A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Box on the roof: City sets public hearing

Written September 24th, 2022 by Hasso Hering

Here’s the steeple base, already repaired on Sept. 17, about which the Landmarks Commission will hold a public hearing on Oct. 5.

Eventually — maybe one of these years — the oldest former church building in Albany might again get a steeple. But in the meantime it has only the base on which, once upon a time, its steeple sat.

The base looks like a box plopped on the roof of the building at 238 Third Ave. S.E. Because the base had deteriorated and was letting in water, the building’s owner, CHANCE Recovery, has repaired it.

The Albany Community Development Department determined that this was not a mere repair but an alteration of an historic building that needed a public hearing before the city’s Landmarks Commission.

The hearing, scheduled at 6 p.m. Oct. 5 at City Hall, will be for the “historic review of exterior alterations for the replacement of siding, trim and fascia on the steeple base of a commercial building.”

The building dates from 1875 and is listed on Albany’s inventory of historic properties as the Methodist Episcopal Church, constructed in the “rural vernacular” style.

In recent years it was the headquarters of the regional CHANCE organization. Now, according to the application for historic review, it serves as a temporary kitchen for the Second Chance homeless shelter on Jackson Street, and as a clothing and food closet for the poor and homeless.

A former director of CHANCE, still on the job at the time, told me a couple of years ago of plans to put a steeple back on the building eventually. This year, two other CHANCE representatives made the same point to the Landmarks Commission.

In its application for the repairs of the base, CHANCE said the materials to be used would be the same kind as those being replaced.

I don’t know when, in the distant past, the steeple fell off or was taken down, or whether a new steeple will ever go back on that building. But looking at that box alone, it’s hard to see much of historic interest, especially since it sits on a presumably nonhistoric steel roof. (hh)

A bike ride took me past the former church at 238 Third Ave. S.E. on June 17, 2022.




16 responses to “Box on the roof: City sets public hearing”

  1. Bill Kapaun says:

    “The Albany Community Development Department determined that this was not a mere repair but an alteration of an historic building that needed a public hearing before the city’s Landmarks Commission.”

    Who is actually running this CIRCUS? The Albany Community Development Department or the “Landmarks Commission.”

    Main point is as long as they are bullying somebody/thing, they are happy.

    BTW, shouldn’t they require it and the Cumberland fiasco to be churches because that was what they “historically” were? Or is that “too much history”?

    • Bob Woods says:

      “Main point is as long as they are bullying somebody/thing, they are happy.”

      Enforcing rules and regulations is not bullying. It’s called doing your job.

      You want bullying? Go to a Trump rally.

      • Al Nyman says:

        You should try it. He can speak a complete sentence unlike the current President and Vice President. Of course being able to speak and write nonsense seems to be a requirement for progressives.

      • Bill Kapaun says:

        “You want bullying? Go to a Trump rally.”

        RIGHT! Remember when he was running for president and the socialist scum would attack his supporters and then complain when his supporters defended themselves? The news media tried to conceal that, but let’s face it. They’re simply too stupid to convince anybody but their choir.

      • Shel says:

        Trump ralley? Lol. Brainwashed much? Turn off the CNN and think for yourself. That also had nothing to do with whats being discussed here.

  2. Shelley says:

    This is a travesty we are suppose to have laws for historical buildings and rules are to be followed !! Not some tin roof and a a box on top!! This is a church not some Lego box!! Boy our history is slowly being destroyed…

    • Pininah says:

      It hasn’t been a church for a very long time. It’s an old building that’s been hacked up and altered and probably isn’t safe to inhabit if one were to look closely. Have you been inside? If Jesus were here (he probably isn’t anywhere) he’d probably be in favor of removal to make way for safe affordable housing

  3. centrist says:

    Which is more important
    Continuation of function, or
    Continuation of appearance?
    The decision is often appearance at the expense of function.
    Clanks my gourd. I worked at an elderly ( profitable and still operating at 65) operation. Often called on to restore systems built of components obsoleted.
    “Functionally equivalent, commercially available ” was our guideline.

  4. Hartman says:

    The Peter Principle clearly states: The amount of work expands to meet the time allotted.

    Since maintaining old “historic” buildings is a continuing job, it makes sense that there are always going to be folks from this commission or that department who will necessarily be “working” on this or that project. Because governing is an ongoing, never-ending process, the “time allotted” is open-ended, thereby meeting the criteria so elegantly stated in Peter’s Principle.


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