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PAC forms to push ‘yes’ vote on forming library district in Wallowa County

Kathleen Ellyn

Wallowa County Chieftain

Published on November 8, 2017 10:00AM

The Wallowa Valley Library Foundation continues to work at a furious pace to meet deadlines to get its Library District proposal on the May Ballot.

The newly drawn Wallowa County Library District economic feasibility report has been completed, reflecting the opt-out of Lostine. Wallowa, Enterprise and Joseph have all opted “in” allowing their citizens to vote on the proposal.

The district tax proposal of 65 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation is still the recommendation. Leadership of the foundation has shuffled again with Autumn Wilburn of Enterprise stepping “across” from board chair to campaign chair for a Political Action Committee to educate voters about the library district.

The IRS requires that a nonprofit foundation form a nonpartisan PAC to do that work.

Board member Kirsten Rohla of Joseph will replace Wilburn as foundation chair.

Although the leadership changed several times, it has not resulted in a loss of direction or commitment, according to Rolha.

“We knew that Autumn planned to step down as chair as the PAC was getting started,” she said. “Everyone on the board is definitely as committed as they have been from the beginning.”

Mike Crawford of Troy was the first temporary chairperson for the foundation, and was replaced by Kim Wittherite of Imnaha who had to step down due to health and family responsibility, to be replaced by Wilburn. Crawford is also back in a leadership position in the foundation as vice chair.

The foundation board has dealt with numerous state-required deadlines in the process of getting the district on the ballot and says it is grateful to cities for their quick response.

“I am so excited that the cities were willing and able to meet the deadlines necessary,” said Rohla. “The most important thing to remember is that they were not voting to create the library district. They were voting to allow the citizens of their cities the right to vote for themselves whether or not to have a district.”

Wallowa County Commissioners took the first formal step of putting the Library District on the May ballot last Monday approving the “initiation order” required under Oregon law.

Many volunteers will be necessary to make the new PAC successful, according to Rohla.

Opportunities include becoming an officer to help run the PAC or raise funds; fundraising; phone calling or knocking on doors to remind residents to get their ballots in; helping with graphic design, messaging and media contact; coordinating public meetings and coffees to educate voters; speaking to service clubs such as Rotary and Lions; and writing letters to the editor.

Contact Wilburn at autumnwilburn@hotmail.com.

The foundation board is not set to meet until after the first of the year because the work to be done now must be completed by the PAC volunteers.

“As soon as the PAC officers are chosen and people have signed up to volunteer, town halls and other meetings will be able to take place,” Rohla said.


A nonpartisan Political Action Committee that will carry out the advocacy efforts necessary to approve a library district in the May 2018 election will convent 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16 in the basement of the Enterprise Public Library, 101 NE 1st, Enterprise.

Volunteers are needed to serve in leadership roles, fundraising to support a public education campaign and to help with graphic design, messaging and media, such as radio, newspaper, mail pieces and yard signs.

Others will coordinate coffee klatches and other gatherings to educate voters, speak to groups and organizations, make calls and door-knock and write letters to the editor.


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