A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Council open to Cumberland request

Written December 2nd, 2023 by Hasso Hering

The former Cumberland Presbyterian Church looked like this on Nov. 18, 2023.

With the exterior restored and a new coat of paint, the former Cumberland Church looked good when I passed it on a bike ride last month. Now the organizers of the Cumberland Community Events Center hope the Albany City Council can help their project along.

Back in 1999, the city bought four lots at the corner of Pine Street and Santiam Road, near Hackleman Park, from a private investor. The county’s online data base gives a price of $145,000 for each, but since all four were sold on the same date by the same seller, the amount is probably the total the city paid for all four.

In 2020, the council sold the corner lot to the Cumberland group for $69,000 and gave the group a lease on the oher three with an option to buy them for $207,000.

The former church was moved to the corner lot, with the goal of developing the historic building and adjacent grounds into a privately operated center for, as the name implies, “community events.”

In October the Cumberland group asked the council to modify the lease and purchase deal “in order to help the project move forward in a more timely fashion.”

The council discussed this briefly on Nov. 29. It did not take a vote, but councilors seemed to be willing to lower the potential selling price of the remaining three lots to what the county assessor now thinks they are worth, which is about $196,000.

According to what I heard Parks Director Kim Lyddane tell the council, any proceeds from the sale of the lots should go toward maintenance and repairs at Hackleman Park and/or the Albany Skatepark across the street.

It was hard to tell exactly what the council was willing to do. But City Manager Peter Troeddson said he could tell what the members had in mind.

Some kind of revised land transaction intended to support the Cumberland project is likely to come before the council soon, but when is anyone’s guess.

In the meantime, you can go to the corner of Santiam and Pine and admire the old church through the chainlink fence. Or you can check the group’s website and find out how you can help. (hh)

Postscript: I may have been the only who couldn’t tell exactly what the council wanted on this point. The clerk’s summary of the council meeting, published Monday, declared: “The council directed staff to offer a revised lease option contract with a reduced purchase price and one three-year renewal period.”


This banner on the fence lists the contractors and others who worked on the Cumberland project.





11 responses to “Council open to Cumberland request”

  1. Cap B. says:

    That Cumberland Church, when it is open for “business” (renting out for events, that is), will give the Sr. Center (Oops! I mean the Riverfront Community Center) a run for its money.

  2. Cap B. says:

    Forgot to say I’ll bet the City Manager, as he said, can read that bunch’s minds (City Council/CARA, that is). They are predictable, if anything!!

  3. thomas earl cordier says:

    Private efforts always fail and go to the City Trough. The City never protects taxpayer interests and gives out money that is not theirs’. No respect given to voters ever.

  4. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    My first reaction: deja vu.

    Remember the carousel? The merry-go-round folks promised….promised….that they wouldn’t demand public money. Then they demanded, and got, $750,000 of taxpayer money.

    Once again, Albany taxpayers are being asked to subsidize a “private” effort.

    Like the carousel, I was encouraged that the Cumberland project captured the spirit of private voluntary association and volunteerism. It was inspirational.

    But now the Cumberland folks, like the carousel folks, have lowered themselves by attempting to elbow their way to the public trough.


    The city should not force every property taxpayer into a relationship with this project.

    If the Cumberland project can’t be done 100% freely and voluntarily, it shouldn’t be done at all.

  5. Bill Kapaun says:

    “Back in 1999, the city bought four lots at the corner of Pine Street and Santiam Road, near Hackleman Park, from a private investor.”

    EXACTLY WHY did the City buy this property? IF it had ANYTHING to do with street changes/improvements, then ALL proceeds should go DIRECTLY to the “street fund”.

    • RICH KELLUM says:

      I do not know why the lots were purchased, but a more salient thought process would put the money back where it came from, or send it to the thing that the City needs most. I would like to see all funds removed from the special accounts with the exception of those that have a codicil from the folks who gave the money or if there is a restriction from a higher authority. Then allocate the money to the city’s needs instead of the special privilege individuals wants. But I quit the Council because I wanted to have the life I am now living.

  6. chris j says:

    The city council will do whatever the city manager wants. That is how he knows exactly what they will do. Our votes are just a formality and to bait us into thinking we are to blame for their bad judgements and choices. We need to start proposing projects that effect them negatively maybe then they would gain some humility and comprehension of their decisions. Us beasts of burden do have a breaking point were we see the inequities of what is imposed on us. The liberties that were promised us only apply to people who can afford to pay for it and usually with our tax money.

  7. RICH KELLUM says:

    This is just the type of thing that this group promised would not happen, They said “this will all be done with private money”………….and here they are with their hand out…………again.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      And the same old cronies basically laundering money to their pet projects.

      AGAIN- WHY were these lots purchased?

      • JBC says:

        I’d look into whether these lots were part of the original (large) section of land DONATED by Mr & Mrs HACKLEMAN (or family trust) TO CITY OF ALBANY for “benefit” of citizens (or residents, can’t recall specific wording)
        I saw Linn County recorded documents relating to that area a few years ago.


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