By Rick Eaton
Executive Director of Sierra Service Project
The town of Chiloquin, Oregon (population: about 700) was once a bustling lumber town. Today, its economic base is gone, dozens of houses are boarded up or empty, unemployment is the norm, and drug and alcohol abuse are major problems. Youth lack after school activities and vandalism is prevalent.
Despite this, many residents are hopeful. Three years ago, SSP entered into a partnership with the local United Methodist Church, a committed group of twenty regular worshipers. Since then, one thousand volunteers have spent a week in Chiloquin repairing homes, building fences, working in state parks, and painting buildings. SSP’s presence has added momentum to a movement to create a new, positive future for Chiloquin.
Despite this, many residents are hopeful.
This summer, SSP volunteers have painted the Hirvi Building in the heart of Chiloquin’s nearly-empty business district. This prominent building, which once housed the town’s bank, has stood empty for decades.
Throughout the summer, countless residents stopped by the Hirvi Building to thank our volunteers for their work. The project has triggered a ripple effect of downtown beautification efforts: two nearby businesses were inspired to paint their facades, and the local volunteer fire department finished repairing the front of their offices. The local paper, Herald & News, highlighted SSP’s work in this front page article last week.
We have faith that the transformation that has begun will continue!
Sierra Service Project is excited to continue our work in Chiloquin in the summer of 2016, and for many years to come. We have faith that the transformation that has begun will continue!