Seneca Fire Hall Fundraiser

Greeting cards by the late Bjerte ‘BJ’ (Larsen) Williams were contributed by her husband, Bill Williams, to the Seneca’s donated yard sale to be held Friday-Saturday, Oct. 11-12, at Seneca City Hall. The cards are also currently available at the Grant County Chamber of Commerce in John Day.

The artwork of the late Bjerte “BJ” Williams will be featured at the Friday-Saturday, Oct. 11-12, Seneca donated yard sale fundraiser with proceeds benefiting a new fire hall.

The event is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Seneca City Hall, during Fire Prevention Week.

Items for sale include furniture, antiques, household items, a chop saw and artwork from Williams and others.

“What we’re excited about is highlighting some of our local artists,” said city councilor Barb Northington.

Williams, who passed away in May, was an award-winning photographer, and her own pets were “models” in many of her greeting card designs.

Scenes in her work include a cat with reading glasses poring over a book in bed and a hen with a crutch under one wing, wearing a nurse’s hat.

Williams’ husband, Bill, who is a former city council member, has donated many of her cards and other photography to the cause, as well as props used in the photos.

“She was well known,” Northington said. “She posed chickens, frogs and cats, and sold cards in France and all over the world. She really tended to her animals and loved them.”

Some of Williams’ greeting cards are currently available for sale at the Grant County Chamber of Commerce at 301 W. Main St. in John Day before the yard sale.

Work from other artists featured in the two-day sale will include: Sue Finley, Paula Haack, Carmen McCormick, Linda Pace, Bill Clark and his son and others.

City Manager Raamin Burrell said the yard sale is part of an ongoing effort to raise matching grant funds.

“The Ford Family Foundation awarded a 3:1 Challenge Grant for up to $50,000,” Burrell said, adding that means they need to raise $16,666.

The Ford Family Foundation was established in 1957 by Kenneth W. and Hallie E. Ford. Its mission is “successful citizens and vital rural communities” in Oregon and Siskiyou County, California. The foundation is located in Roseburg with a scholarship office in Eugene.

The city of Seneca has already been granted $78,150 from a USDA Rural Development—Community Connect program, contingent upon a $50,000 match, and the city is also applying for other grants.

Northington said fire trucks at the current Seneca Volunteer Fire Department’s fire hall have tight quarters.

“We need a new fire hall,” she said. “They can’t even get their gear on, or work on the engine” inside the current hall.

Burrell said they already have architectural drawings for the new fire hall, which will be located between the city shops and old medical clinic on Highway 395 in town.

“Would like to start construction next spring,” she said.

Call Burrell for more information, including how to donate, at 541-542-2161. The city of Seneca is fundraising online with an auction and at their website at

For more information about Williams’ cards at the chamber in John Day, call 541-575-0547.


Angel Carpenter is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. She can be contacted at or 541-575-0710.

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