Keeping Community Treasures permanent and community-centered| Guest Column

Submitted by Frank Penwell

Community Treasures’ president

On Aug. 4, a gathering of about 80 Community Treasures Recycling Supporters met for dinner and entertainment featuring Terry Lush on accordion, heard a presentation about the “CT Evolution”, and listened to Jimmy Moe sing several Bing Crosby tunes. A link will be posted at The presentation reviewed the Christian tenets that were the underpinnings of starting CT, and it showed the role that the Lions Club played in starting CT through its ROAR program, aluminum can recycling from 2004-2008.

A review of the broad clientele, activities CT is involved in, services provided to the community, and benefits of CT to the public was presented. A plan to be proactive in establishing CT as a permanent community thrift shop and recycling center was announced.  The CT board would like CT to evolve into an independent, permanent charitable community thrift shop and recycling center.  To do this CT must be independent, and debt-free. Currently, operations are dependent upon the generosity of the property owners, as CT does not own the land or equipment it uses.

A review of the County Land Use Map and quotes from County Public Records requests and San Juan County Planning Commission regarding Essential Public Facilities, which include recycling centers, noted how the county has been unable to adhere to State WACs and RCWs on EPFs that require the county to plan for and maintain a list of EPF sites.

I proposed a win win solution encompassing the environmental, social and economical circles that would result in the equitable, bearable and viable options that lead toward the objective of sustainability.  The win win solution was that the current property and equipment owners would donate approximately $290,000 of the estimated value to the cause, if the community would donate, raise, and help gather money for the rest.

In May 2015, the CT board of directors voted to have the property and buildings appraised. On June 4, Don A. Gustafson, of Gustafson & Associates in Bellingham, Wash. did a commercial appraisal of the property and buildings.  The financial numbers given were: $760,000 for land and buildings.  Equipment needs and values were estimated at $181,000, minus the $290,000 donation from the property owners, equals needed funds of $653,000 plus closing costs. It was noted that 501C3 public charities do not have to pay property taxes, so there would be no increase in overhead costs. There is also a rental house on the property, so a purchase would, in fact, lead to additional revenue.

I referred to the quotes, “Many hands make light work,” and “All hands on deck” and invited those in the room to be the initiators of the “CT Evolution” to help spread the word to raise $653,000-plus closing costs that would make CT a permanent, charitable recycling center. Also, a Commemorative Ideas Contest to honor and remember the CT Evolution donors was announced.   Ideas are to be turned in before Dec. 15.  There is a $200 cash prize for the winner. To learn more, or to make a donation to the CT Property Acquisition Fund, visit or visit CT and talk to me.

CT is forming an advisory board to help guide the board of directors and CT activities.  If you have an interest in CT’s activities or ideas that are in alignment with CT’s mission statements, or if you have interest in being on a small committee helping promote boots on the ground conservation, call 370-5562, or 378-6473.