Jason Pond, CEO of Greenberry Industrial, wanted a home for his club baseball and softball teams
CAMAS — If you build it …
If you build it, children will have a place to play baseball. Or softball.
If you build it, there will be one more field in a county that is lacking in field space for youth sports.
If you build it, well, it could become one of your most valued projects.
“Honestly, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done,” said Jason Pond, who built a field on his Camas property for youth baseball and softball teams. It is complete with fencing and a backstop, along with dugouts.
Pond is accustomed to building. He is the CEO of Greenberry Industrial, a company with more than 40 years of experience as a general industrial contractor, fabricator, and mechanical installation provider, according to its website.
Now he owns a baseball field.
He shares it, at no cost, with his club teams, representing athletes from all over Clark County, and their opponents.
The field opened in February, just before the pandemic. The field was not used as much as anticipated in 2020, but the club teams were able to practice in June. Using proper safety protocols, there were some games with teams from around the Northwest throughout the summer and into fall ball. In the future, look for the field on NE 249th to hold youth tournaments.
The inspiration for the field came from a couple sources. One was JoAnn Pond, who battled breast cancer.
“She got through it. But it changed our perspective on you only live once,” Jason Pond said of his wife. “We’re a baseball, softball family. We’re really into it. Life is short. Why not?”
The Pond family bought their home in 2012. The family bought the property right next to theirs, the one that now has the baseball field, in 2015. Oh, and that property? It was notorious.
A junk yard. Tires. RVs. Drugs. The family let the East County Fire Department use the buildings that were standing as training. The neighborhood came out to watch the buildings burn, Pond said.
“This property was an eyesore. A real negative history.”
Now, there is a baseball field with youngsters on it.
“There is a karma thing about taking it from what it was to what it is now,” he said of the site.
It was Pond’s landscaper who first proposed the baseball field idea.
Pond already had batting cages just outside his home for Greenberry Athletics, a club that now features five baseball teams and one softball team. But there was no field. And as anyone associated with youth sports can attest, finding a field, then scheduling field time and paying for the field, well, those things can become a hassle.
Dan Iverson, the president of the baseball and softball club, said the facility is a dream come true.
“Being able to build this and have our own facility is huge,” he said. “Playing games is great, but being able to have these kids every day have a place to practice, it’s unheard of.”
Iverson said half of the athletes on the six teams come from Camas, but the other half from all areas of Clark County.
For Pond, it was a labor of love. In all, he estimates the cost to build the facility was around $450,000. He does not charge for the use of the field. In fact, families are not charged to have their children on the baseball or softball teams. Pond helped get Greenberry Industrial to sponsor the club.
“I’ll never get the money back. But with my wife going through cancer, it really changed my perspective and our family’s perspective on what’s important,” Pond said.
The family wanted to do something for the neighborhood, the community.
“We felt super fortunate. We’ve been lucky in a lot of ways,” he said.
That ugly site is now a thing of beauty, a place for joy.
“It didn’t look like this. It definitely helps your property to have a ballfield,” Pond said. “Everybody in the community loves it.”
The field is designed to place bases at the appropriate distances for age group and sport. So the 10-and-under softball team can use it, then it can quickly convert to a 13-and-under baseball game, for example. The dimensions of the field are for youth ball only. It is not for high-school age athletes. The team with the oldest players for Greenberry Athletics is the 14-and-under squad.
Once Greenberry Athletics was allowed, the club hosted several games against opponents from throughout the Northwest. No full tournaments just yet. COVID restrictions limit the number of teams, and fans, at the facility.
Look for bigger events at the field in the future, “once we get through all this craziness,” Iverson said.
If you build it …
It is built, and Jason Pond says it is for the community.
And Greenberry Athletics is looking forward to showing it off to the youth sporting community for years to come.