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Monday, January 23, 2012

Apartment lords go hunting for Elks

Last week, when the Clackistani rebels gathered to discuss their ballot measure to kill off Tri-Met's Milwaukie Mystery Train once and for all, they did so at the Milwaukie Elks Lodge, which is on McLaughlin Boulevard down toward Oak Grove. Some of the anti-rail activists who showed up for the meeting learned a few new things that night. One of them is that the area's apartment bunker pushers have that Elks lodge in their sights for demolition. Once the Milwaukie MAX is run down that way, the lodge would be torn down and replaced by low-income housing, to the enrichment of some favored developer and to the detriment of the folks who currently use the place.

What would it take to stop this? It's not entirely clear, but according to the locals, strengthening the membership rolls at the lodge might be a step in the right direction. Without more members, the Elks won't be able to fend off the bad apartments. The dues are reportedly dirt cheap -- something like $140 a year for a family. We never thought we'd be tempted, but it might be worth a small investment to become an Elk (or some sort of Elk affiliate) down there, if for no other reason than to make a statement against the spread of the hideous bunkers that are sucking the character out of our area.

Comments (35)

I was there.
Went there as a kid too.
The facility is a spectacular community center with an 8 lane bowling alley, basketball court, racket ball court, weight room, dance studio, restaurant, bar, card/poker room, sports bar, billiard room, meeting rooms and a grand hall used for many community parties over the decades.

The idea of demolishing it is as insane as government can get.

However, they do NOT have a sale agreement with the county yet and with an uptick in membership the letter of intent can be withdrawn. Saving the place for generations to come.

Anyone anywhere near the place has been encouraged to join at the ridiculously affordable rate of $140.00/year for an entire family.
There are no other dues or requirements at all.

This is happening with a lot of fraternal organizations. The Masonic Lodge at Sandy and 57th was recently sold because the Lodge's membership had dwindled. Like the Elks, they wanted to focus on fellowship and charitable works instead of maintaining a huge building. Younger generations volunteer quite a bit but for some reason the fraternal societies like the Elks and Masons don't appeal to them.

Well this facility should to everyone and they would quickly realize the tremendous charity work they do.

In addition to the fabulous facility this Elks Club membership has been engaged in major charity work for over 55 years: Veterans programs, feeding the hungry, and youth programs including Childrens Eye Clinic, drug awareness programs, Scholarship programs, Meadow Wood Springs Speech & Hearing Camp, and Hoop shoot program.

It is a great place for community classes such as the Power Squadron boating classes we took there.

Today's developer's latest strategy is to sleuth out operations with weak bylaws, put their operatives on the board, maybe fix up the place at the expense of the members, then make off with the property. We saw one somewhere else get away with changing the documents with the State even tho' the membership voted against the change.

The question now is who is on the Milwaukie Elks Board making this deal?

It would make for a great community center, but I'm guessing North Clackamas Parks doesn't have the money right now to buy and upgrade it . . .

Half of the commercial buildings right in that area are vacant and for lease. It would be insane to level a place that actually gets used so you can build more crappy apartments. Pure insanity.

Again more hypocrisy...
The "talk" is community, community, community, but let us not forget,
I think what is meant is a certain "brand" of community to have control over.
We cannot have independent places now, can we?
We cannot have people in their own community taking care of their own community needs now, can we?

I saw the write up and pictures of the landmark.
How in the world can they tear down this place, bowling alley and all for density apartments? The membership may be at a low ebb now. I believe a center like this will be needed in future years.

Before we go tearing everything down in site that isn’t “today modern” think!

We are "told" millions more are coming, wouldn't there be a need for this community building? I believe we have added enough people right now that the lodge would be most useful for and the kitchen facility for 500 people! But the deal is this. Tear it down, and then come back to the citizens and ask for more bonds and debt, to build a new community center now, need a kitchen for meals for Seniors? Need more places for kids to go to for exercise? There is a basketball court, etc. - great place for kids to exercise, but I guess we have to build a new one instead! Bowling is becoming more popular, how much will it cost to get a good floor as that one in place?

We are running out of money to build new centers. It just amazes me that we have to tear down everything in site that doesn’t fit the profile for some. Maybe a simple change of the name in some of literature like The Elks Health Club might bring in more membership. Start offering a yoga class or two. Bring in various music concerts. I hear Tango is very big right now in our area. Offer a dance floor for Tango and your membership will increase.

Has there been within the organization concepts to increase membership for what looks to be a wonderful building for the community to do that? It makes me also wonder who is in charge of making the decision there to downsize? When there is this kind of land, and a "proposed" rail nearby, a movement may have been put in place to go that direction instead.

Our country is going through a transition and enormous changes may be coming, my sense of it is that we are going to need that building for that community much more than more apartment bunkers.

If it is just about the money, and only money, I hope for a change in the wind about that, as human needs have been kept low on the totem pole for far too long. In my view, that building is worth far more to the people of that community than "money changing hands!"

Anyone who tours this facility will have their jaw drop at the thought of tearing it down.

The Elks have not had a campaign to increase the membership.
It's been more like a frog in boiling water slowly grinding away resistance to preservation. But they are not very weak or encumbered at all.

A relatively few new members are needed to reverse the sale and preserve the facility for decades.
A few hundred and the trend this publicity will produce to get people aware of the great opportunity for their families, seniors and clubs to use and more members will eagerly come on board.

The building itself is link a bunker. A very stable, structured concrete 63,000 sq ft building and facility that would likely cost $20 million if it were being built as a community center today.

Go see it tonight at 6:30 or earlier for drinks or dinner, and see it for yourself.

Does one have to be a member to go to see this or have dinner there?

If not having to be a member, more folks at least to check it out, might support the place and then decide if they want to become a member.

As Jack mentioned that membership might be a worthwhile investment.

My father tried to tell me that the Elks shouldn't be supported because they are racists - excluding African-Americans.

But he's way behind the times - a little digging finds stories that the national Elks revoked this policy in 1973. There are a smattering of later stories about local lodges still discriminating.

I'm assuming the Milwaukie Elks Lodge is not one of them.

There's a great old song about the Elks:

Here is the link for the location

Clinamen, tonight anyone can go. Not sure about other nights.

Benjamin J. I was there a week ago for the meeting and saw some black guys, so I'm guessing they are not racist. What a weird thought....

Of course it is Benjamin who tries to taint this effort.

Sounds more and more like local politicians and planners, in Supreme Court sanctioned collusion with big banks and real estate development corporations, have got Milwaukie squarely in the crosshairs.

"It's for the polar bears."

What a weird thought....

It's not that weird of a thought. Until a few decades ago they really did discriminate against blacks as policy. In certain parts of the country it's evident there's either some mind-boggling self-selection going on or de-facto racism, if not de-jure.

Today some Masonic lodges still exclude blacks. Grand Lodges in the south won't recognize the Prince Hall lodges African-Americans mostly belong to to this day.

Not that I'd want to, but I could never be an Elk as they still discriminate against atheists. Women weren't allowed in until the 90s and that's only because they were breaking the law.

Ben, dude... two words... eminent domain and one Supreme Court case...

Kelo v. City of New London

The beginning of the Stupremes becoming total tools of business...

I think this decision is so wrong it's not funny but you Clackastani rebels need to have your eyes open.

Speaking of Kelo: the Oregon statute (ORS Ch. 457)that defines "blighted" for urban renewal districts has one item that says if the property has a prevalence of depreciated values and impaired investments, it can be determined to be blighted. That includes pretty much every property everywhere and gives government carte blanche about where they target for development. Can this definition be removed from state law without being in conflict with Kelo vs City of New London?

Fraternal Organizations used to be a cross between a Community Center and a self help organization.

Until a few decades ago they really did discriminate against blacks as policy.

Until a few decades ago the Democratic Party discriminated against blacks as policy.

The Congressional Black Caucus discriminates against whites. They refused to seat a black congressman who is not a Democrat and a white congressman who was elected in a majority black district.

The problem that some people have against Fraternal Organization is that they are private and in real life most people self-segregate.

But that's usually the same people that have not problem with the 'Diversity' Commissars sorting students by race.


What makes you think the Clackistani rebels,
or at least most and their lawlers are not abundantly aware of KELO?

If you think the effort to save the Elks is futile because KELO is an option for the county then it is you who needs eyes opened.

How do you think an effort by the county to use ED to demolish the Elks community center would go over?

Ben - Your lawyers may be aware and all but yeah I am cynical enough to think your efforts are doomed. Because I think the pols answer to their moneyed masters and not voters... and that goes for Clackistan as well as elsewhere.

Ben, instead of responding with an ad hominem attack, you could have written:

"The Milwaukie Elks Club does not discriminate in terms of membership or attendance at club events on the basis of race."

Unless that statement isn't true.


That was hardly an ah attack.

It was a reference to your recent posts.


I assume you talking about saving the Elks facility?

The county housing authority does not have a sale wrapped up, the Elks doesn't need much help to pull out of the County's letter of intent agreement and any action to use eminent domain would be met with a huge public firestorm they would lose.

Having been beaten so bad with their recent attempts at tyranny I also believe they would not even attempt an eminent domain action.

But I get your point.

I see this as one of the problems with our UGB. Land within becomes scarce, particularly large parcels and so then anything can become fair game and is more vulnerable to be taken down. School properties are vulnerable now. Publicly owned land vulnerable as well, such as Johnswood Park in St.Johns that was sold for a housing development.

Ben, you seem to be in the know about this particular proposed sale or condemnation, as you've mentioned a letter of intent and a specific agency (the housing agency) that is a party to the negotiation. Perhaps you're an Elks member? Is there some publicly available information about the transaction you can link us to? I'm curious to know who approached whom and what are some of the preliminary figures that are being discussed.

After the Clackistani rebels who attended this,

discovered the planned demolition some of them met with Elks leadership to explore how to save the facility.

There is a letter of intent but no sale agreement or earnest money agreement.

The property is owned free and clear so there is no debt service problem.

It's just a membership problem.

Out of a broad spectrum of scenarios to potentially save the Elks (community center) Lodge the easiest way by far is an increased membership.

So by persuading more families to get the bargain of $12/month for membership and full access the building can be saved.

It's my understanding some 45 new members already signed up and a 100 or so is needed quickly to begin turning the demolition away.
Ultimately with 500 to 10000 or more new members long term financial stability will keep the building as well as provide funds for maintenance and upgrades.

It is the finest community center in the county. Allowing government to tear it down would be a travesty.

Go spread the word and encourage people to join.

If they fail to get enough new members I think it would be much preferable to sell the center to McMenamins, they would make much better use of that building than the weasel developers.

There was a big turn out for tours last night and membership is nearly irresistible for anyone checking it out.
I'm optimistic it will be preserved.

However there is no other buyer or current option to sell to anyone other than housing authority who plans on callously demolishing the entire facility.

So please help get the new members.

It doesn't even take any selling. Just let people know about it and families will join. It's a bargain no other facility offers.

Or individuals who would like to use the facility and use it for various outside group meetings and activities.

Even non-members can rent space for gatherings or parties if they know a member who will invite the group.


My understanding is the sales price is around $4.3 million for the facility and 15 acres that includes significant frontage on McLoughlin Blvd.

I commented earlier that it just amazes me that we have to tear down everything in site that doesn’t fit the profile for some.

In my opinion, Elks and the building doesn't fit the profile for the "urban planners" and others who want to come into our neighborhoods and other areas. It may be seen as blight by certain eyes. They would instead tear down a good facility and then eventually come back as I said to ask for bonds and more debt to our community for their version and control of a new community center.

I hope it doesn't come to this, but at some point, plans may be afoot to proceed and as mentioned prior, a development may come in to save just a certain portion of the complex. This then can divide the community by compromising most of it away, "better to have something saved anyway" idea.

This nonsense has been going on for a long, long time. It started long before Goldy, Vera, Hales, Scam Adams, etc.

In 1980, Vera was a nobody state rep. And who knows what Hales and baby Sammy were up to.

In the 70s and early 80s, the weasels were gutting historic buildings downtown and anyone who protested was standing in the way of progress and free enterprise. The the once splendid Congress Hotel was torn down for the sheet of glass bank building renamed several time and now ironically called Congress center.

Nice remembrance here:

And of course going back farther back in time, the PDC started its thuggery in the 1960s (before my arrival here),_Oregon#Planning_and_development

"The Portland Development Commission is a semi-public agency that plays a major role in downtown development; it was created by city voters in 1958 to serve as the city's urban renewal agency. It provides housing and economic development programs within the city, and works behind the scenes with major local developers to create large projects.

In the early 1960s, the PDC led the razing of a large Italian-Jewish neighborhood downtown, bounded roughly by the I-405 freeway, the Willamette River, 4th Avenue and Market street."

Too bad there was no diversity agency to stop them from kicking the ethnic whites out of downtown.

If you connect the dots, the real villian here is the existence of the PDC. Maybe they could be put out of existence by a ballot initiative. Just sayin.

Ben said: However there is no other buyer or current option to sell to anyone other than housing authority who plans on callously demolishing the entire facility.

Is there a reason they wouldn't put it on the open market and try to attract a better use/buyer? Like McMenamins, or something that would actually use the building? (A much greener option.)

Thanks for a bit of history here.
In my view we have had enough of PDC and projects to last for decades.
Maybe people are exhausted with PDC and urban renewal, is that why they have come out with another project/name called Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative, a smaller version of urban renewal?

The Elks had the property listed for some time.

Aging and declining membership took it's toll and membership finally gave in to a county offer.
But the membership wants to save there lodge if at all possible.

The bar to do so is quite low. They have no debt or any other major obstacles. They simply need more members to cover operating costs and usual repairs.

IMO the only reason they haven't picked up more members is years of obscurity led to very few people realizing what was there and available.

Get the word and encourage people to visit and get a tour.

Well, spread the word then, there might be many families who would like to know of this place, sounds great.

I like Jack's idea of investing in this to save it and stop the bunker movement.

Thanks for the info Ben.


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