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Trafton Community Co-Op fetes school house’s centennial

TRAFTON — The Trafton Community Co-Op will be celebrating a dual milestone near the end of the month.

Almost one year ago last fall, Gene Ray and his daughter Randi reopened the former Trafton School house as a community center, just in time for an autumn festival in October.

On Saturday, Sept. 29, the Trafton Community Co-Op will be commemorating the building’s history stretching far further back than the past year, as they invite the school’s former students and faculty alike to its centennial at 4 p.m.

“We’re expecting as many as 100 attendees,” said Gene Ray, who also serves as pastor of the nearby Oso Community Chapel. “We’re asking Trafton families to bring old yearbooks, photos and even videos of school drama and choir presentations.”

When Gene and Randi Ray and their crew of volunteers opened the doors of the former Trafton School house a year after its closure by the Arlington School District, they found a facility that needed some spring cleaning, but that was otherwise in fairly good condition.

“We were never going to make any sweeping changes to the building,” Gene Ray said. “We just wanted a nice house for low-to-no-cost community-centric programs that could serve families in this region. Our desire all along has been to coordinate a variety of services from Trafton to Whitehorse, an area almost completely void of services since the closing of the Oso and Trafton schools, as well as the Oso Store. Our hope is to network area residents and resources, and to coordinate a variety of services and family programming all along the east 530 corridor.”

That same Saturday, Sept. 29, veteran mountain climber Darin Goff will be leading a hike from the Oso Community Chapel, located at 22318 State Route 530 NE, starting at 7 a.m.

Since reopening as a community center, the former Trafton School house has served as the site for classes, square dances, movie nights and other events, but Ray has never forgotten the old building’s roots.

“I knew there were a lot of hard feelings after the school was closed, so I hoped that the community co-op could facilitate a healing process,” said Ray, who’s invited former teachers, principals and PTA members of the Trafton School to the centennial celebration. “If this place were able to reopen as a school, I’d be glad, but I didn’t want to see it go unused. I hope we can serve as a useful community resource.”

Please e-mail to TraftonCC@gmail.com or call 360-862-3550 for additional information.

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