History of West Tuality Habitat for Humanity
In 1990, a small group of forward-thinking Forest Grove residents began to consider starting a local chapter of Habitat for Humanity. This group included Richard Osburn, Frank Blair, Lois Campbell, Theola Van Loo, Bill Bash, Tim Schauermann, Lauren Waltz, Lois Stevens, Ida Smith, Tim King, Harold Meyer, Kathryn Ferrie, Betty Weddell, and Bill Hoover. It took a considerable amount of organizing, and coordinating with Habitat International to get all the necessary paperwork completed, but before long the group was beginning to fund raise so they could start building homes. Attorney Stephanie Lommen helped with the articles of incorporation and by-laws. The United Church of Christ in Forest Grove, and the Emmanuel Lutheran Church of Cornelius were both covenant churches supporting Wet Tuality Habitat for Humanity.
Lauren Waltz sold West Tuality Habitat the first lot at a discount. The house built on this ‘B’ Street lot became the home of the Cardenas family. In 2013, the Cardenas family has almost completed paying off their mortgage on this house. The second house was a ‘rehab’ done on a place that Frank Blair donated to West Tuality. This house is located on Pacific Ave, and once the place had been set on a new foundation, and fully rehabilitated, Bobby and Grace Kral moved in. Much of the work force came from local service organizations and church volunteer groups. Experts in required areas also donated time. Grace was the first West Tuality partner/homeowner to finish paying her house off.
From the beginning, committees were busy with fundraising, organizing events, searching for property to build on, selecting partner families, etc. A Walkathon was organized by Bill Bash to raise community awareness, and funds. Many dedicated board members have followed in the footsteps of the original group.
Over the years, more houses were built, including 2 side by side in Cornelius at 19th and Alpine, a single house in Forest Grove near 14th and Elm, and then a duplex at 21st Place. The chapter began a very small ReStore in some donated warehouse space in 2008 A small band of volunteers dedicated to making this successful included Glenn Cooper, Tom Raabe, Ray Giansante, and Diane Wiley. That group expanded and we soon outgrew the small space that Henningsen’s Cold Storage had given us, and began searching for more room. We moved into our current location on Hwy 8 in October of 2010. We currently have our most ambitious building project currently under way, with 5 town houses going up on one street at 19th and Oak Streets in Forest Grove. The sky seems to be the limit.