Leaving the Carnegie Library Building: First Steps

On June 16, members of the Portland Shambhala Council and Relo Team prepared a proposal to our landlord for terminating our lease early. We face some real challenges: our income has been drastically reduced with the pandemic, many members are older and considered at high risk for serious complications from COVID-19, groups of more than 10 people could not be safely accommodated, and these things are unlikely to improve in the foreseeable future. We have deep ties to the Carnegie building because we have been there for over 20 years. However, we can no longer afford it.

Members of the Council and Relo Team met with our landlord. He was willing to let us terminate early, to our great relief.  The landlord would want to listed the space for lease as soon as possible and be able to show it.  They discussed possible move out times in August, without a fixed date. It was suggested that we should give the landlord a “hard stop” date for completing our move. We want to be flexible and accommodating as possible by allowing showings so that the landlord can get the space leased.  We would need to start packing as soon as possible, but a purifying the space ceremony needs to be done before we start packing and moving our possessions. The good bye Lhasang would have to be on Zoom for most people.

On June 16 met to discussed the terms of leaving and our next steps. They decided to propose August 31 as our final move-out date. We would do our best to accommodate the landlord in the meantime. One Council member felt setup and takedown can happen quickly. Another Council member pointed out, we should take down the shrines before it’s shown to potential future tenants. Some of our next steps could be: recruiting leadership and teams; scheduling; consulting Acharya Duquette, archives, and other Centers who do not have a physical center. An inventory of our belongings could include: setting up categories, a good time to shed belongings that are no longer serving us, and digitizing liturgies. Since we are going completely virtual, a few questions came up: What do we do without an office? Do we move the desktop computer to the cloud? and How will we continue the work of supporting the community, cultivate teachers, and other priorities?

An email was sent to our landlord on June 18 at 4:45 PM with our proposal. The email proposed a “hard stop” date for completing our move, our willingness to accommodate his need to show it, an offer for some rent compensation, and a request to have a signed lease termination agreement. August 31 would be our latest possible “move-out-by” date. We would accommodate as much as possible regarding the landlord’s need to show or lease the space.

On June 18, the big news was announced to the Portland Shambhala Community. The email described how Council asked for and our landlord granted an early lease termination. The reason given was we could not use the space at the Carnegie Library building because of the pandemic and that its configuration would make physical distancing practically impossible. In addition, our lease would end next January anyway. We have decided that it is in our best interest to go “completely virtual” immediately with the intention of finding an appropriate space to lease or buy in the near future. Our final date at 1110 SE Alder St will be August 31.

On June 28, we will have an online blessing & lhasang ceremony initiate and recognize our departure from the Carnegie Library Building.

If you have any thoughts, ideas, questions, or opinions you would like the council to hear, I will make sure your voice is heard. You can contact me at [email protected]

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