Equipment auction supports community building

Geoff Parks/For the Capital Press John Gooley is past president of the Mount Angel, Ore., Oktoberfest and a committee member helping organize an auction on March 31 to pay for the first phase of the construction of the Festhalle community center.

Nonprofit group seeks donated equipment to sell for Festhalle project

By GEOFF PARKS

For the Capital Press

MOUNT ANGEL, Ore. -- Money raised at a farm equipment auction to be held at the Mount Angel Oktoberfest's year-old community building March 31 will be used to help pay off the remainder of the building's initial $2.4 million price tag.

John Gooley, past president of the Oktoberfest and one of three coordinators of the event, said the group hopes the auction of about 60 or more tractors, implements and other "good, usable" farm equipment will raise much of the more than $100,000 still owed.

A similar auction in April 2010 raised about $60,000 towards the cost of the 22,250-square-foot structure, christened the Festhalle, or festival hall. Construction began in January 2011 and was completed on Sept. 8, just a week prior to the opening of the community's Oktoberfest celebration that year.

The Mount Angel Community Foundation is the nonprofit organization gathering the funds for the new building. Its president, Lori Pavlicek, and foundation member Randy Wavra are the other two building committee members.

"The idea at the beginning of the process was to apply for grants with a goal of raising the $1 million needed to match $1 million in grants," he said. "But the (total) cost ended up to be $2.4 million."

Gooley said he hopes the March 31 auction will raise at least $60,000 so the foundation can retire the debt on Phase One of the project and move on to Phase Two.

That phase will add a $250,000 suite of board and meeting rooms to the upper floor of the the two-story structure. Phase Three will add a mezzanine area around the midsection of the building's interior.

"We all knew it would be a five-year project when we started this building," Gooley said.

Wavra, who is an employee of Fisher Farm and Lawn in Salem, said he's more than willing to tap his customers on the shoulder for another auction donation this year.

"I've got a lot of contacts" in the farm industry, he said. "They have used equipment or equipment that's not used anymore that they can donate."

He said the auction hasn't received any "big ticket items as of yet, though we do have a forklift, a post-pounder and some other smaller pieces of equipment."

Wavra said those wishing to donate equipment for the auction should contact him at 503-871-1326.

Gooley called Wavra "the kingpin of this auction and a great resource with his customers for equipment."

"And the farmers in our community step up real well."

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