12/13/2007: "Public Urged To Sign Petition"
We gladly signed the SAVE OUR GRANGE HALL petition to the State Grange and urge everyone in the community who appreciates our Grange Hall--our community center--to also sign the petition. We also want to thank Jim Sesby for his leadership in support of our Grange Hall, and hope that our local press can provide further, balanced coverage of this situation. As this petition states, we need assurances from the State Grange that while the local SJI Grange is suspended they will act only in the best interests of the local membership and the local community, and will not raise the Grange Hall rental fees without a vote of the full local membership, and that they will not sell the Grange Hall.
We have renewed our membership in the SJI Grange and urge all other local Grange members to do likewise. We are frustrated by the State Grange’s actions and absence of communication to the membership (except through the local press), and we are concerned about what we hear from other local Granges, but we trust that some day our Grange will be able to function in good standing again. We are renewing our membership because we believe in the mission of our local Grange and also feel an obligation to safeguard as best we can the SJI Grange’s legacy and assets on behalf of our community. We appreciate and respect the Grange members of the past who, on behalf of our community, purchased the Spring Street property and built the farm cooperative, and to those who purchased the Grange Hall with the sales contract that promises to make the building “available for community uses”.
The Grange Hall is both historic and a little bit funky but more than anything else a gorgeous island venue currently affordable to all. The Grange Hall comes complete with a kitchen and all that’s needed to host any event at no additional cost. When we consider the awful possibility of the Grange Hall being sold and razed for another hotel or condominium complex, we hope that some other organization will come forward to offer an affordable community center, but know that nothing would ever replace our historic Grange Hall. It would also be a tremendous loss if the Grange Hall were to stand empty more of the time because it is not affordable for the many events, celebrations, and gatherings that are so essential to our community.
On a broader level, this situation provides a cautionary tale for our community, and has led us to re-examine our participation in and our financial support of local chapters of larger organizations.
Boyd and Lovel Pratt
San Juan Island
(Editor's Note: The head of the state Grange has stated the SJI Grange building will not be closed ( Related Story)