Save Humboldt's Community Halls

Save Humboldt's Community Halls

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Bayside Community Hall started this petition to California State Grange

Former grange halls across California, including five in Humboldt County (Bayside, Fieldbrook, Freshwater, Redcrest and Van Duzen), are being sued by the California State Grange, which seeks to take possession of all of their property because these communities are no longer interested in being part of the fraternal Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry.

For more than 80 years, these halls have been built, funded, managed and maintained solely by their local communities, with no support from the grange organization.

These halls play critically important roles in their communities, tailored over many years to the unique needs of each. They provide crucial support to schools, fire districts, emergency response groups and the nonprofit community, as well as providing a venue for both private and public events. Loss of these buildings would be devastating.

The grange organization insists that local individuals have the right to manage and maintain these buildings for their communities only if they join the grange; however, the grange organization has not been successful in making itself attractive to potential members in our communities. Over a dozen halls have been lost in Humboldt and Del Norte counties since 2000. It does not make sense to require people to join an organization in which they have no interest for them to serve a role in stewardship of their local community hall.

We acknowledge our grange past and honor the men and women who built these halls. We are committed to continuing their work, and broadening it to our entire community, as 501c3 non-profit organizations. We seek a mutually beneficial compromise that ensures that our halls serve the entirety of our communities, not just those who might be interested in being grangers.

We petition the California State Grange to declare that all halls are owned by their local communities. We petition for development of a membership option that allows a former grange to become a non-voting affiliate, to pay dues and provide a meeting place for a chartered local chapter, but to otherwise function as an autonomous organization. We believe that this would provide the best opportunity for success for both local halls and the grange organization.

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