Massive Progress: Work Party and Nonprofit Status

It’s been just a little over two years since we decided to SAVE THE TANK.
So what’s happened in that time?

JUST THE HEADLINES (For busy folk.)

  1. FRIENDS OF THE TANK is now a 501c3 not for profit with the IRS.

Now for the real story.

Lets start from the beginning, entering the TANK through the portal.  Now many of us have been going in and out of the TANK for many years, each with their own contorted style, each with aching bones. But Bill Ballou and Jennifer Gilbert love metal, breathe metal, are not afraid of metal.  After two days their knees said “enough” and they made this beautiful handle out of high carbon steel from the push rods of an oil pumping station, the kind that stand silhouetted like dinosaurs on the hills above the tank.  

Now you can swing through like they do in the submarine movies. Bill shows the new style. OH my aching bones.  Why did we wait so long to invite the spirits of Vulcan to the TANK?

 How to get into the Tank if you're a shadow


Bill Demonstrates the new way to get in 


First, We got our 501c3 !!!!

This week the TANK went through some big changes, changes  that will allow it to become a CENTER for the SONIC ARTS in reality.  
This week the TANK went through some big changes, changes 
that will allow it to become a CENTER for the SONIC ARTS in reality.


We are now a designated US not for profit according to the IRS.  This means no sales tax, this means your contributions are TAX DEDUCTIBLE!!!!!  (donate here)   Lois LaFond still struggles with government online forms in her dreams.

Second, we got our BUILDING PERMIT !!! and had a work party. 


Jimmy Zorn and Makayla Pierce from the local community college are stretching a fence with Pau Bryantl, who has lived in Rangely only a month.  

Now its Kid Safe – people won’t fall off our cliff.  (Thanks to Bill Willis for the fencing materials and much more)

Fence Crew

Labor Day, we found out, is the time of year when Rangely goes wild with Rodeos, Pig Roasts, and Art Fairs and Parades. We saw more types of motorized vehicles in 10 minutes, than in 20 years in New York.  The kids in the cherry picker are throwing candy. 

Earth Mover on Flatbed


But that was the time window that mechanical genius Bill Ballou could skip out of his duties as Tech Director of REDCAT theatre in LA, and pick up metal artist Jennifer Gilbert in Vegas, and meet me, Bruce Odland, at the tank with their welders, grinders, tool boxes, ingenuity and NO FEAR OF METAL.

Did I mention that the TANK is made of 1/2” steel?



The big job was to put in ventilation that would allow our max capacity 49 people in the TANK to have 15 Cubic Feet of Air per minute, that’s 750 CFM flowing through the TANK without cutting new holes.  There is a trapdoor on the roof at 60 feet.  Through some brutal hard work in the sun, wind and altitude, Bill wrangled the odd angles and old metal.

 Bill Ballou grinding at the top of the Tank

Long story short, after days of fittings and mods, there is now a fan that swings into place when you open the trapdoor. I cooled the place down in 10 minutes last night, normally this would take hours.   An international code neatly solved, without sacrificing the nature of the tank.  Now we can get legal.

Ventilation in place! 


Once again, hats off to Bill Willis from W.C.Striegel who gave us such great support for the week by supplying welding gear, fencing, radios, ropes, ladders, all neatly dropped from a crane in a huge steel box.  It may take FRIENDS OF THE TANK a while to get used to the scale and style of work activities in this part of the world.  Everything is huge.  Here is what
Bill delivered when we asked for a work light to work at night.  It lit the entire property like daylight.


And when Jennifer Gilbert asked for steel scrap, Bill’s “scrapyard from hell”  turned into her “scrapyard from heaven”.

Jennifer Gilbert with Steel Rods

She picked out some high carbon steel drive shafts that came off the oil pumps as the right materials for the job at the TANK. Steel pure enough to make samurai swords or high quality tools.  Lots of it.  Thank you Bill Willis!


We are very lucky all along to be working with great people in Rangely and Rio Blanco County who are guiding us through the hoop jumping required to bring the TANK up to code as a place people can legally visit in the future.  That is what all the  fuss is about – making sure we get it right, safe, legal, so that the TANK is secured, preserved and can be a part of the Rangely Community and the world sound community.  Legal, safe and totally exciting all at the same time.  

Jeff Kummer, the Rio Blanco County Building Inspector, and Mark Sprague, Natural Resource Specialist, have been patiently showing us the ropes and guiding us through the complex County process, as Town Manager Peter Brixius has been doing in Rangely.

At first we were incredibly sad that we needed to remove the pipe that ran through the center of the tank at about shin height. We used it as seating while drumming, and we used it as an instrument, a drum, a huge vibration that shook the whole tank when kicked or struck as you can see in our recent videos. 


Jen Cutting The Pipe 2 

Jennifer Gilbert is very comfortable with fire, heat, and metal.  She’s the right woman for the job of cutting down the pipe. I was on top with Bill working on the ventilation when it dropped, and made the most alarmingly beautiful joyful noise – perhaps the loudest beautiful sound ever heard in the TANK.  Surprise –  it is much much better without it.  Now we have a whole instead of two halves, its become huge round metal KIVA. It is ONE.


Here’s the trick, use the code restrictions to make everything better.  Find a way to make everything into a musical instrument that benefits the TANK and stays in the style of the TANK.  Lois had a brainstorm, Bruce did the calculations, Mho and Barb 
did the measurements, Jennifer and Bill cut the pipe into lengths.

Pipe On Groud

 Jennifer used the steel pushrods from the oil pumps to make the stands.


And now instead of a “trip hazard” we have a beautiful open circle with seating around the perimeter that just happens to be an absolutely stunning sounding TANK GAMELAN. 

New Gamelan Bench

Each of these pipes is tuned to a scale that rocks the tank, sending up dizzying clouds of overtones that spin and circle – the old pipe has become the “VOICE of the TANK”. It is magnificent.  I’ll post recordings soon.

New Gamelan Benches in Tank

Here is another example of CODE JUJITSU.    We had to lock off the interior 55 foot ladder so future visitors would not be tempted to climb.  We designed a ladder block based on the Swiss practice of using a piece of plywood to cover the rungs. 
 But with a twist –

 Mho Building The Tank Harp

 Bruce Looking At New Tank Harp

Ours will also be a harp, like a Japanese Koto, with tunable strings, and nice high grade plywood resonance.  This TANKHARP gets locked to the ladder with a bicycle lock.  Mho built and installed it.  Bill and Jennifer attached metal arms to the ladder that allow us to swing the trapdoor open 60 feet overhead, swing the fan into place, and turn on the big fan.  

 New Cable Rig 




AC Quadbox in the Tank

It may seem like a simple thing, but try to run recording sessions on car batteries, and extension cords crossing a county road!


lamp on magnet

Magnetic handles and 6 new Phillips LED floods, put them anywhere. 


container location visualization 

We are working with Boulder Architect Sam Austin and Jan Burton on a wonderful control room built into a recycled shipping container.  It will one day house the gear, storage, hangout spot, windows onto the lovely landscape. Thank you Sam and Jan, Thank you David Brunel for spearheading this effort.


Bruce tries the new virtual door

We chose the location of the new door.  One day cellos, choirs, and Leslie speakers from Hammond organs can enter.  We will satisfy the code for an assembly hall of 49 occupants and at the same time honor local graffiti artists who marked this heraldic steel shield with a lovely yin yang. (The hinges and door outline are a Photoshopped visualization, not actually there yet.)

Photoshop Visualization of the Door 

Through this whole process we are being filled with the power of the landscape, the power and generosity of the people who live there. Rangely rocks!


  • We have power to the TANK.
  • We have a new road. (Thank you Elaine and Steve Urie)
  • We have County permission to change our use from storage to assembly hall. (Thank you Mark Sprague, and County Commissioners)
  • We have a building permit.  (Thank you Jeff Kummer)
  • We have local tactical support.  (Thank you Bill Willis and W.C.Streigel)
  • We have Lights, Ventilation, Fire control, Lead testing, Fencing.
  • Ladder block (i.e. TANK HARP) trip hazard removal. (i.e. TANK GAMELAN)
  • Road Signage. (Thank you Beth Wiley-Robinson)
  • We are developing a landscaping and planting plan. (Thank you Tom Ryan, Matt Scott) 
  • And we have a growing circle of volunteers and experts joining into a community of support for The TANK.

Thank you:

Beth Wiley-Robinson
Heather Zadra
Barbara and Don Wade
Elaine and Steve Urie
David Brunnel 
Sam Austin
Jan Burton
Bill Willis – W.C.Striegle Inc.
John Whipple
Jimmy Zorn, Makayla Pierce, Paul Bryant – Rangely volunteers
Roger and True Value Hardware
John at Heratige Lumber
Matt Scott
Tom Ryan
Peter Brixius – Rangely Town Manager
Dean Hubbell
Kent Borchard
Lief Joy
Jeff Kummer – Rio Blanco County Building Inspector
Mike Fields – WSI International
Boll Swigert – SGM-inc.
Ken Kenney (for his generous donation of land)


– Bruce Odland – Croton-on-Hudson – September 


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