The community of Powell Butte — home to good stock, good crops and good neighbors — is home to a new business in a classic old grange hall building.
The new owner — Thompson Pump and Irrigation Inc. — rejuvenated the 100-year old Powell Butte Grange that everybody sees as they drive by on the highway.
Owner Andy High says he spent nearly $250,000 fixing up the 4,000-square-foot building with new electrical wiring, insulation, windows, heating and cooling systems, ADA accessible entry and gallons and gallons of paint.
“We had a gentleman come in yesterday. He joked that he remembered coming to dances here 40 to 50 years ago and that it hasn’t changed a bit,” High said.
While adding insulation, High pulled old newspapers and grange hall ballots out of the walls and ceiling.
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He plans to invite local farms and ranches to hang shingles with their brands on the walls to acknowledge the grange hall’s 70 years of service as a community center.
“It’s just been really positive. The Powell Butte area is very supportive,” High said.
“I think it helps that we are a local business. We’ve been here 50-plus years. Everyone we hear from is just happy that we saved the building and we didn’t just tear it down and start new.”
Despite the ongoing drought, High says now is a good time to expand his irrigation supply business into Crook County.
“When I bought the building, all the neighbor’s flood water was coming under our building. That’s not good use,” he said. “We want to help farmers be better stewards of the water they do get.”
Thompson Pump & Irrigation provides parts for pivots, wheel lines, hand lines, K-Lines, PVC pipes, pumps, domestic well supplies and sprinklers for ranchers and homeowners.
“When their sprinkler breaks, they can run down here. They are going to save a ton on fuel and not have to fight the traffic in Bend or Redmond,” High said.
An irrigation supply company is one of very few retail businesses allowed to operate in an area designated exclusive farm use.
It matches up well with the historic use of the building as a community gathering place for local farmers and ranchers.