The Birth of Groundwaters Magazine
Groundwaters was begun in October 2004. It was the culmination of a dream that Judy Hays-Eberts of Veneta, Oregon had long
envisioned. Judy, a talented poet and writer, had always wanted a way to share not only her own considerable talent with her
friends and neighbors, but she wanted to give them a voice, as well. Her husband Sonny encouraged her and agreed to lend
whatever support she needed to make it happen.
That first 24 page issue in 2004 was typed on her computer and photocopied. She and Sonny bore all of the expenses for paper
and copying for the magazines that she produced. She took them around to local stores in the Veneta area and set up distribution
sites. Originally, 300 copies were distributed, but soon, more were needed and eventually, 500 copies found homes.
Judy has produced the issues since that day in 2004, every three months– in January, April, July and October. The initial direction
of the magazine, based on rural living and self-sufficiency, gardening and rural skills, gave way to a literary and poetic theme.
Snippets of local history, recipes and profiles of local people and businesses gave Groundwaters a community feel, as did
emphasis on family-based activities and content. Each issue now averages 32 pages and Sonny has honored his commitment to
lend both his moral and financial support to the magazine. Except for generous donations from grateful readers and contributors,
he paid the costs from his own pocket.
After the first couple of issues, both Judy and Sonny felt that they wanted to improve the print quality of the magazine. Copies
made on a copy machine did not provide the clearest resolution for the photographs, many of them provided by Sonny who is an
amateur photographer. Their goal was to obtain their own printing press, but after further research, they decided to buy a
commercial Hewlett Packard HP-5200 printer that would handle 11″ x 17″ paper. One was donated to them by a grateful reader.
Today, the printer cranks out between 500-800 copies each issue for distribution not only throughout Lane County, Oregon, but
to areas outside of the state.
Some of Judy Hays-Eberts’ early readers and contributors began offering their help with the publication of Groundwaters
magazine. Two of them, Pat Broome, who published a story in the very first issue, and Jennifer Chambers, who came on board
shortly afterwards, began meeting with Judy and collaborating with her on upcoming issues. Pat Edwards began volunteering her
assistance in the Fall 2006 after meeting Judy for the first time when she profiled their store in Lorane in the Summer 2006 issue.
Judy’s and Pat E.’s relationship began slowly — Pat contributed a few things that she had written and offered advice on layout and
content. In the early part of 2007, Judy began having serious health issues, however, and Pat Edwards took over the layout work
of the Summer 2007 issue. The pain and the need to focus on her health began taking their tolls on Judy and she began talking
about shutting down publication of Groundwaters. None of the staff, however, wanted to see what had become a cherished
publication to many, end. Besides doing all of the layout work, Pat E. began taking on more of the preliminary decision-making
and planning with the help of Pat Broome and Jennifer. Judy guided their efforts and contributed whatever writing and advice that
her health allowed. Soon, Pat Edwards’ brother, Jim Burnett, began taking an interest in Groundwaters. He’s been a reviewer for
one of the state’s writers groups for several years and volunteered his services as a long-distance consultant via email. He and his
wife Jonni have lived in their RV headquartered in Portland, Oregon since his retirement several years ago.
Their goal at first was to just keep the magazine going until the end of 2007. None of the staff felt that we could take on the huge
financial burden that Judy and Sonny faced each quarter and we were unsure how we could generate enough income. Even though
Judy’s faithful readers and contributors were generous with cash donations, it was an income that could not be counted on each
quarter. They explored the possibility of applying for non-profit status in order to be able to apply for grant funding; but the
process of forming a board of directors, holding structured meetings and doing the vast amount of paperwork that would be
required was more than any of them wanted to commit to. They also felt that it would take the control for what they produced out
of their hands.
Judy began turning over more and more of the responsibility to Pat E., as the pain she dealt with on a daily basis took over much
of her energies. Pat began trying to focus the group on identifying a solution so that they could keep the magazine going beyond
January 2008. Thus, everyone became committed to finding some way to make it support itself. Pat E. headed up a plan to seek
enough advertisers to pay for the 500 free issues that are committed to each quarter. Judy was concerned that they try to seek
the advertisers from outside of the Veneta area so that they would not be in direct competition with the publishers of the West
Lane News. That’s just one of the many qualities that has earned her so much respect throughout the area – it’s an example of her
heart and love for community. She has never wanted to intrude on her neighbors. But, at the same time, it made it harder to find
enough businesses in the smaller, outlying communities to meet their goal.
The staff determined that it would need to sign on at least 15 to 20 advertisers each quarter to cover the cost of printing and
paper for the magazine. Subscription rates were re-evaluated and raised to make sure that they covered the cost of postage and
supplies used for mailings during this time of ever-increasing postal rates.
In the meantime, Judy was determined to step aside completely and allow Groundwaters to continue to grow under the guidance
of the others. Five volunteers, Jennifer Chambers, Pat Broome, Jim Burnett, Sonny Hays-Eberts and Pat Edwards formed a Limited
Liability Company (LLC) called Groundwaters Publishing, LLC. Pat Edwards is the Manager of the business and Managing Editor
of the magazine, and she and her husband Jim Edwards donated the use of an unused building in Lorane, Oregon where the
production work for the magazine could be housed. Groundwaters Publishing, LLC continues to have its roots in Veneta and much
of its distribution will be in the Veneta/Elmira area, but the actual work of producing it is based in Lorane.
The transition was not easy. There were occasional clashes over misunderstandings, but everyone kept a close friendship
throughout, working towards keeping Groundwaters alive and well. All who work on the project have a tremendous respect for
each other. That’s the glue that is holding it together for them and as time goes on, that’s what’s going to keep Judy’s dream alive.
The magazine and publishing company has evolved through other iterations and staff changes since then. It is now owned by Pat Edwards, Jennifer Chambers, and Ryan Chambers. we look forward to the future and what it brings!