New posting 12-25-17 Merry Christmas!
After Mayor Van Hunsaker removed Jeff Lamb as fundraising chairman in the fall of 1994 many promises that had been made were never fulfilled. Jeff had attempted for the past two decades to have the city honor those agreements and promises unsuccessfully. One of those promises was to honor Jani Burton's husband Floyd Burton who had been killed in an auto accident, funding had been established to purchase a flagpole for the library and have the flag presented to her by the military as a veteran and would be raised for the grand opening of Philomath's new library. Not only did that never happen but other promises and commitments also never happened. City manager Chris Workman's February 22, 2017 letter acknowledges some of the obligations that were never met. The March 8, 2017 news story below addresses some of those issues. Jeff Lamb
This page is about the history of the Philomath Library and how it came to be as we know it today. As you read and scroll down the page you'll see many articles about the trials and tribulations involved in making this project a reality. It was my pleasure to have been involved with the Philomath Library Project as fundraising chairman and work with the many people and organizations that helped make our dream come true.
The original Philomath Library was built in 1938 and occupied a little less than 1,000 square feet, located in the back of city hall on Main Street. In the 1970's when Philomath began to grow it became apparent that the library was inadequate and would need to find a new home.
The lack of funding always was an obstacle to pursuing that dream.
In 1985 the Philomath Library joined the Corvallis-Benton County Library System. In the spring of 1989 the Philomath City Council appointed a committee to consider a new library facility. Later that year supporters of the library formed "PALS" Philomath Area Library Supporters.
In 1990 the community was once again talking about a new library but funding was still the main obstacle. In the fall of the year the council appointed a site selection committee.
In January 1991 the site selection committee evaluates 17 sites, and recomends to the city site 4-B which was 11th & Applegate, partialy because it would use only 25% of the 4 acres, is adjacent to the Mary's River Park, and fits with the Philomath 2000 master plan to create a new Civic Center.
Philomath 2000 project played the lead roll in obtaining the required matching funds to qualify for the federal library construction grant valued at $125,000. This letter from David Young chair of the library steering committee confirms Philomath 2000 Projects contribution. Jeff Lamb was the fundraising Chairman for the Philomath Library Project 1991-1995.
NOTE: From Jeff's early 80's work with various community service groups, but particularly with Philomath 2000 Project's vision for a civic center for the community which started with the acquisition from the Olsen family homestead (Marys River Park), to his leadership on the nationally acclaimed Philomath Library Project, who would have ever thought that his years of dedication and service would end with Philomath City officials accusing him of misappropriating library funds and accusing Philomath 2000 Project of reneging on their $30,000 pledge to help build the library. Mr. Lamb's inquiry about missing money with the city led to his removal by Mayor Van Hunsaker and city manager Hal Million. The newspapers used this issue repeatedly to impugn Jeff Lamb's character. Fundraising chairman Jeff Lamb called for a public audit of the library project. Yes money was missing, $40,000. To see how the city pulled this off and got away with it read the audit.
The kick off for the Philomath Library Project started with a controlled burn where the library would be built. It gathered widespread printed media and TV coverage which is incorporated in the library video link "What's Right With America" posted on this site.
Jeff Lamb presents Renee' Glass with an award for her employers generous donation of tree and shrubs, not only for the Library project but also for the museum, the caboose, mary's River Park and other areas around town. The donation by Oregon Garden Products (120 tons) was valued at $52,955 said Renee' Glass a company employee that had arranged for the transportation from it's Hillsboro Oregon site.
The federal government shut down the library project because of the Davis Bacon Labor Act and AP picked up this story and it ran across the country, people really did rise up over the governments threats to shut down the project and not let the people of Philomath build a new library using volunteers.
This letter to mayor Van Hunsaker is self explanatory and my attempt to handle this issue quietly and professionally and remind everybody that we're all trying to accomplish the same goal as I always try to do.
As the issue with the Davis Bacon Labor Act was resolved and the department of labor gave Philomath a waver the volunteers went back to work through the spring of 1993. Senator Mark Hatfield's "As I See It" brought a lot of pride to our community and helped with our fundraising efforts. We were also reaching out to President Clinton to recognize Philomath's efforts at the upcoming Forest Summit.
The Talent show and library fundraiser was a huge success. The Blues Brothers aka Bob Boss & Larry Sleeman were a very hard act to follow but the supremes pulled it of without a hitch.
The "Three Supreems" Dr. Bruce Byram, Dr. David Cutsforth and Dr. David Grube Oldies but goodies!
In July the federal government was back in Philomath declaring that the library site and future civic center was wetlands once again bringing things to a halt.
Jeff asked his friend Merle Hagard if he'd dedicate his show at the fairgrounds to the library and he did.
The wetlands issue so upset the community that there was a little unofficial contest to see who could best describe wetlands. The winner is below and was shared with many of our elected officials both nationally and locally and I'm sure helped ultimately resolve the issue in October 1993.
As we got into the fall of 1993 the fundraising committee wanted to know what had happened to the financial pledges the city had made. The city in return asked us to account for our fundraising charges. The letter below was written to the city council to address those concerns with fundraising expenditures and costs. The letter is self explanatory.
We supplied the council also with a listing of what other organizations would typically spend on fundraising to emphasize that the 2% figure beat everybody else hands down, and we were proud of our delivering 98% to the project.
The progress of the library and various fundraising events were produce so we'd have a history of those involved.
Listed below are the many wonderful people, organizations and various governmental entities that made the Philomath Library Project the talk of the nation. The director of Corvallis/Benton County Library's Deborah Jacobs was honored with the national title Librarian of the Year 1994 in great part due to the success of this innovative barn raising project. The amendment to Davis Bacon labor Act exempts community self help projects that receive small federal grants. This project changed the law of the land and had a far bigger impact than just the Philomath Library. Photo's, video and national news coverage coming to our website soon.
This fundraiser was very well attended and it poured rained everywhere but 10th and Main downtown Philomath. See article below
As we approach the end of the year Mayor Van Hunsaker informed the library steering committee that the city didn't owe any more money on the library project and called for a special city council library workshop meeting to discuss issues.
The city sent this city newsletter out in October with relevant event listed.
We had asked people to be respectful and remember that Senator Packwood had been helpful in attaining a waiver for the Library project. We had a large turnout and more media than I can remember, we told the library story and didn't have any unexpected events.
As we started the new year 1994 the city manager drew up a new expenditure policy that had a direct impact on the fundraising committee ability to conduct its business without prior city manager approval.
Once the wetlands issue was resolved the Oregon National Guard 224th engineering based in Albany Oregon was asked in October of 1993 if they would help with the erosion of Mary's River Park. It was eating away the park every year and we also needed site prep for the new library, city hall and or the new community center or police station. The AFLCIO complained to the commanding general, Maj. Gen. Gene A. Katke of the Oregon National Guard that the work should only be done by union people and the gaurd would not be coming to Philomath. This pitted the unions, the National Guard and Governor Barbara Roberts off against each other.
We had asked the guard in the fall of 1993 for their help and initially they agreed.
When Denny Smith, a candidate for governor, read the news coverage how the national guard had changed their mind and were not going to come to Philomath he called me and offered his help. I sent him the information he had requested, he wanted to talk to governor Barbara Roberts about this issue.
The fundraiser talent show in May of 1993 was such a big success that we decided to have a second one on April 30, 1994 at the Philomath High School gym. Once again the community came together to support the effort and we had a huge turnout and we all enjoyed an evening together and raised more money for the Library Project.
The library project was about to overcome another major setback. Some things changed up in Salem at the Oregon National guard headquarters with Governor Barbara Roberts appointing Gen. Alexander Burgin as the new adjutant. We were informed that the guard would be coming to Philomath after all and a delegation would also be coming to work out the details.
The delegation from Governor Roberts office and the National guard discuss details of working on Mary's River Park river bank and building up the area on Applegate Street between 11th and 9th Streets inside the new library May 6, 1994. In the photo from left to right starting with Mike Van Atta chamber of commerce, mayor Van Hunsaker, Danny Santos, Jeff Lamb, city manager Hal Million, Col. Mike Caldwell, two support staff and Gen. Alex Burgin. Hanging on the wall in the background are the plans for Philomath's new Civic Center.
Not only was the news good on the National Guard issue being resolved, but as we were looking forward to the community wide potluck dinner to celebrate moving forward on the library we also had confirmation on the new legislation allowing volunteers to work on federally funded community projects as stated in the Benton Bulletin article below June 16, 1994.
Not everything was good news however as the fundraising committee continued to ask questions about library finances the less information was given. See July 18, 1994 letter below to Phyllis Beggs city finance director.
The guard shows up with their equipment and their people and went to work both on the river bank and the front portion of the park which would ultimately become our new civic center. The community wanted to show its gratitude by hosting a potluck dinner at Mary's River Park, the date was set for August 5, 1994. See flier below.
Pictured from left to right: Danny Santos, Gen. Alex Burgin, Jeff Lamb and Denny Smith.
Mayor Van Hunsaker's December 6, 1993 special Joint Library Workshop was prompted by the fundraising committee asking that the city to make good on its financial pledge for the library. The differences were not resolved but the mayor was successful in publicizing and politicizing the issue in the press. Little did the steering and fundraising committee know that the mayor and city manager had put a plan in motion to short change the library project. Things started to become very contentious during and after the National Guard issue was being resolved to Philomath's benefit, I may say. We had invited Senator Mark Hatfield a year earlier, one of the libraries champions, to Philomath and were informed in August 1994 that he would tour the library on September 2, 1994. It didn't help that Jeff had fallen out of favour with the powers to be at city hall over library funds, and to make matters worse Jeff had announced his candidacy for mayor of Philomath earlier in the year. The mayor and city manager didn't need or want Jeff to officiate Senator Hatfield's visit like they asked him to do with Senator Packwood, they worked up the agenda and froze Jeff out of the program. The day senator Hatfield visited the library Phyllis Beggs, the cities finance director, sent a memo to the library steering committee that the library fundraising was complete. See document below. This was the cover for the city manager declaring publicly that the library fundraising had been completed when in fact it had not. Understandably this surprised the entire library steering committee and it was decided that Dave Young the co-chair should talk to the mayor and city manager about this being made public on such short notice and not being factual.
Senator Hatfields visit to the library went off without a hitch and we had standing room only at the library. Jeff's September 9, 1994 letter to the library steering committee and city council was an attempt to get everybody on the same page as to funding discrepancies and better communication between the city and the library committee. The minutes of the library committee meeting of September 9, 1994 show that it was agreed Dave Young would talk to the city manager and mayor about the fundraising for the library being completed when in fact it wasn't. More importantly Jeff was still trying to find out why the fundraising committee was charged $46,000 as reflected in the August 12,1994 library committee minutes.
At the library steering committee's meeting September 9, 1994 it was decided Dave Young would talk to mayor Van Hunsaker and city manager Hal Million over the weekend so everybody would be up to speed and ready for Monday night's city council meeting September 12, 1994. Mayor Van Hunsaker was absent and so was Dave Young and everybody was not on the same page. Jeff did address the council under Visitors and Petitions in an effort to bring these issues to the council's attention. He was told by the city manager that if he didn't like the policies, he could bring his concerns to the council. The library committee should have seen the handwriting on the wall, the accounting from the city was constantly changing and the library project had become eminent and there was no stopping the project now.
The library steering committee held a special meeting September 20, 1994 to ask for the cities help in obtaining some answers on the library projects financial standing in its various different accounts. The city council meeting of September 12, 1994 did not go well and the steering committee as a whole wanted some answers. We knew that the council had instructed the city manager to submit his report to them at the September 26, 1994 council meeting on the differences that were raised during Senator Hatfield's visit.
In preparation for the September 26, 1994 city council meeting this letter was presented in conjunction with the letter signed by Dave Young and Teresa Boss dated September 21, 1994. The city council was scheduled to discuss questions from the library committee but that did not happen. City manager Hal Million distributed his report to the council about funding discrepancies and his response to the fundraising chairman's questions about the cities portion of the library project. Also his public declaration that the library funding requirements had been completed and we didn't need anymore money during senator Hatfield's visit. Hal Millions report was so damning of the fundraising chairman that this item of business was rescheduled between the full library steering committee for October 7, 1994 with the mayor and city manager. Jeff felt that because the city managers report had now become a public document with many false allegations that he needed to issue his own report. In the days leading up to the October 7, 1994 meeting it became clear that the personal attacks on the fundraising chairman were nothing more than a diversion from the real issue which was the various libraries financial accounts that the city had control of.
One of the many charges and allegations in city manager Hal Million's September 26, 1994 report to the city council was that Philomath 2000 Project reneged on its $30,000 pledge for the library and that the mayor and city council remove the fundraising chairman from the library project. That prompted fundraising chairman Jeff Lamb to call for a full audit of all library accounts. The mayor and city manager with the help of the press were able to divide the community and were now in a position to execute their plan to remove Jeff Lamb, who was also president of the Philomath 2000 Project. The letter below October 7, 1994 from Project 2000 to the Philomath city council points out that the city managers allegations are false, but the damage had already been done and played out in the press and mayor Hunsaker would remove Jeff Lamb the following day, October 8, 1994. See letters below.
For the short term the mayor and city manager had won a victory with my removal, there would be no more nagging questions about library money. everybody also found out the hard way that when you volunteer you give up your civil rights and any chance of redress.
The cities accusations that Philomath 2000 had reneged on its pledge for the library not only were aimed at the fundraising chairman but also at the president of Philomath 2000 Jeff Lamb. The city was given letters of intent and pledges that Philomath 2000 secured that exceeded $65,000. They new when they made those charges they were false but necessary to have Jeff Lamb removed from the library project. Those same documents were given to auditors Price, Koontz & Davies and prompted the city manager to send the 10-25-1994 letter below with following quote "The council regrets the misunderstanding and any embarrassment the group may have experienced".
The mayor and city manager had succeeded in publicizing and politicizing the fundraising chairman and his removal. It would take 4 months before the auditors findings become public and Jeff Lamb and Philomath 2000 were cleared of this one very damaging accusation.
This story ran in the Gazette-Times January 28, 1995 and publicly states that Philomath 2000 met and exceeded its $30,000 to the library project. It also explains to a degree where some of the missing funds went. The city charged the library project $40,000 for administrative services and office supplies. There was never to be any administrative fees involved. To quote Jeff Lamb "Those charges, while not illegal violated the vary concept and spirit of working together. I feel like the city hi-jacket the project from the people".
NOTE: Full page Gazette-Times acknowledgement paid for by Jeff Lamb
This project was initially shut down by the federal government over provisions in the David Bacon Labor Act of 1931. Jeff worked with Senators Hatfield and Packwood and others to obtain an exemption for Philomath. He also worked with many legislators on an amendment "Community Improvement Volunteer Act of 1994." Click the image below to view in larger format.