Portland Group Organizes A.R.S. Chapter
J. Harold Clarke
On May 15th at the Annual Meeting of the American Rhododendron Society, another step was taken, with the formation of the Portland Chapter, in the development of the Society into an effective national organization. From the beginning the Society has worked in the direction of nation wide membership. However, with most of the organizers and early members residents of Portland it was logical that most of the meetings were held in Portland, and so members in other parts of the United States could benefit only through the Quarterly Bulletin and other publications.
It soon became evident that it would be desirable to have the Society organized on a Chapter basis with groups wherever there were a dozen or more members who could conveniently get to a common meeting place. The impetus for this Chapter organization came primarily from Portland as the members in the Portland area were very much aware of the value of meetings. Accordingly, the By-Laws of the Society were reviewed, as printed in the July, 1951 issue of the Bulletin, to provide the mechanism whereby local Chapters could be organized, and financial and other matters worked out equitably between the Chapters and the parent organization.
Since this revision of the By-Laws became effective, Chapters have been organized in New York, Seattle, Tacoma, Eugene, San Francisco, and Richmond, Virginia. This arrangement has already brought into the American Rhododendron Society a number of new members who would probably not have joined the Society if it had not been for the impetus given by the holding of local meetings.
The Portland group, which has always had these local meetings, was understandably a little slow in organizing a local Chapter. However, at the last Annual Meeting, this group voted overwhelmingly to organize as a Chapter so that they would be on the same basis as groups in other areas. It probably should be stated at this time that some of the larger projects in the Portland area, such as the development in Crystal Springs Lake Park, have been financed by local interests and not by dues received from members of the American Rhododendron Society.
There are many people throughout the United States who enjoy rhododendrons and who may belong to this Society but who will never be close enough to other members to form a group. They, of course, will remain as individual members of the Society.
However, where there are enough enthusiasts, it is certainly to be hoped that they will get together and investigate the possibility of organizing a local Chapter. It occurs to this writer that the benefits to a member are about fifty-fifty from the publications of the Society and from the meetings. Where a good active group can be organized, therefore, the local members can just about double the benefit they get from the organization.
It is encouraging to see this Society, a relative newcomer in the field of national horticultural groups, expanding its membership and services. It is to be hoped that many of the Chapters will undertake Rhododendron Shows and other local activities which will increase their own enjoyment of their favorite shrub and which will be very helpful in bringing new converts.
As there was other business to be transacted at the Annual Meeting, There was not a great deal of time to discuss the future of the local organization and its general direction. The present officers of the American Rhododendron Society, who happen to reside in Portland, were requested to serve in the same capacity in the Portland Chapter. Thus, Mr. C. I. Sersanous is President, Mr. Robert Bovee, Vice-President, and Mrs. Ruth M. Hansen, Secretary-Treasurer.