A Lopez tradition continues

Submitted by Local Community Center.

Over 30 years ago, a team of Lopezians led by Chuck McCarty built the pavilion. Natalie Roush had recently donated the 5-acre parcel for community use, but the land was still mostly grass and woods. There was a temporary bandstand that was set up during the summers, and the Community Center board decided to build a permanent pavilion to host events. Rod Morgan created the initial design. The poles were sourced from Lopez and prepared at volunteer peeling parties on the lawn. Paul Hayward’s crew did most of the construction.

Funds to purchase the materials were donated from our community. “We were shameless about asking everyone for donations – either monetary or in kind. We really wanted to make sure we didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings by not asking them!” Phyllis Potter remembers with a twinkle in her eye. “Just being out and working at the pavilion was a great way to attract interest,” she continued. “One day we were working in the heat of the summer and a woman rode up on a bicycle. She asked what we were doing and if there was any way she could help. We told her about a work party that weekend, and she returned a few days later to volunteer.” The woman was Julie Van Camp, who was in the process of building a cabin on Lopez. She and her husband Rip would go on to be two of the primary movers behind building the main Community Center building a decade later.

Since the pavilion was completed in 1989, it has hosted hundreds of community events, ranging from concerts and weddings to circuses and dog shows!

After all these years, the roof was finally in need of replacement, and in early 2023 Lopez Center embarked on a fundraising drive as part of GiveLopez. Over 70 Lopezians generously donated funds that were used to purchase the new roofing materials. Austin Reece of Fly Guys Construction donated the labor for the project. Austin’s reputation for supporting island non-profits is well known, with Fly Guys donating labor for a new roof for Wolf Hollow on San Juan and one at French Camp on Canoe Island. They’ve also donated to the Friday Harbor Food Bank.

In addition, Sunset Builders Supply offered materials at a discounted rate and as a final touch, Tom Pal repainted the pavilion. And in true Lopez fashion, the old roof is being repurposed for a chicken coop!

“We are truly grateful to Austin, the Fly Guys crew, Sunset, Tom, and all of the donors who are making the revitalization of the pavilion a reality,” said LCCA Assistant Director Robert Harrison, “It’s wonderful to know that the pavilion will be a gathering space for our community for decades to come!”