Seventy years ago the "big red building" on the banks of the McKenzie River was built by local residents as a place to gather for fun, learning, and celebration.
Today, the Upper McKenzie Community Center serves as a vibrant community gathering space and versatile community resource hub. The organization and events are run by volunteers, and funded by Membership, donations, and rentals.
The Big Red Building's History
Seventy years ago, residents of the McKenzie Valley had an idea- to form an association and build a community center. At the second meeting to discuss a community clubhouse, Pete Lowry came up with the name Upper McKenzie Community Center.
Construction began in 1953 on 10 acres donated by Mr. & Mrs. Herb Person, to be used as long as it remained home to the center. Most materials were donated as well as the volunteer labor to build the 2400 square foot building. Some lumber was cut and finished right on site. By 1958, the center was well underway and a non-profit corporation was formed to maintain the building and grounds.
Formal objectives of the corporation were "to promote social fellowship and companionship among it’s members and residents of the Upper McKenzie River community, furnish a meeting place for the furtherance of such objectives where recreation and entertainment may be had and refreshments may be served, and to work for the general welfare of the Upper McKenzie River community."
Today, the Upper McKenzie Community Center serves all residents in the upper McKenzie River valley, including the towns of Blue River, Rainbow, and McKenzie Bridge. Our community involvement includes age ranges from children who come for story hour at the library, up to the ladies in the knitting club in their eighties. Serving as a warming and cooling center, a relief center after the Holiday Farm Fire, a place for locals interests and classes, gatherings, celebrations, and community fun.
We would like to show our gratitude to the following organizations that have provided funding for our building:
Bottle Boys, Cycle Oregon, Ford Family Foundation, Lane Electric, McKenzie Chamber of Commerce, Oregon Community Foundation, Roundhouse Foundation, United Way, Jerry's Home Improvement Center, and the Peter J. and Wilma Tashnovian Fund of Oregon Community Foundation.