Locals Reaction to Camp Meeting Neighborly

By Oregon Camp Meeting Times Staff


Recently, here in the Communication Dept. at the conference office we were going through old Gladstone Camp Meeting newpapers and found a story we thought we’d share with you. This story is reprinted from the July 12, 1983, Oregon Camp Meeting Times.

The neighborhood surrounding the campground moves over for Adventists for nine days of camp meeting. Some don’t like the intrusion into their relatively small community of 10,000, but most think having you here is great. There is, of course, that veritable klutz who blocks someone’s driveway just before they are ready to go to work, or changes a child’s diaper on someone’s lawn expecting the homeowner to remove the diaper. But even those homeowners accept the Adventist camp as a permanent fixture and are still philosophic in their reactions, hoping that the kind and the courteous will be the ones who choose to park in front of their homes the next time. For, you see, the neighborhood has met many courteous Adventists. Some have even established lasting friendships with those who park in front of their home. Those are the ones who are brave enough to walk to the door and say: “Do you mind if I park here?”

One 27-year resident admits she has never been inside the campground, as do many of the others, but has invited her elderly parents to visit on the weekends in the past to listen to the sound of the sweet music wafting through the air.

Another neighbor likes to be awakened to the morning hymn and special music at 7:00 a.m.

One of the most classic expressions of kindness to the Israelites as they walk the streets for blocks to get to the promised campground is the lady who sat in her living room last year watching the people walk past her home. As she watched the mass of people with interest, she noticed an elderly couple who had obviously walked some distance already and had another block to go just to get to the gate of the campground. She darted out of her house, ran to the street, and insisted the lady come and rest a few moments while she sent the man back to get the car and park in her driveway so they wouldn’t have to walk so far. After all, she was going to work and wouldn’t need the driveway during the day anyway. One of the neighbors felt it her duty to report to the lady that evening that someone was eating their lunch in their driveway. Whereupon the lady responded by saying, “I know, and I hope they will come back next year.”

While some neighbors take vacations during this time to give us room, the Chief of Police refuses to grant any vacations to any officer for this two-week period. Obviously there is a lot more traffic in the area, which requires extra patrolling to prevent accidents and to assist motorists. But even with the extra patrols, Max Patterson states that there are always one or two serious accidents each year. He says the main reason for the accidents is due to the sheer volume of traffic.

Surprisingly, the one area that is rumored to be the greatest problem due to the massive impact of 18,000 people turns out to be the area of greatest cooperation, according to Al Kolb, Director of the Public Works Department for the city. For Gladstone, which has a population of 10,000, the average consumption of water a day for this time of year is 2.5 million gallons. But, last year, the campground used 1.5 million gallons for July.

The stores in the neighborhood even feel the impact. The mini-market reports an increase in their giant “slushies.” The other small store states that their biggest gain in sales is use of their video games.

Pete Myers, manager of Safeway two blocks from the campground, states the biggest impact on their store is in the ice and the produce department. The meat department doesn’t show any gain. One clerk mentioned that she hasn’t met anyone from the campground who wasn’t pleasant. “Even the young people are nice,” she continued.

Indeed, Adventists have a reputation to live up to in the city of Gladstone and among the neighbors. And, there are a few who have something to live down.

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