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North Bend's new Grange making music
The newly reorganized Valley Grange has taken on a personality of its own as a community center with a focus in the arts.
The original 77-year-old Sallal Grange surrendered its charter in 2007. Eight months ago, locals Allen Roberts and Nels Melgaard began organizing a group of Valley residents with an interest in arts and music. Former Grange member Karen Granger helped spark interest in Sallal.
“We looked at the community service-based philosophy of the organization, and we got excited,” Melgaard said.
Meeting with officials from the Washington State Grange last December, the budding local group’s interest and energy excited the state organization. In turn, the state Grange worked to help get the Valley organization started.
Now, their to-do list includes recovering previous members and creating programs relevant to the community. About 80 percent of what they are doing evolved from music, Melgaard said.
“We don’t necessarily see it as a music hall, but that’ll be one of the big things that’ll happen here a lot,” Roberts said. “We told the state we’d do some cool things. But the beat of the grange is the beat of music and they really supported us.”
About 100 people attended Sallal Grange’s first open mic night. Admission helps raise funds for the organization and since then their first Friday of the month Grangestock Potluck and Open Mic night has been a hit.
“It’s been very positive and a well-attended event,” Melgaard said. “It’s open to everybody and that’s what’s fun.”
Envisioned programs include emergency response, a Relay for Life Team, monthly pancake feeds, a food bank, community dances, guest artist concerts, teen activities, a boat night at Rattlesnake Lake, Junior Grange and seasonal bazaars.
In an event of a Valley flood or natural disaster, they hope to make the grange facility available to North Bend, Snoqualmie, the local Red Cross and fire districts.
Currently, they have a group of people making contact and working with those agencies.
Also in the final stages of getting a kitchen permit, they hope to focus on monthly pancake breakfasts and spaghetti feeds.
Roberts also said the group wants to promote the building as a local meeting hall, encompassing Scout activities, receptions and everything in between.
“The goal is to bring in other groups to serve and help so we can assist them in fundraising, but at the same time show and develop interest in the Grange and what it can do.”
Interest continues to grow as the group coalesces.
“It’s been amazing. Every time we’ve met, we’ve had more people come and join,” Roberts said.
To get involved, e-mail Allen Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org or Nels Melgaard at email@example.com To inquire about renting out the Sallal Grange for an event, contact Dan Clapp at (425) 888-0825.