|Volume 8, Issue 9||
Leedy Grange Hall -- Cedar Mill's Community Center
The old Grange Hall building, just north of Cornell on Saltzman, was built in 1903 by the Modern Woodsmen. By 1906, local farmers formed the Leedy Grange, and acquired the building in 1913 after meeting in members' homes for several years. It was the center of the social lives of many local families. "Old-timers" in the area still remember being taken to dances as children, and being put to sleep in the coat room, which was demolished when Saltzman was widened in 2003.
Membership waxed and waned over the years, reaching a peak of around 60 in the 1950s. In 1975, the Beaverton Grange lost their building and merged with Leedy. By the time I joined in 2007 there were only 12 members and the State Master was considering shutting it down.
Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District had no plans to put a community center in our area, because they were only interested in large facilities with room for playing fields. But we need a place to have community events and for families to hold larger parties. So Bruce Bartlett (CPO 1 Chair) and I decided to join.
We were welcomed and encouraged to get involved, and the 2008 Shortcake Social was our first activity, and the first Grange-sponsored event to be held in the building in at least 25 years! At the end of that year, I was surprised to be nominated to lead the group as Master, when then-Master Bob Welter needed to step down for health reasons. We currently have around 30 members.
The building itself belongs to the members. And, as is true with all Granges, the members of the local "subordinate" Grange determine the group's activities and the causes it supports. While the National organization has rules and bylaws, as long as a local Grange doesn't violate them, they can determine the uses of the hall.
Renting the Grange
The Grange Hall is available for rental by groups and individuals. Rental income pays our bills and is now actually bringing in a little extra. One of the National Grange rules has long been "no alcohol." While there are some Granges in northern California (wine country) that are thinking of suspending that, we are glad to adhere to it because it helps keep the building safe.
Rates depend on the nature of the activity. Regular rates apply to private parties and most groups and are $30 per hour and $150 for 24. If the Grange members feel that an activity serves the community, we can offer our not-for-profit rate of $10/hr or $50/24. Most religious groups do not qualify, because Grange policies don't allow us to support partisan religion or partisan politics. But some religious groups get the rate because they provide community services, such as a local Ba'hai group that provides after-school and summer enrichment programs for low-income kids. Simply being a non-profit organization doesn't guarantee a group the discount rate.
Rentals can be from one hour to 24. Event setup and cleanup are part of the rental time, so many renters take the 24-hour option for larger affairs.
All renters are required to purchase liability insurance covering the hall for the duration of the rental. For private or family events, this can usually be obtained through a homeowners' or renters' policy. Public events usually require separate event insurance. There's also a $250 refundable cleaning and security deposit, due along with the insurance certificate at least two weeks in advance of the rental.
Several groups have long-term rentals, including a couple of martial arts groups that meet on weeknights, and a yoga teacher. There is a separate rate for long-term rentals, and we'd be happy to have the building used more on weekdays.
A calendar of events is on our website, leedygrange.org, please check availability if you're interested in using the hall for your function. I am currently the rental agent for the building (although I'm working on a replacement!) so please contact me if the hall is available for the time you want it.
Also on the website are photos of the interior and schematics to help you plan your event. The building consists of a large main hall with a wood floor, a stage, and benches all around. There is also a dining hall with long tables and chairs, and a kitchen with all the usual amenities, and two restrooms.
The kitchen is "certifiable" for preparation of food for sale, so if anyone is interested in trying their hand at that, it would be an easy way to get started. Regular rates apply.
Taking care of the building
Part of the charge of the Grange Master is to look after the building itself. Since joining, we've had the floor refinished and the building exterior painted. But there's plenty more work that needs to be done, and we would like to get the community involved.
We're currently contemplating some insulation for the ceiling (the whole building is un-insulated!). We also need to have the heating system under the building "tuned up," with better insulation around the ducts. The building is heated with gas and the cost goes way up in the winter.
The interior rooms are way overdue for some renovation. The old paneling is showing its age, and we expect to paint that and the trim sometime soon. Windows in the main hall need replacing, too, since they steam up in all kinds of weather.
Lighting in the dining hall is awful, comprising four old fluorescent fixtures, only two of which currently work. We'd like to get something that not only works, but looks a little better.
The kitchen has the same cabinets that were installed in 1903. They're quaint, but not very practical, and we'd love to get upgraded fixtures including a bigger stove, a hood, and even one of those new-fangled dishwashers. New lighting, counters and cabinets would be great too. Someday we'd like to offer cooking classes, and canning and preserving workshops, so anything that could make the kitchen function better for that kind of use would be wonderful.
We've been doing our best to make the outside of the building look good, but until the contractors are done with Saltzman, there's not much point. One of our members put in some nice plants along the parking area, only to have them all stolen after a big party! (Guess one of the guests wanted a party favor...) This fall, it would be lovely to get some plants and even some irrigation installed to make our street-front a pleasant view.
If there are contractors or handy folks in the community who would like to get involved, please contact me. We have funds for materials but we'd love to have some volunteer or reduced-rate professional help. And donated materials and equipment would be very welcome, also.
We want these improvements so that the building is more useful and pleasant for community activities. Big family parties, classes and meetings, workshops and small fairs are all possible.
If you have an idea for an ongoing activity, we encourage you to consider joining us. That's what Marc Leuthold did when he had the idea for a Cedar Mill Flea Market. We liked it so much that's it's now a regular event on the first Saturday of every month. Table fees go to the Grange, and sellers keep their proceeds.
Another event that began last year and will continue is the Holiday Bazaar. "Not Your Granny's Bazaar," the event features hand-made crafts and decorations, food and art gifts for everyone by local artisans and cooks. It is held on the weekend after Thanksgiving, and is a "boutique-style" event that doesn't require the vendors to give up their holiday weekend. We're currently taking table reservations, so if you or someone you know has items to sell, be sure to contact us. And plan to come by as the first stop in your holiday shopping, to find a unique gift and to support your Grange and your local artisans.
We meet on the second Saturday and start with a potluck lunch at noon that is open to anyone interested in learning more. For information about the Grange, to offer assistance on our building projects, or to find out more about the Flea Market or the Bazaar, contact Virginia Bruce, firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-803-1813.
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