Oso residents want to use old school as community center

OSO — Gail Moffett is frustrated.

As president of a group of motivated Oso residents, she longs to see a gathering place where the small community can get together to celebrate family milestones, share dinners, mourn the loss of neighbors, have meetings, host fundraising bazaars and work together on projects that help each other.

Though the Oso Fire Hall is used for those events, it’s just too small to double as a community center, Moffett said.

Right next door to the fire station is the old Oso schoolhouse, which has been used in the past as such a center.

Every morning as she leaves for work in Arlington, Moffett looks across Highway 530 at the empty two-story building and thinks of what could be.

“We need a place to run our disaster preparedness class, and now that our Oso store is closed, there’s no place for the guys to tell fish tales over Saturday morning coffee,” Moffett said. “We are losing our community identity because there is no common place to go. We want the old school opened again as our community center.”

Getting the keys to the building may not be easy, however.

For the past 30 years, the deed to the old school has been held by the board of directors of a now-defunct corporation called Oso Community Center Inc. Of the original officers on the seven-member board, who were appointed to lifelong terms, only two people are still alive, Moffett said.

Neither the board’s attorney in Mount Vernon nor one of its original members could be reached for comment Thursday or Friday.

As far as most can recall, the Arlington School District stopped using the Oso school in the 1970s. The district then urged the family who had originally donated the property to the school to turn it over to the Oso Community Center group, Moffett said.

Moffett, 55, has lived across the road from the school for 20 years. In that time, the building has rarely been used by the community, she said.

As the wife of the assistant chief of Oso’s volunteer fire department, Moffett said she knows how busy the place could be.

Arlington lawyer David Duskin is helping Moffett and her group, which has filed papers of incorporation with the secretary of state under the name Oso Community Recreation Center.

The former corporation has problems because its remaining members can’t produce any records, Duskin said. The corporation was dissolved by the state years ago when it failed to keep its filings current, he said.

“One gentleman died and his widow said she delivered the corporation records to one of the ladies on the board, but evidently no one knows where they are,” Duskin said.

Their attorney has talked about trying to get the old corporation reinstated, but she is waiting for copies of the incorporation papers from the Secretary of State’s Office archives, Duskin said.

The members of the old board and the members of Moffett’s group all seem to have the same objective, Duskin said.

“The community needs to work with the previous board to get the building up to code and back in community use,” he said.

Reporter Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427 or gfiege@heraldnet.com.

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