one of the safest, best designed and most inclusive playgrounds in the state.

Later, Erickson Playfield was selected to receive the 2023 Spotlight Award for Facilities by the Washington Recreation & Parks Association (WRPA) because of its incredible, community-built features, including the Dream Playground.

“Today weighs heavy on the hearts of many in Port Angeles, particularly those who helped to build the Dream Playground and the families whose children love to play there.  The Dream Playground is not only an amazing community gathering place, it is also a tangible example of all that is good in Port Angeles,” says Mayor Kate Dexter.  “I want to thank PA Fire and Clallam Fire District #2 for their response. Thank you also to our Parks & Recreation staff for their thoughtful stewardship of all our parks. They, especially, know how much this park means to our community. I look forward to working with City staff to rebuild as soon as we can.”

The City remains dedicated to this cherished community space, and we extend our commitment to the reconstruction of the playground.