Rivoli update

posted by Michael Zoldessy on May 28, 2009 at 10:45 am

PENDLETON, OR — Folks: No good news except that the old bring structure still stands on Main Street.

We have a week City Council and Mayor and a blackguard city manager who runs everything and who has actively kept the Rivoli from being redeveloped.

But I think I have discovered how he recently frightened the East Oregon Symphony away from Rivoli involvement when their office burned down and the local and awful city auditorium—their venue—was in danger of being abandoned by the Symphony for the Rivoli (as a starter tenant).

First, I think the city manager suggested to the symphony that they should have an asbestos and toxic mold study done of the building (which is almost gutted). And sure enough, the experts found a terrible mess: some light ballasts with bad chemicals in them, some life threatening mold from a leak in the roof, some paint with lead in, and in 31 sites in the building that the experts checked for asbestos, they found it in nine. The total cost for abatement was estimated at $2,759.31. Talk about budget-busting!

Now, beyond that pitiful number, the report ignored the fact that all this predictable information was useless because we all know the building would have to be totally rebuilt to be reused. It would be fully gutted with the hazardous stuff all carefully carried away in dumpsters. But the Symphony in a cover letter with the asbestos report told the building owner that the building “in abundant locations presents a health hazard to people.” The report was thus used to frighten away anyone who looked like a supporter of the Rivoli. One important citizen who controls downtown urban redevelopment told me that whatever was done with the Rivoli, she would never enter it! Never!

Once the Symphony was sufficiently frightened by this 9/11 level of hazardous waste material, the city manager gave them a deal they couldn’t pass up: lovely free office space in the basement of the auditorium. But some of us continue the fight for the building and one developer is interested.

Now, the purpose in my writing: I need a summary article that lists the typical benefits of bringing back classic movie houses, the typical reasons to do it. You know of such a published piece? When the city manager rails against the Rivoli, I need to be able to quote from such an informed argument for saving these old treasures.

Tom Hebert

Theaters in this post

Comments (1)

KenLayton on May 28, 2009 at 10:56 am

The League of Historic American Theatres as well as the Theatre Historical Society have just the documents you need.

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