Moda Health and the Portland Trail Blazers teamed up to pro-mote active, healthy lifestyles for children through their Moda Assist program, now in its sixth year. Three Oregon cities competed to win an all-abilities playground by engaging their communities to vote for their city. Baker City won with a final tally of 63,748 votes.

“Playgrounds are great places for kids to be active,” said Dr. William Johnson, president of Moda Health. “Playgrounds are where kids learn how to build relationships, and how to have fun. And a key component of a healthy community is that its playground be accessible to all kids.”

As passionate about helping kids play as he is about helping teammates score, Damian Lillard continues as the ambassador for the Moda Assist program, which donates $20 to the Trail Blazers Foundation for every assist made by the Blazers during the first 48 games of the season. Those funds go to help build all-abilities playgrounds in communities all across Oregon. Each year, three cities are selected and then fans can go online and vote. Voting this year began February 20 and ended March 20 for Baker City, Prineville and Independence.

“Baker City is overwhelmed by the amount of support we received during the competitive voting process,” said Joyce Bornstedt, Baker City parks and cemetery manager. “We received an incredible number of votes, not only local community members, but from people across Oregon and the U.S. as well. This award will be the catalyst for funding an all-inclusive playground for our physically and developmentally disadvantaged children. Thank you so much to Moda Health and the Portland Trail Blazers for the opportunity to compete. We are excited to put this award to great use!”

All three cities found creative ways to engage their communities. The key to Baker City’s success was putting a face to the effort and getting the entire community involved. They published photos of their exceptional children and shared their stories, including the hardships they endure, and what an all-inclusive playground would mean to them. Additionally, local schools encouraged students to vote every day and sent flyers home with them. Local businesses put out table tents and handed out flyers. Trail Blazer game viewing parties were held with voting available on-site and presentations were made at local basketball games and voting information was distributed at the 1A State Basketball tournament held in Baker City. Most of the reader boards throughout the community contained the message to vote for Baker City daily and the clock tower lights were changed to Moda Purple and Blazers red. Even the local Albertson’s store held a Vote Baker City day, distributing voting information, cookies and balloons.

The Moda Assist program has built all-abilities playgrounds in La Grande, Portland, Medford, and Hermiston. Last year’s winner, Redmond, Is still in the planning stages for their new park. For more Information, photos and video go to modahealth.com/assist.