The historic Walterville Grange Hall #416 has served as a focal point for this small community in southwest Oregon for decades. It provides a meeting place for the town and hosts events both big and small, from weddings and family gatherings to the annual community fair.
When the roof began to leak, the local grange executive committee estimated it would take up to five years to raise the funds needed for such a significant renovation, and they feared the delay would allow water damage to harm the rest of the building in the meantime.
It was around that time that Jeff Dehne, a member of the executive committee, saw an article in the national grange newsletter about grants offered by USDA for the repair of community facilities. He called their local USDA office and was referred to Community Programs Specialist Holly Halligan.
“She was very helpful with putting together our paperwork,” said Dehne.
The Walterville Grange Hall applied to USDA’s Community Facilities Program and was awarded a $15,402 grant to help cover the cost of replacing the roof.
“The USDA grant was a real inspiration to the community, which fought to keep the hall open by raising matching funds,” said Jeff. Local residents held bake sales, and the town accepted donations at a community fundraiser. In the end, they raised $18,605. They also received a grant from the nonprofit Oregon Community Foundation.
Within a few months, a new metal roof had been installed. “The USDA grant was very, very beneficial in helping us replace the roof before real damage was caused by the leak,” said Dehne.
The grange hall is now open once again, providing a space for this rural town to celebrate significant events and come together as a community.