“We are more than a building; we’re a positive community force.”
Skyline Grange Values Statement
Capital Improvement Update 12/26/22
As most of you know, our Grange Hall burnt down in 1974 and was rebuilt with $12,000 of insurance money, donated materials, and lots of volunteer hours two years later. In more recent years, our vision has expanded from being a fraternal organization doing community service to being a real community asset owned by a fraternal organization. This transition in focus requires us to address modern accessibility and safety codes, and improve functionality for community use. A well thought out step-by-step capital improvement plan was designed, consultants hired, and fundraising started. Since the last Ridge Runner, we feel as though our Capital Improvement plans are living the title of that old cowboy movie “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.”
The Ugly: A Shocking Sticker Price
Our architect has recommended combining 2 phases of our capital improvement plan to minimize unnecessary duplications, and thus ultimately reducing cost. This means combining the North End Project that addresses the deteriorating north basement wall and drainage issues together with the Accessibility Project which provides both an ADA restroom and second emergency exit on the main level and construction of a small addition. The addition has triggered numerous code requirements including the need to install significant seismic upgrades unless we separate the addition from the original structure. Having a public building that could withstand a significant earthquake is very desirable for the community. Unfortunately, the cost of doing so is financially prohibitive at this time, thus our architect has recommended we separate the addition structurally from the building. We requested an estimate for constructing these 2 phases together. A professional estimator gave us a whomping price tag of $820,000 just for the construction. This does not include planning expenditures nor permits/inspection costs.
After paying land survey, civil engineering, structural engineering, and architectural expenditures, we have a current balance of $241,500 in our Capital Improvement Fund. This amount includes monetary donations from the community and Grange members, Grange fundraising events, and most of the $155,000 CSFRF grant. That’s not close to the estimated funds that we need for the construction, permits, inspections, etc. of these two combined projects.
The Bad: Limits in Ability to Fundraise
We have found it almost impossible to qualify for grant money earmarked for capital improvement because of our IRS classification as a 501(c)10 fraternal organization, and not as a 501(c)3 organization. Also, donations to our capital improvement fund are not tax-deductible. And, NO, we cannot change our IRS status from being a 501(c)10 to a 501(c)3 which would enable us to more successfully obtain grants. NO, it is very unlikely we could establish a 501(c)3 “Friends of Skyline Grange” to legally channel tax-deductible donations and grant money to the Grange for capital improvements. This is based on consultation with two non-profit attorneys. NO, our capital improvement projects are not projects that can be completed mostly by Grange members and volunteers.
The Good: A Surprising Gift
In the midst of this disheartening news, our Treasurer went to her mailbox. In it was a stuffed envelope with a typed note from “Anonymous Donor” saying “Am old. Have been stuffing my mattress for years. Use for Grange.” The envelope contained $28,220 in cash including some old bills. We do not know who you are, but our Grange is honored and grateful. We have put a challenge out to the Skyline community for others to donate contents of their piggy banks, coin jars, and mattresses. So far, $840.00 towards this Mattress Challenge has been collected.
Here are some truths. 1) We can no longer ignore the deteriorating north wall and the drainage problems and will need to use Capital Improvement funds to pay for that repair. 2) We are required to spend our CSFRF grant by the end of 2024, thus limiting the time to raise additional funds. 3) Construction costs have significantly escalated over the last few years while code requirements get more stringent every change. As a result, the estimate for our planned project is at least twice what was anticipated. 4) Due to grant requirements, liability issues and the complexity of the newer building codes, we will need to use licensed and bonded contractors. 5) While we will continue to explore grant funding and seek donations, raising the required funds seems out of reach for now. We will also explore ways to spend our money efficiently including modifying the grant requirements to eliminate the building addition. This unfortunately will negate the pledge of $50,000 for a lift between floors.
Despite these setbacks, the members of Skyline Grange remain committed to the importance of maintaining our building as a community asset. We will continue to look for ways to upgrade our building to better serve you.
By donating to Skyline Grange’s Capital Improvement Fund, you are supporting your community and its need for a place to gather, connect. You can donate to our Capital Improvement Fund, by: 1. Sending a check to “Skyline Grange’ earmarked for capital improvement, c/o 14109 NW Rock Creek Rd, Portland, OR 97231. 2. Donate by Venmo or credit card by contacting treasurer Rachael Brake at 503-621-3423. 3. Bringing your jars of coins to an event at the Grange, during a scheduled drop-off date, or by making other arrangements.
Why a Long-Term Capital Improvement Plan?
Skyline Grange membership regards our building as vital to the well-being of our community. We see it much more than a fraternal hall for Grange members; it is the meeting place for the Skyline Ridge community, a place where residents can connect locally to become informed and engaged in activities that promote community resilience, well-being and good land stewardship. It is the only place for local residents to gather other than Skyline School which has many restrictions and regulations on use due to its primary function. It is the connecting that is most important, not the green paint. But for residents to connect and to participate, our building should be accessible, safe, and functional. Over the years members of Skyline Grange have taken steps (some small, some larger) toward providing a more welcoming atmosphere: new windows, acoustic panels, new flooring, new interior paint. Those steps required planning and funding. Towards that end, our Capital Improvement Committee used the downtime the pandemic afforded us to develop a long-term capital improvement plan. Community input and a need for increased accessibility, safety, inclusivity, functionality, and requirements of modern living drove the development of this plan. This Plan was adopted by Skyline Grange Members on November 8, 2021.
Long-Term Capital Improvement Plan
PHASE 1: PREPARATORY WORK (PW)
- Replace window over the north stairwell
- Replace window in north storage room
- Install new outward opening front doors
- Get a topographical survey required for all later phases
- Windows ordered. Installation scheduled in spring 2022.
- Survey scheduled for February 9, 2022
- Funded fully through Grange general funds
PHASE 2: NORTH END PROJECT (NEP)
Purposes (structural, functional, and safety factors)
- Replace deteriorating porous north wall on the lower level
- Establish an effective drainage system diverting water away from the building
- Improve safety and utility of existing north stairwell
- Incorporate provisions for a future covered porch
- An agreement has been signed with a local structural engineering firm. Analysis and design work are in progress but final plans await survey information.
- We hope to be shovel ready by summer/fall 2022.
PHASE 3: ACCESSIBILITY PROJECT (SGAP)
- Install the long-requested ADA restroom on main level
- Install a second exit from main level which includes an ADA-approved ramp leading from the new door to the driveway/parking lot
- Construct a 2-story addition on south side to accommodate safer stairs and to recapture vital space eliminated by the new restroom
- Install a means for people with physical challenges to safely access lower level; either the installation of an ADA-approved lift or construction of an ADA-approved pathway (yet to be determined & funded)
- We are in the planning process. Construction should start in the dry months of 2023.
- We are receiving a $155,000 grant from the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds (CSFRF). We thank Representative Brad Witt for encouraging us to apply.
PHASE 4: FUTURE PROJECTS
Our list of future projects
- Covered Porch Project
- Resurface floor on lower level
- Resurface floor of restrooms on lower level
- Commercial dishwasher
- New roof
- Solar panels
- Paint exterior
- Commercial kitchen
- No funding currently.
- After the first 3 phases are completed, we will again build up our savings, assess priorities and as funding allows, start one of the above projects.
Capital Improvement Committee Members for 2021&2022 are Rachael Brake, John Driscoll, Jerralynn Ness, Grant Rolette, John Rueter, Bernie Thurber, Sen Speroff, George Sowder, and Tracy Water.