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Auction arrives early for North Marion, set for Feb. 13


INDEPENDENT FILE PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - The North Marion Auction will be Feb. 13, but supporters can participate in the online auction as early as Monday.The North Marion Auction, which has raised more than a quarter million dollars for the North Marion School District since 2008, is geared up to produce even more for the schools at the ninth annual event this Saturday.

Traditionally held in the spring, organizers decided to move the date to Feb. 13 to allow more time for programs to receive funding, specifically events like Outdoor School and the senior graduation party that are also in the spring.

“It’s the idea of getting fundraising under one umbrella,” said Christi Christenson, chair of the North Marion Auction Committee. “We weren’t getting funds to groups that needed it in May. By moving it up, we’ve eliminated a lot of those smaller fundraisers that people would have to do.”

The North Marion Auction, themed “Casino Royale,” is at Woodburn Health Center. Doors open at 5 p.m., with drinks and a silent auction. Dinner is served at 7 p.m., followed by the live auction at 8. The emcee for the auction is parent and volunteer Tom McConkey, and Gary McLaren, of McLaren Auction Services in Aurora, will serve as auctioneer.

Christenson said this event is as vital as ever to support the local school district.

“Funding from the state isn’t enough to take care of extra things that happen,” Christenson said, referencing that the district doesn’t have funds to send a team to the state championship or to fix outdated playground equipment. “The auction is there to supplement that.”

For those who can’t make it — and even for those who can — there is also an online auction to support North Marion schools. The auction opened Wednesday and continues through the end of Saturday.

The online auction was new last year, and proved to be a success: With proceeds from that and the regular auction, more than $40,000 was contributed, the most raised in a single year since 2010.

“It raised $3,500 for us last year, so I was really happy for that being our opening year,” Christenson said about the online auction.

The committee decides how to disburse raised funds based on formal requests from North Marion staff members and organizations within the district.

“We can’t take care of 100 percent of them, and it’s sad because none who apply are asking for anything frivolous,” Christenson said. “These are tools that children need to benefit their education.”

The money raised each year is not only donated to various groups within the North Marion community, but also goes toward a larger project of the committee’s choosing. The bulk of last year’s funds went toward revamping the grandstands in the football stadium so there were vertical panels beneath the benches.

“We made it a place that’s a lot more safe for parents to take their young children to events,” Christenson said, noting that the openings beneath the seats were large enough to fall through if someone wasn’t vigilant.

The auction also paid for the electronic readerboard on Boones Ferry Road outside the high school, but that took a few years to fund. Christenson said she’s hoping the committee will find a significant project that can be paid for with proceeds from a single year.

“We’re trying to pick things now that offer instant gratification, to show the public we will do what we say we’re going to do,” she said. “We try to put it toward something that would benefit the district the most.”

That’s why she’s hoping the online auction will allow more people to participate. It helps those who want to support education but can’t make it to the event Saturday, whether it’s due to a conflict in schedules, family obligations or simply not being able to afford the $40-a-head admission.

“There are 1,177 households in our school district, so if I could get a monetary donation of $10 from half of them, that would be almost $6,000,” Christenson said. “I can understand not having the money or the time, but if we can all do our part when the online auction is open, we can reap the benefits.”

And some of the prizes are worth it, such as stays in a Detroit Lake cabin and a Lincoln City beach house, a hot air balloon ride and even a tattoo service.

Tickets for Saturday’s event, which are $40 per person and are limited to ages 21 and older, can be purchased at nmauction.ejoinme.org/tickets2016. Sign up at that link to be assigned a bidder number in order to join the online auction.

To make an auction item donation, contact Christenson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-753-2582.

For more information, visit www.nmarion.k12.or.us and click on the “NM Auction” link in the upper right-hand corner, or visit North Marion All-Schools Auction on Facebook.

Lindsay Keefer covers Hubbard, Mount Angel and St. Paul. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-765-1193.