Unsafe access spurs fundraising efforts
by Steve Howe
It was the rickety old wooden ladder that really got people to “step up.”
A team of Harney County residents, working with the Ford Institute Leadership Program (FILP), have made it their mission to assist the Crane Mustang Booster Club with the replacement of the old concession stand at Crane’s Valentine Field, including the unsafe access to the crow’s nest.
FILP came to Burns last fall to gather a cohort of 21 local participants, including seven youth members. The program was built through the partnership of the Ford Family Foundation and Rural Development Initiatives (RDI).
According to its website, FILP is “based on the belief that vital rural communities develop from a broad base of knowledgeable, skilled and motivated leaders, a diversity of effective organizations, and productive collaborations among organizations.” The program provides training classes, assistance grants, and other resources.
Classes consist of 48 hours of training over four sessions and address a variety of concepts focused on community development and leadership. In order to apply these concepts to a real-world situation, each cohort selects and takes on a project as a group.
Previous cohorts in the area have taken on improvement projects including the Hines skate park, Hines City Park pavilion space, and the area outside the Harney County Library. In this fourth leadership class, participants wanted to extend efforts to another part of Harney County.
When Crane Union High School (CUHS) students (and FILP participants) Mary and Maddie Dorroh showed their group photos of the existing concession stand and the “infamous” wooden ladder, support for the proposed project grew quickly.
Visitors to Valentine Field know the concession stand well: announcers call out track events and broadcast football action from the crow’s nest, and food and drink are sold below. Many people have expressed their amazement at the booster club’s ability to serve good food in such a basic shelter.
FILP participants, working with the booster club and Mr. Dave Doman’s construction class at CUHS, will initially work toward building a solid structure, including a sturdy, secure staircase to the crow’s nest. Then, as funding allows, electricity, water, bathrooms, and landscaping will be added. Expenses include labor, permits, and materials.
That’s where the “Brand The Stand” campaign comes in. Ranches, families, individuals, and businesses are encouraged to donate $100 to have their brand and name (or just name) engraved on boards to be permanently displayed on the new concession stand. Youth from the Eastern Oregon Youth Correctional Facility (EOYCF) have volunteered to help with engraving names. Donations of cash, building supplies, and labor will be accepted. Needed building supplies include lumber, nails, siding, roofing, doors, windows, and tools.
The group’s first fundraiser at Crane Play Day May 1 raised $2,100, qualifying them to apply for a $5,000 matching grant from the Ford Family Foundation. Two more fundraisers are planned, one at CUHS graduation on May 30, and the other at the Ranch Rodeo on July 12. Board branding will take place on site at the Ranch Rodeo event. As of May 15, $3,400 of the $7,000 needed in cash donations had been raised.
Donations may be sent at any time to: Crane Mustang Booster Club/Crane Concession, P.O. Box 866, Crane OR 97732. If donors would like to use their brand, boards will be provided. Donations are tax deductible, and receipts are available. For more information, contact Gary Marshall at 541-493-2494, or Cindy Lofts at 541-589-1965.