COLUMBIA CITY — Emotions made for strong opinions as Eagles members gathered Saturday to discuss the fate of the chapter, the building and the leadership of the Fraternal Order of Eagles (FOE) 1906 chapter, Columbia City.
“The future looks very dim,” said Mike Cummings, an agent dispatched by the Grand Aerie, the state governing body of the FOE, to sort out Columbia City’s Aerie organization.
“I don’t think you should close,” Cummings said. “This didn’t break in one month, and it isn’t going to get fixed in one month.”
According to Aerie members, a vote was held in January to shut down the organization due to a lack of money.
Declining membership reduced the chapter’s numbers from an estimated 1,500 to 500.
Those who attended the special meeting Saturday named poor leadership and management as the cause of lagging membership.
Without members, dues for the chapter are diminished and have left the bank account depleted.
“There’s been discussion about selling this building and getting a smaller place,“ Cummings said. “I hate to say it, but sometimes that’s what you gotta do.”
Members were quick to offer their opinions on the idea of selling.
“Downsizing is a joke,” said one member. “We’ve had it packed in here before. We could do it again. This is a great building and it’s paid for. Why would we go somewhere we have to pay rent?”
Another member added, “This location a landmark. We’ve been here way too long to move.”
On the other side of the argument, some members see selling as the only option.
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