Gene's Note: Rebuilding Together
The Butte Creek Mill proudly stood as a living treasure in Eagle Point for over 100 years. I grew up in a small house in Eagle Point, just across Little Butte Creek, where I could see the historic mill each day. The Butte Creek Mill played an important role throughout my early years. The mill was always there… while in my back yard, on my walk to school, and during quiet times of reflection in the park just across the creek.I remember as a young adult, my wife and I rented a meat locker in the mill’s cold storage as a newly married couple without the funds to buy a freezer. The mill was always such a special place and a constant in my life.
On November 8th, 2015, I was visiting town and walked through the little park across the creek from the mill, reflecting on what growing up in Eagle Point meant to me. This park was the place where I found peace as a teenager and it was a place that I found peace that beautiful day. As I walked through the park, I was struck once again, by the mill’s beauty and considered how this building had served as a shining example of all that was good about my hometown. I took this picture not knowing it would be the last time I would see the Butte Creek Mill in its original glory before the devastating Christmas morning fire less than two months later.
We lost an amazing piece of history Christmas morning the following month. A piece of history that served as a symbol of Eagle Point’s pioneer spirit. When I first heard of the fire, I felt this overwhelming sense of loss because I knew that we had lost a community treasure. While I was hurt by the loss, at the same time, I was encouraged by the determination displayed, as the community rallied together around the rebuilding effort. It was clear that while we lost the building, we did not lose the heart of what the building stood for.
The beacon of Eagle Point’s pioneering spirit served as a catalyst for the community to come together to move past the loss and embrace the hope for the future. The Butte Creek Mill Foundation was formed quickly after the fire and almost immediately support came rushing in from community members, local businesses, and even national organizations. Local contractors and world-renowned artisans are not just rebuilding the mill, but they are rebuilding a community treasure that will serve as a shining example of how celebrating our past can build a brighter future.
I am so proud to be part of Rogue Credit Union because YOU, our loyal member-owners, were no exception to the generous community spirit that was on display! This January, Rogue Credit Union began accepting donations for the Butte Creek Mill Foundation and pledged to match these donations dollar for dollar, up to $5,000. Your generosity led to a total donation of $14,580! During the process, I had a chance to visit with many donors -- rebuilding the Butte Creek Mill is about so much more than money…it is about being part of joining together to make our community a better place to live!
As I presented the check representing your donations in the midst of the rebuilding effort, I was awed by beautiful hand-hewn timbers and enjoyed the aroma of fresh cut wood. At that moment, I was taken back to the memories of the many times that the Butte Creek Mill served as an anchor for all that is good in my life!
In just a few short years, the Butte Creek Mill Foundation was able to raise the majority of the funds needed to rebuild the mill, which is set to open later this year. The community leaders that led this monumental effort overcame many challenges, but always persevered because they knew how important rebuilding the mill was to the community. This fundraising effort is just another incredible example of the power of people coming together to become part of something bigger. Every small donation and hour volunteered have made it possible to bring back this historic icon. Together, when we put aside our differences and embrace our common purpose, we have more strength than we can imagine. I sincerely thank all of you for your incredible commitment to our community and being a part of rebuilding the Butte Creek Mill.
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