January 25, 2010
To: EPIcenter Crew
Re: Weekly Report, the Second
Authors: Wes Funes and Josh Hilliard
Song Playing: It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday by Boyz 2 Men
This week was a little strange, a little awkward, but another fun and eventful week in Green River. Monday started with our morning meeting. ‘Goals’ was the theme and we set some. We then immediately made our way to the Baxter Bldg. in order to secure it from the weather. When a roof is removed (see last week’s entry) it’s hard to protect your building from a week of snow, rain, more snow, and more rain. We cleaned out the inside of snow and debris that already needed to be removed and strategically positioned boards on the roof to maximize coverage and minimize
indoor precipitation. Wes then started the long process of screen printing but at the end of the day had two great screens ready for printing. Josh sent emails and researched possible donations to the Baxter Bldg. and Green River community; including the possibility of solar panels.
On Tuesday’s work day it was discovered that a lot of work and wood was going to be needed to strengthen the supporting trusses before a new roof can be installed. The decision was made to remove all the current roof planks and replace them with shiny new OSB sheets in the near future. It was also discovered the existing cornice would not likely survive a new roof being installed. This was a serious bit of demolition, but with safety and caution on our backs, we got it done, cleaned it up and we have a great opportunity to bring in a modern bit of architecture to
contrast the older parts that survived the week.
On Wednesday we removed the remainder of the old wood planks from the roof and secured the trusses from moving, which they were doing a lot of without the planks. The day ended with a Homeownership class that emphasized the role of personal responsibility and Realtors in the long and paperwork-ﬁlled process that is Homeownership.
Jack’s day at the site (Thursday) is always a busy one. Today was the day the sheds out back were to be completed and actually used. These sheds are a 50/50 project with Castle Country Habitat for Humanity wherein EPIcenter and Habitat share the sheds as needed. Jack created the overall design for shelves that needed to be installed. Josh and Wes input ideas where appropriate and we set to work. Jack ran the power-tools this day and Wes and Josh installed. Nails v. Screws: Epic Battle. Screws seem to win in the end every time. After a little trial and error Josh and Wes ﬁnished the install on one shed with just enough time in the day to install the locks and head home.
Thursday also had a bit of the awkward and strangeness mentioned above. We discovered a part of our EPIcrew was leaving. Rand had made the decision he was moving on. As interns we were kept out of the loop a bit, but could deﬁnitely tell something was up and it was serious. From our perspective it hit the other members pretty hard, but for our part (we have only been here three
weeks) and have little insight into the dynamic of the crew, we could only be observers. Of course Josh was hit a little harder as he was living with Rand. Josh has since moved in with the rest of the crew into the ever expanding family that is the Townhouse.
Wes: “I’ll miss Rand. It was sad to see him go. He has a passion for architecture that was evident on my ﬁrst day. I will mostly miss the opportunity to learn from him and help him with his vision for the Baxter Bldg. I wish him the best and hope to keep in touch in any capacity. “
Friday Maria got us focused SUPER-FOCUSED and we ﬁnished the shelf install on the second shed before lunch! Wes was a wizard on the saws. Josh was unstoppable on the drilling and installing. Maria gave us a dose of cutting knowledge and with Jack’s lessons the day before, it all came together quickly and painlessly. The sheds are ready for use!
Saturday became a work day as the University of Utah Architecture + Planning students (mostly the + Planning students) returned for a town meeting to discuss what the citizens of Green River desire and wish for their city. The meeting was a success by all measurements and we got to know the students better and loved the energy and enthusiasm they bring to this project. There seem to be no ‘normal’ weeks here in Green River. Every week has it’s challenges and accomplishments. Challenges and Accomplishments keep us moving forward. Next week part of our crew is away for part of the time for an AmeriCorps Vista meeting in Salt Lake. We doubt the week will disappoint.
Rand Pinson came to Green River April 1st of last year, inspired to work on the Baxter Building and turn it into a beautiful space to become the housing resource center that was in the process of being formed. Rand aided in the arduous task of submitting the RBEG grant that is funding the renovation, which was finally received in September. This delayed timeline, where summer turned to fall and then winter, has taken a toll on all of us, and has pushed the schedule for the renovation of our 104-year-old building into the depths of winter.
Last week, we learned Rand had decided to move on from Green River. He had made his decision Thursday, and left yesterday.
We are sad to see him leave, but as his colleagues (and more importantly, as his friends), we know it is best for him. We understand his reasons for leaving; we will certainly miss him and his excitement for working on the design and construction of Baxter.
We haven’t figured out everything about how all this will work now, but we are confident in the way we set up the EPIcenter. The EPIcenter is an entity, on its own; people will always come and go, and this entity cannot live and die on one, or even two or three, people. We have specifically and purposefully established programs and projects in a way that no one person is completely responsible. This has been a struggle to manage, at times, but through this experience we are seeing the value of our aspirations.
We would like to thank Rand. We support his decision, and will support him in this uncertain stage of his life. He has played a defining role in what is the EPIcenter, establishing the very idea that will perpetuate the EPIcenter beyond his physical presence in Green River. Thank you Rand, and Godspeed.
To: EPIcenter Crew
Re: Weekly Report
Authors: Wes Funes and Josh Hilliard
The week started with our first complete Monday Morning Meeting:
Baxter Bldg plans were discussed and a skeleton of a weekly plan was created. Monday we situated the office. Wes joined Jack, Maria, and Joni on a trip to a Habitat for Humanity monthly board meeting. This was his first experience dealing with a board that makes decisions uniformly. It was informative and frustrating at times for all the board members.
Tomorrow (Wed 20 Jan 2010) we are hosting a home-ownership class that will be taught by Toni Johnson of CDC in Price, Utah. Home-owner responsibilities, credit, savings, real estate contracts, financial documents, home insurance, and debt will be just a few of the things that will be covered in this 4-hour class. The class is the first-half of the 8-hour class required by USDA to be approved for the 502 Rural Development loan. Anyone is welcome to come, and we recommend it to everyone in Green River + surroundings. We consider this critical information as young professionals, so we (EPIcrew + GRCC staff) will be attending the course for ourselves as well as for our potential clients. Cathy Barnes of the Monticello office for the USDA will be in attendance to answer questions about the possible USDA Rural Development loans. Even if you’re not interested in becoming a home-owner this class will provide vital information for financial stability. So, please attend, and/or spread the word to anyone who might be interested!
We are entrenched within the community. From this place, a microcosm of so many others, we will make our best effort as we redefine the role of architecture + citizenship. As Young Professionals, we value the potent effect of collaboration over credit, community participation over subversive upheaval, and local solutions over top-down decrees. To this Great Revolt we hereby pledge allegiance.
As far as we know, all houses in the Green River city limits can get internet… if they can afford it. Many community members do not own a computer, laptop, or smart phone to access the internet. In our experience with interacting with clients, some community members do not have basic computer skills, like how to type a Word document or access the internet. There are two “acceptable” places to access the internet, print documents, apply for government assistance (such as food stamps), etc.- one of those places being the Green River Community Center (which includes the Thrift Store location) and the Green River Public Library located next to the Community Center. Both of these facilities we consider “acceptable.” Also, the Green River Coffee Company (on the corner of Main + Long) has one computer available for customers. The schools (Book Cliff Elementary and Green River High) both have above-standard computer labs (with protection installed).
Below is an in-progress list of businesses and/or services we wish existed in Green River. Anyone want to give it a go? You’d have our full moral support, ideas, connections, business, and design services.
- Hardware store
- Pharmacare/soda fountain (with six large glass 12-diameter heavy-lidded jars full of brightly colored candy, a bar-style soda fountain, and inexpensive over-the-counter medication)
- Radio Station (with a dj similar to the one on tv’s Northern Exposure KBHR 570 AM offering philosophical advice… or Mister Señor Love Daddy on Do The Right Thing offering an uncensored critique of the community)
- A shop… like a metal or carpentry shop.
- Mexican restaurant (specifically to provide us with a venue for Taco Tuesday since Ben’s closed)
- A good lunch joint that everyone goes to (with a daily special that everyone gets, three regular items like a Reuben and a spectacular grilled cheese sandwich)
- Car and Bike rental office
- Bookstore (with magazines, newspapers, ten albums for sale, and really great used books only)
- Landscaping Service
- Veterinarian (mostly for big animals)
- Melon Mania (a store that takes melons and makes everything possible out of them- salve, googles, Christmas lights, jam, juice, pants, etc.)
- A “hang-out” bar with live music and drink specials [we’ll have to take that up with the State of Utah actually, as offering specials is illegal] and/or a state liquor store [the only place you can buy anything with over 3.2% alcohol by weight] with a better (real) selection
These are things that will be obsolete in this next decade according to the Huffington Post.
1. Land lines
2. Phone calls (being replaced by texts)
5. Classified Ads
7. Film and film cameras
8. Yellow pages and address books
10. Fax Machines
11. Hand written letters
12. Dial-up internet
Consider this a list of the Top Eleven things Young Professionals™ must have, do, or use. One can opt for vinyl records instead of CDs. The dial-up one is a bit questionable too, and is the one left out.
The above post was submitted by Miss Serah Mead on Jan 2, 2010 10:58am.
1. Jack insists on having a land line at the Townhouse (the Green River-based-Crew’s housing).
2. Green River wouldn’t exist without phone calls, and more importantly, in-person communication. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone texting in Green River. Are we obsolete?
3. Telegraphs, yes. Wires completely? WE WISH! Cords everywhere! I wonder how many D batteries it will take to run our typewriters now that cords are gone.
4. CDs… good riddance. Vinyl comes back again!
5. Funny, we placed a classified ad recently for the Starship EPIcenter Prize Apprenticeships in the Moab Times Independent.
6. Encyclopedias, especially in relation to geography, history, and context, are used often here as relevant source material, even if the copyright date is 1972.
7. Film. Tell me about it! We are having the hardest time finding polaroid film, 110 film, and 120! If you have some lying around, even out of date (obsolete!), send it to us! We had to buy 110 film from EBay, how lame! Just 4 months ago WalMart was stocking both 110 and Polaroid. We blame all y’all digital camera users out there for this, thinking you can save money and go digital, but that has been driving up the cost of developing even 35mm, the standard! New WalMart stores have NO film developing center; surely everyone else will follow.
8. How will I find numbers? Every time I use the internet for phone numbers it gives me the FAX line! Yellow Pages is real, and is an accurate record of who pays the bill, the address of the user, and others who offer similar services.
9. Catalogues…. hmmm, we don’t have a strong feeling on this one. So long as you don’t mean the New Yorker or Us Weekly.
10. It’s written FAX, not Fax. Where would we be without facsimileric representations? No one else is amazed that 1’s and 0’s can produce xerox-like reproductions OVER A PHONE LINE? I think the real problem here is that people have lost patience with FAX machines, and often buy cheap ones that are guaranteed to not work half the time.
11. Hand written letters. Come up Pah-lease!! My grandmother disagrees with you. (We are including typewriter-written as hand-written, correct?)
12. Dial-up Internet. According to our records, 4 visits, or 1.22% of visits to our blog, have occurred through dial-up. How are they going to see us? 1.22% matters to us!
-adj. 1. no longer in general use. 2. of a discarded or outmoded type.
Actually, we’re okay with that. As long as it is still available, and as long as people are still feeling inside themselves a more direct connection through the use of these media/medium. Don’t know what I mean? Imagine yourself inside an airport. Now imagine yourself inside your home. That’s the difference between an e-mail and a hand-written letter. Do you feel the difference?
Today is the fifth day of a new year, 2010 to be specific, and our first real day back to work in Green River after the holidays. On this day the EPIcrew grows in number by two (Wes + Josh are in full work mode already!)… totaling to eight locally (fourteen crew members internationally). What a way to begin the new year! New blood. New ideas.
This will be the year of the Green River revolution. Though vital and somewhat fruitful, last year was a preparatory year. In 2010, our efforts will be rewarded. The seeds we’ve planted with the Habitat For Humanity, the University of Utah, USDA, Green River City, CommonStudio, and other collaborators-in-arms will blossom into strong relationships.
Let us show you some of our New Year´s Resolutions:
Baxter Building, the future office of the Epicenter
The USDA grant that we applied for and received in 2009 will allow for the completion of the Baxter renovations in 2010.
Grand opening for Baxter scheduled for May 1, 2010.
Affordable Housing, the first step towards economic development
Get a minimum of three houses built. We want to show Green River a true affordable housing option.
Set-up successful home-ownership and debt prevention/absolution courses.
River Walk and Pavilions
Present the drawings and show the city/museum the potential of nature walk and well-designed outdoor spaces.
Assist Common Studio in any way with their efforts to raise funds and build a bunk-house (or renovate the Midland Garage) for Americorps NCCC + VISTA’s. This will allow for a safe, warm, dry, and unique place for volunteers to stay in Green River for years to come.
Use the new volunteer housing to bring in groups interested in community-service. By hosting groups (housing, feeding, entertaining) we can bring in revenue to go towards projects such as affordable housing, in addition to getting many more motivated volunteers to labor and sweat!
Goal for volunteer bunkhouse opening is Summer 2010.
Project Green River
Plan, organize, and throw a successful festival in early June with bands we love and artists we respect. Let’s celebrate Green River while raising funds to build a house (or two… or three?!).
The Future Green River Community Center
Assist in acquiring funds for the future GRCC, act as liaison for the GRCC and Marlon Blackwell’s office when needed, and continue to spread the word.
Green River Skate Park
In the Melon Days parade, one float consisted of kids riding around on skateboards and bikes, with a truck trailing them with a simple sign: “Get Us Off The Streets! We Want A Skate Park.”
Okay, we can do that too. Deadline for Tony Hawk Grant (up to $25k) is March 1st. Our colleagues from Skate+Play will be assisting us in designing the park and putting together this grant package.
Work with the City to dedicate at least another $25k for the park.
Collaboration with the University of Utah College of Architecture + Planning
We didn’t pester them for months for nothing! Assist both the architecture studio and urban planning studio in their student design projects by helping them to understand the community and visiting SLC for reviews.
Develop this relationship into a on-going service program based in Green River.
Get a website designed and built for EPIcenter before May 1, 2010 (preferably collaboratively-outsourced). Improve social media status and better implement fund-raising efforts through Twitter.
Get an easily managed website designed and built for the GRCC before August 1, 2010 (again, preferably outsourced). Improve social media status and awareness through Facebook.
Make more short films, handmade objects, furniture, small built projects, etc!!!
Set-up a screen printing press and/or studio.
Increase discussion and awareness in the community through themed evening events (draw ‘n drink) and sports activities (capture the flag, dodge ball, etc.)
Get the High School involved in mentoring youth and assisting the elderly.
Contact stubborn community members and start a dialogue.
See Wes’ take on our first day here.