On Feb. 23, the Oregon Conference executive committee met for the first time in 2023. Snow, ice and traffic gridlock in the Portland area kept the committee from gathering in-person, so they quickly pivoted to Zoom. One of the items on the agenda was investing in the future of Gladstone Camp Meeting.
Since the Gladstone Park property was purchased in the late 1920s, the centerpiece of the grounds has been the main pavilion. This meeting place has seated thousands, hosting internationally renowned Adventist speakers. For decades the pavilion has been covered by a tent, set up each year, just for camp meeting. In 2022, that tent almost didn’t arrive.
Last year, the contractor providing the tent was nearly two weeks late in erecting the structure. The delay required volunteers and contractors preparing the stage, technology and seating to work nearly around the clock to complete their tasks before opening night. Setup that normally took 20 days was completed in six! The strain on all involved was palpable. Throughout the week, it became clear that this schedule could not be repeated.
At the conclusion of camp meeting, the tent contractor informed Oregon Conference they did not intend to accept another contract for the tent in 2023. The event team went to work seeking bids from other event companies. Ultimately, only a small number could even provide the 20,000 square-foot structure required.
Months of research led to a decision point: rent a tent from out of state for a three-times-higher rental rate — more than $100,000 — or build a pavilion.
Ultimately, plans for a structure with open sides that will fit the same 20,000 square-foot footprint used by the tent, were decided on.
“I’m excited about the potential of this pavilion,” commented Dan Linrud, Oregon Conference president. “Not only will it meet the needs of Gladstone Camp Meeting for decades to come, it will also create opportunities to host other events throughout the good-weather season.”
Project Cost and Funding — An Unanticipated Blessing
The project is expected to cost less than $2.5 million. The budget includes development, permitting and construction, permanent weatherproof PA and lighting systems, and electrical upgrades to support Gladstone campus' needs.
The plans call for the project to be financed with a $2 million loan from the NPUC revolving fund, as well as up to $500,000 cash-on-hand.
As conference administrators were laboring over the question of how to pay for this project, an unanticipated blessing arrived.
Several years ago, Gladstone Park land was used to develop Somerset Lodge, a senior living community. In exchange for this investment, Oregon Conference received a 50% stake in the business of Somerset. Since then, income from the property has been used to maintain and enhance the Gladstone Park campgrounds. In the next month, Somerset Lodge will finish paying off its own mortgage. This means the income from Somerset Lodge will increase enough to cover the entire loan payment ... and then some.
Before the need was articulated, God had a plan to provide.
With the executive committee’s unanimous vote in favor of the project, development and planning kick into high gear in preparation for construction. The new Plaza Pavilion is planned to be completed by July 2024. In the meantime, camp meeting staff are making plans to address the needs of 2023. Please pray for a smooth development process as we invest in the future of Gladstone Camp Meeting.