A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Repairs and paint downtown

Written July 15th, 2017 by Hasso Hering

Workers started on the top of the Knights of Pythias Building on July 8.

Structures in downtown Albany are getting dressed up this summer with urban renewal help from CARA, the Central Albany Revitalization Area.

Last weekend I noticed that work had started on the facelift of the Knights of Pythias Building, 230 Lyon St. It was back in February that the CARA advisory board and city council, as the Albany Revitalization Agency, approved a $10,000 grant toward what was expected to be a $25,000 project. The building dates from 1913, and owner Daren Clowser wanted to have the exterior, including the historic windows, repaired and repainted.

The project was approved under CARA’s storefront revitalization program.

On Wednesday (July 19), CARA will consider another storefront restoration, this one at Hasty Freeze, 655 Lyon St. Owner Tony Pope is asking for a $10,000 grant to help pay for $21,445 in planned improvements to the iconic hamburger stand. The description with the CARA agenda mentions fixing the roof and “removing the overhang.” I’m hoping they don’t remove the overhang under which, while waiting for my order, I used to seek protection from the winter rain.

Also on Wednesday’s agenda, there’s a request by Sid Stevens, co-owner of the Bikman Building, for $1,281 under CARA’s small-grant program. The money would cover half the cost of replacing the cloth awning at the Little Wuesten Café, 115 Ellsworth St. (The name is based on the town in Germany where the café’s proprietor is from, his wife once told me.)

Last month CARA supported another project in the Bikman Building. The advisory board on June 21 approved a low-interest loan of $10,000 to help Klint Sheets, a Lebanon police officer, open a brewery business in a vacant storefront on the First Avenue side of the building, at 136 First E.

So, bit by little bit, the revitalization of downtown Albany marches on. (hh)

Reaching high at Third and Lyon as the Pythias Building gets dressed up.



5 responses to “Repairs and paint downtown”

  1. James Engel says:

    Bit by little bit the revitalization may be but, CARA still takes bite sized chunks of “skim off” from it’s taxing districts! Whether it’s paint or lipstick… It’s still “downtown” Albany. Has been, still is, & will forever be. Sorry, the malls have more parking!…JE

    • john hartman says:

      Malls are going the way of the dinosaur. On-line shopping is sealing their fate. CARA may be prescient.

  2. Bill Kapaun says:

    What’s the annual income is, of these poor property owners, compared to Joe Citizen?

  3. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Several years ago CARA had enough borrowing capacity to cover the entire cost of the new police/fire buildings. This would have spared the need for bond measures that were subsequently passed by a paltry percentage of voters.

    Now, every property owner will pay through the nose for many years. And CARA will continue to siphon tax revenue away from the other taxing districts to pay off CARA’s debt…with some of the debt proceeds being handed out in drip-drip fashion to these downtown cronies.

    So CARA landed two effective punches to the face of taxpayers –
    (1) keeping the slush fund intact for stupid pet projects like the ones you describe, and
    (2) burdening local taxpayers with additional property taxes to pay for buildings that are needed much more than paint.

    Typical Albany politics…greedy city government + voter apathy = abuse.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      Isn’t it fabulous that Albany continues to grow & improve by using proven tools – in spite of the whining & complaining by the usual suspects. I do love it so!


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