A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

$10,000 toward a greater front view

Written July 18th, 2018 by Hasso Hering

This aluminum façade was modern and functional once. But now it’s headed for the scrap yard.

You won’t be looking at the famous “cheese grater” at 415 First Avenue W. for much longer. The downtown urban renewal agency Wednesday gave the building’s tenants $10,000 toward refurbishing the building’s front the way it looked after it was built around 1866.

There was no debate before the advisory board of the Central Albany Revitalization Area approved the grant request by Mercy House International Inc., the nonprofit that operates a second-hand boutique on the ground floor and hopes to buy the building.

As a first project, Mercy House plans to restore the façade at an estimated cost of $320,000. Restoring the original arched windows alone will cost around $62,000, and the CARA grant is to help with that part of the project.

The cheese grater, installed in the 1960s to hide the deteriorating brick front, will come down first.

Mercy House told the CARA board they haven’t yet started their capital campaign. Their plan is to turn the vacant upstairs into four or five apartments. Rental revenue, they hope, will help support their program of helping women get away from abusive men.

The building in its early years was known as the Kohn & C0. Building.

What else is new on the CARA front?

Newly installed street lights downtown are too bright for some tastes, and board members had wondered whether the lights were dimmable. They’re not, Seth Sherry reported Wednesday. He’s the city’s economic development director.

Also, wayfinding signs approved by CARA about six years ago will finally go up soon. But there’s been another delay as the posts apparently turned out to be too short, and a device to extend them is being made.

In the meantime, for the sake of 1960s nostalgia, go down First Avenue West and take another gander before the grater is gone to make way for a greater look. (hh)





16 responses to “$10,000 toward a greater front view”

  1. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    CARA continues to demonstrate their contempt for Albany taxpayers. Think about it.

    Without asking for permission, taxes paid by Albany residents for specific, essential services are skimmed away for specific, unessential services dictated by CARA.

    Nobody trusts a thief. Nobody should trust CARA.

  2. Doug Klinkebiel says:

    If that “cheese grater” is aluminum like you say, shouldn’t that bring a pretty penny in recycling?

    As for the street lights, I live downtown and I like their brightness. I just bought me some heavier/darkening curtains.

    The old style looking “War of the Worlds” lights were too dim.

  3. Bob Woods says:

    The thing to understand is Shadle has the political effectiveness of a gnat. He has been railing and railing; lying and lying; and whining and crying for well over a decade.

    The results? Downtown Albany is in better shape than it’s been in probably 50 years thanks to CARA and the fact that Gordon and his fellow serial-complainers are as popular as a sinus infection.

    It used be in America that people banded together in common cause to solve problems. We set ambitious goals and exceeded them. We sent people to the moon in less than 10 years after our first sub-orbital spaceflight, a feat NO OTHER NATION has yet duplicated.

    Shadle, Cordier and the rest of their fellow geriatric naysayers have spent their lives obstructing progress. No plan is correct. No project is worthy. No result is acceptable.

    And yet people of courage and good will press forward. They persevere, build coalitions, compromise, but never let loose of the goal of a better tomorrow. Their success becomes your success, and secures our children and grandchildren’s future.

    Our grandparents and great-grandparents succeeded against the odds because of their courage to succeed against the odds.

    People like Shadle, well, they left town. Sometimes on a rail trailing feathers.

  4. J. Jacobson says:

    “Age is something that doesn’t matter, unless you are a cheese.”

    Luis Bunuel

  5. chezz says:

    You are most fortunate to be in a city where the big news is aluminum siding and not drivebys. Kiss the ground you’re on!

    • hj.anony1 says:

      Just did. Twice actually. The second time was for good luck & better fortune. It was my backyard so………

    • centrist says:

      Thanks for the reality check.
      I spent my childhood in a megacity where capital crime was commonplace.
      On a scale of 0 to 10, Albany is likely below 1.
      By the way, I kissed the ground in childhood, but never voluntarily. Hurts for a second, then you gotta come up

  6. Avid Reader says:

    Downtown still is scare on customers….at least, every time I drive through it, which is at least twice a week to go to Sr. Center for my exercise class.

    Re Bob Woods: His comments are full of accusations of lying, whining, crying, being old a bad thing, being akin to a sinus-infection. Woods is an unpleasant, mean a – -, I would say.

    • Bryan says:

      I disagree. I see more and more people (and new businesses) downtown all the time. We spend more time down there then we ever have. I think about how nice its looking every time i go through now.

      • Bryan says:

        Down here now for lunch at Casetta di Pasta. Had to park two blocks away and there are people everywhere. The restaurant is packed. Doesnt seem to scarce to me.

    • hj.anony1 says:

      AVID… a question for you after you attack others…

      Is it time to relocate like “Shadle” has done? Ask him to be a roomie. He may take you in. I don’t know.

      Because I’ll invite 5 Woods in my home before -1 Shadle. Just sayin…..

      Downtown is nice and improving. Period.

  7. Gothic Albany says:

    So glad to hear this building is going to be restored. Let the naysayers live in some other soul-less town. This is a step in the right direction.


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