NOTE: I received a note from the Oregon Department of Justice yesterday. In the note I was encouraged to get the word out about these issues via social media, blog, news outlets, AND by addressing the membership of the Douglas County Historical Society. This essay will be distributed accordingly.
State of Oregon – Oregon Department of Justice
100 SW Market St. Portland, OR 97201-5702
Oregon Department of Justice Ellen F. Rosenblum,
1162 Court Street Salem, OR 97301
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
DOUGLAS COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Nonprofit, 501-c-3, aka DCHS. P.O. BOX 2534, Roseburg, OR 97470
Until about two weeks ago, I was President of this organization and had been for about two years. I had approximately two more years to go on my term. Approximately two weeks before that, or so, I’d been diagnosed as having heart failure. However, the doctor was not a cardiologist. I let the Vice President, K** D*********; know about the diagnosis, because I thought he should know. I specifically asked him in an email not to tell anyone else, as I was still dealing with the news, and wasn’t ready to deal with others yet. I soon discovered that he called everyone on the board and told them. They decided that they had to help me with my chores.
Prior to diagnosis I was well aware of the fact that I was overwhelmed. Over the past 13 or so years with the historical society, I had taken on more and more responsibilities. Some of them were things that I loved to do, like write for the Publication, the Umpqua Trapper. But other responsibilities were taken as others on the board got older, sick and couldn’t do their jobs anymore, or they just flat out wanted to retire. I saw my term as President as my chance to get folks trained properly in what needed to be done at the historical society. At least to the best of my ability to teach, motivate, and yes, lead. I absolutely was aware of the need to fund raise, and increase membership numbers via activities that could attract folks to the historical society. I was aware that there was a lot of items that needed accessioning in properly (no one had done it since I’d been around), along with a whole slew of other things that just needed done in terms of keeping up a museum. My goal was to eventually have the Floed-Lane House receive accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums. I knew there was a big job that lay ahead of me and others. I knew that I wanted to approach these tasks ethically, legally, and even more important in the proper ways that helped to maintain and preserve the very rich past that is housed within both the walls of the Floed-Lane House, but also the ‘Annex’, a storage building behind the Floed-Lane House, aka Lane House, aka, The Douglas County Pioneer Museum.
As it turns out, I do NOT have heart failure. This is according to a cardiologist. I verbally tried to tell K**, but he wasn’t listening, and then I emailed him about it. What I do have is not life threatening, but it can be debilitating, as I have discovered. So, had K** kept this news to himself, perhaps things would be running smoothly, except for what I list below. Please note that everything can be proven via: minutes, agendas, photos, where applicable, notes, etc., email.
- Weed Eater: This is really a very small thing. However, in my mind it shows the mindset that is being dealt with the current board. Specifically as it pertains to the Vice President and a particular Director at Large: Months ago, I realized that a brand new weed eater that was bought with historical society funds from the general fund, and still in the box, specifically for the back yard at the Floed-Lane House, was gone. It had been removed from the box, and the box was left to lay. Eventually, within a week or two, the weed eater returned. Soon, I heard that the weed eater had been taken by a particular board member, and that she had used it on the yard of one of her rentals. What really bothers me about this situation is that this particular board member just returned from a week’s long vacation in Europe. This implies of course, that she can afford her own weed eater and that there was absolutely no need for her to put the wear and tear on one that was owned by the historical society. Now, I told the vice president about it, and he agreed that it was wrong. But he said it was no big deal, and that she was worth far more to the society than the weed eater. Of course, what bothers me about this is the mindset, and will either of them know when to stop, when it comes to property that belongs to the historical society.
2. Paint tools, etc., on an unprotected steamer trunk. Not long after the weed eater incident, I found a recently donated steamer trunk covered with paint tools. The steamer trunk was not protected in any way from the tools or potential of paint drips, etc. Probably only 10 feet away was a box of leaf and litter (garbage bags) that could have been used as a protective layer. However, in my opinion (and of that of a local peer who was aghast when she saw the photo) nothing should have EVER been put on top of that steamer trunk. I sent out an email to all board members. I did not name names, though; there were only two board members in charge of the labor (inmate work program) and painting. I asked that people stop working a little earlier so that they were not too tired at the end of the day to clean up properly. Judging from the reaction, I’d say that the same board member mentioned above, a Director at Large, female, made the mistake. She ‘fixed’ the problem. She took a piece of clothing, also a donated artifact, and put it on top of the steamer trunk, and then put the tools on top of that. As of the last time I was in the Annex, the steamer trunk was still in this state, though I had already protested more than once. Please keep in mind, that this bothers me for these reasons: These items were donated by descendants of the General Joseph & Polly Lane family. This family trusts the Douglas County Historical Society to protect, preserve, and maintain those items. I see the treatment of that artifact, and others in the Annex as a slap in the face to that specific family who donated the items less than two years ago. They are in VERY GOOD shape I might add. I also see this as a lack of respect and slap in the face to the membership of the Douglas County Historical Society who not only trusts the board and volunteers but expects us to preserve, protect, and maintain the items for the future. You can take that last sentence and remove “membership” and put in its place, “citizens” of Douglas County. Yes, this whole thing makes me angry. (see photos)
3. An antique pancake turner was apparently used as a paint scraper. I first found the pancake turner in the bathroom sitting on the sink counter. It was clean, but did not belong there. I put it back into the utensil holder it came from. The next time I found it, it was in with the paint tools. This item is also a donation from the Lane Family descendants and came with and inside one of the steamer trunks. It is very appropriate that we keep these items according to DCHS mission statement. They had no right (they meaning the labor, or said Director at Large mentioned above, who was in charge at the time) to use said historical items as tools of this type. Had they asked me, I’d said, no and asked them how many scrapers they needed. I’d made a beeline to the hardware store! In fact, I’d been told we’d bought several scrapers much earlier in the job when we were still preparing to paint! (see photos) The problem with these two issues is that they came after the weed eater incident. And after, ,the Director at Large started paying for labor to get the Floed-Lane house painted, and AFTER she’d told Vice President she didn’t want anyone to know, and after he slipped up and gave the information to me. The information came during an conversation where again, he was telling me that the unprotected trunk and pancake turner incident were no big deal, and that Director at Large had donated so much at this point that we had to let it go. She was just too important to the organization. I see this view point as dead wrong and I have made it known. (Proof via emails) I cannot let this go. If she feels she can abuse an artifact like this, how in the world can we trust her in any other way? To me, what I see is a feeling of entitlement. She was upset that the board passed a policy that no equipment belonging to the historical society can be borrowed by anyone. She voted for it, apparently without realizing what is said. That should not have upset her in the least. The policy is common sense in my mind.
4. Toe boards: DCHS (Douglas County Historical Society) – Some history. The deck on the lower porch on the Floed-Lane House needed replaced. An older member offered to pay for the job. Somewhat later, she said she wanted a certain contractor to do the work. The former President, John Robertson, approved of that. Well the ‘contractor’ was young and did a historically incorrect job, and didn’t bother to let anyone know how rotten the supports underneath the deck were. So, the society had to start all over. DCHS received a huge grant from the state of Oregon and the decking and supports were replaced in a historically correct way. The lumber from the brand new (First) decking was saved. Ideas have been tossed around for using it, picnic tables or back steps for the back door. The lumber was stacked behind the storage building. One day, a Saturday, when I was the volunteer docent that day, I was` opening up the Floed-Lane House I noticed a man taking boards from that lumber pile. I tell him to put them back. I had no clue what was going on, but no one was taking that lumber. The boss of the roofing job next door, at the Vice Presidents house came over and informed me that the Vice President said they could use the lumber for toe boards while they were on the job. There has been a discussion in the past of the boards being used for picnic tables or for back steps at the back door of the Floed-Lane House. Either way, they were not his personal property, he had NO right to tell that contractor to use the lumber, and he CAN absolutely afford to buy his own! (This man is the owner of Mobile Tune on the corner of Washington & Rose in Roseburg) This happened WEEKS after the weed eater incidence.
5. Formation of the Board: Two days after turning in my keys to the society, after my husband made a remark about something he was unhappy about, in terms of the behavior of these people not listening to what was right about how to treat artifacts etc., I came to the realization that I basically let the Vice President stack the board just like a deck of cards! When I gave up the keys last week this was the board’s formation:
A. Peggy A. Rowe Snyder, President, Myself, voted in nearly 10 years ago first as Director at Large, then as Secretary by another board.
B. Kenneth Deatherage, Vice President, voted in by a previous board.
C. Carol Dudley, Treasurer, Mr. Deatherage’s book keeper at his business, Mobile Tune. Based on her statement to my husband, we know she feels her paycheck depends on her doing whatever Ken wants her to do. The question is, does this include a vote on issues before the board?
D. Cynthia Rockney Wilson, Secretary, chosen and introduced by Ken Deatherage. (She was asked to leave the downtown association board for some reason, Ken promised to “keep her under control”)
E. John Robertson, Director at Large, former President. (120% totally innocent of any of this) (and wasn’t contacted by anyone other than me and wasn’t asked for a vote on any matter)
F. Lois Deatherage, Director at Large, Ken Deatherage’s wife.
G. Clyde Snyder, Director at Large, my husband, voted in by a previous board. (also innocent of this stuff, mostly a witness to it)
H. Dale Greenley, Director at Large, chosen and introduced by Ken Deatherage. Whom I interviewed and still had 2nd thoughts about because of a past experience with a family member of his. Mr. Deatherage informed me prior to the vote that he had the votes to get him in, so I had to just get used to it.
I. Nicholas Schaebert, Director at Large, suggested by myself. (120% totally innocent of any of this)
J. Maria Crince, Director at Large, Ken Deatherage’s wife’s best friend.
“This gives Mr. Deatherage a clear majority, if anyone feels obligated to him…“
This gives Mr. Deatherage a clear majority, if anyone feels obligated to him. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that Ken Deatherage would abuse the power, as he has. It just never even dawned on me that he would. But when you fail to follow the by-laws that are filed with the state then you are breaking the law. Kenneth Deatherage can’t sight lack of experience, or knowledge, he sits on at least two other boards in Douglas County: 1. Salvation Army board in Roseburg, & 2. The Downtown Association Board (President). Surely he learned a few things along the way??
6. Abuse of Power: Within a couple of weeks of hearing the news that I had ‘heart failure’ Ken Deatherage, Dale Greenly, and Maria Crince had put together an ‘Executive Committee’. Keep in mind that according to the by-laws, the President makes committees and assigns people to them (unless I am mistaken), and I had tried to do this, and no one followed through on what was asked of them. This committee called a meeting and informed me that I needed help, and Maria asked that I make a list of things that I needed help with. Ken asked me to drop off the mail key to Carol Dudley. (Turns out he’d given his copy to her already). I am a slow thinker, in that things need time to percolate in my brain. Things did not hit me until after the meeting, hours and even a couple of days later. But during this meeting, I was told to not talk to anyone on the board anymore about any of my concerns. My messages were not ‘palatable’. After nearly 25 years with historical societies, I cannot believe that I was EVER not palatable. But, I had used the word “boundaries” when I spoke about the unprotected steamer trunk. There is an email to prove it, but, yes, I said someone clearly had boundary issues. According to Ken, I ‘triggered’ someone. Personally, considering the disrespect shown to the donors of the artifacts, and supporters in general, I don’t care if I ‘triggered’ someone. I was also told that Ken had talked to a lady that a former board had kicked off a prior DCHS board due to unethical behavior and for fear of artifacts coming up missing. Dale Greenly is a cousin of this lady and was obviously advocating for her, and stated she’d run these types of organizations before. Ken Deatherage had me know that she was going to be welcomed back to the historical society, despite a previous boards decision, and without a vote. Her name is Charlotte Eggleston. During that same meeting, Ken also made it clear that the committee had decided that Bernie Woodard would be welcomed into the society. I had already given a flat out NO to Bernie. He is a convicted felon. A neighbor to the Floed-Lane House believes he is a ‘white collar criminal’. I have researched Bernie Woodard and showed the research to fellow board members. The previous board wanted nothing to do with him. Again, this welcoming was decided with out a vote. Since this time, Ken has informed me that they only wanted a sign that Bernie was willing to give the Floed-Lane House. Again I said NO. I contacted the McLaughlin House in Oregon City and asked them if Bernie had ever worked for them, and had they given the sign (some piece of chimney off the McLaughlin house) to him as he claimed. They emailed me back and let me know they’d never worked with him, and never associated with him. I deduced from the answer they never gave him the chimney piece either. So, my NO to taking the sign (chimney piece) was fear of ‘receiving stolen property’. I don’t want the Douglas County Historical Society associated with that man or his history in any way, shape or form!
7. I wrote Ken then and told him with Charlotte coming back, and at the time I thought Bernie was being brought in, and between that and the abuse of the artifacts, and that no one thought they were important that I was ready to step down as President. And I wrote that the moment Bernie stepped in, I was stepping out. And I meant it. During this same meeting, mentioned above, Dale Greenley informed me that a box of newspapers should go to the other museum. Our mission clearly states that ALL Oregon History is within our pervue, that box of newspapers belongs with the society if it so chooses and NO one person should make that decision, unless they are a trained collection manager!
8. Days later, Ken called me; I gave the phone to my husband. Among other things my husband was told that at this point, if I did not step down, they’d vote me out. I had to this point, nothing wrong except perhaps say one unpalatable word. I had not yet missed one meeting. I had missed one of my docent days. ONE! Thirteen years of service, NO complaints, and a LOT of hard work, taking classes to be sure I am doing stuff right, writing two major grants, and this is what I get for trying to do things right! I had refused to attend a meeting, called by “3 or 4 people”. They were not telling me why the meeting was being called, it was originally called by the secretary which was not according to by laws, and I told them the person who should call the meeting, if I am uncapable (and I was NOT), & it needed to be done properly. But, maybe this is why I was to be thrown off the board, because I refused to sit and listen to them tell me about all the wrong I was doing, when I was NOT. Ken let my husband know that it was time to return all DCHS property to the Annex including the keys. So, basically, I was removed without a vote by the board. For no reason whatsoever in my mind.
9. So three or four people decided that I didn’t belong on the board. Ken Deatherage because my opinions and legitimate concerns were not “palatable”. Cynthia probably because I triggered her, and because obviously she thinks she should be allowed to do as she pleased, because she NEVER corrected the clothing being used as protection problem on the steamer trunk to my knowledge. And Dale Greenly because I had the audacity to send the whole board an email voicing my concerns about Charlotte Eggleston which are as follows:
A. We would be breaking a former’s board’s precedent, and ignoring their very valid concerns.
B. It looked to me like Ken was making this a command decision, and there really was no vote yet.
C. At the time, Charlotte had told me to print a message in the Umpqua Trapper, “from the President” and in his name, John Robertson, without John’s permission. She had given a box of genealogical stuff to the local Genealogical society without anyone else’s knowledge or permission, and I saw it returned, so I know it happened. I had been told that she had brought in an appraiser, when that is unethical. She either attempted to sell or promised to give a sewing machine away. There is a confederate money(s) that may be missing. Board members at the time had NO clue what all had happened and what was missing that is how far out of control they felt at the time.
D. I also stated that had Charlotte really run a historical society, she would have not done the things she did simply because what she did, did not follow proper museum protocol (accessioning in AND OUT). And with these concerns, I honestly, don’t see why anyone would take a chance. Yet, when my husband delivered the keys to the Annex, Ken had Charlotte in the Annex, and it looked like an interview to my husband. We figure she’s on the board at this point. Which gives her unlimited power to throw things away, which is something she told me she did. Which might have been fine, if she had followed proper protocol.
At this point, if our collections are audited, we’d never pass the audit.
…”she told Clyde that she had to do whatever it was the Ken asks of her, because her paycheck depended on it. Does her paycheck depend on her vote(s) as well??”…
- 0. Last but not least, While dropping the mail key off to Carol Dudley, my husband Clyde made a remark, it was probably meant to be humorous knowing him. Carol’s answer however spoke volumes. Not a direct quote however she told Clyde that she had to do whatever it was the Ken asks of her, because her paycheck depended on it. Does her paycheck depend on her vote(s) as well?? I do not know at this point, if any of these people, have broken any laws severely enough to be looked at. I know if I sat in an official’s seat in Salem, I’d want to look further.
Please note that when it comes to the protection of history, I am and have been for years and years, very passionate about not only the protection, but also preservation, conservation, maintaining in an ethical, honest, transparent, and absolutely legal way! I know that there are several people out there that would back up that statement whole heartedly. Thank you for your time. Please note that I do have emails, notes, agendas, minutes, etc. to help to prove nearly all if not all of what I say here.
Thank you for your time, Peggy A. Rowe Snyder
Former President, DCHS, and now a VERY concerned citizen.
(P.S. I never officially resigned, and I still have no letter informing me that I have been voted out.)