Rivoli Restoration Revs Up

After years of preparation, the effort to restore Pendleton’s Rivoli Theater is ready for its first act.

The Rivoli Restoration Coalition recently released its comprehensive plan, including initial details about a campaign to raise money for the first phase of the project.

Coalition President Andrew Picken said the nonprofit corporation will sign a contract with Opsis Architecture of Portland later this week to design a restored version of the 93-year-old theater.

The design process comprises the first phase of the process, which Picken said will help determine the exact costs of the restoration.

The coalition is currently estimating the entire project will cost $4.4 million, with the first and second phase costing $391,033.

Picken said the coalition has already spent $200,000 to clear the property of asbestos, old equipment and debris since obtaining it in 2010, and more cash will be needed to cover all phases of the project.

As both a fundraising effort and a public awareness campaign, the coalition is coordinating the Pendleton Real West Festival April 16, 17 and 18.

The festival will feature classic Westerns and films made by Native American and Northwest filmmakers.

Coalition member J.D. Kindle said opening night movies will include The Lusty Men, a 1952 Western featuring scenes shot in Pendleton, and The Winding Stream, a documentary about the families of Johnny Cash and June Carter directed by a woman based out of Vancouver, Wash.

Those movies and others will screen in several venues throughout Pendleton — Hamley’s Saloon, the Vert Auditorium and Pendleton Cinema.

To further bolster the festival, Kindle said the coalition will start a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund the event in the coming weeks.

If the coalition isn’t able to meet their goal, Kindle said the festival will be pared down, although he expressed confidence that the Kickstarter would succeed.

While initially meant as a way to garner financial and public support for the Rivoli restoration, Picken said the festival is intended to become an annual event, with the Rivoli becoming the central venue once restoration is complete.

According to the comprehensive plan, the Rivoli will reopen as a multipurpose performing arts center in 2020, a timeline that Picken called “ambitious.”

Picken said the coalition is no longer working in hypothetical scenarios, with major questions now involving when the Rivoli will open and what it will look like.

Despite the ambitious timeline and no concerns over the foundation of the building, Picken said keeping the structural integrity intact will be a key point of the restoration.

“If it takes a little longer … then that’s what we’re going to do,” he said.

With the Rivoli fast approaching the century mark, Picken said he wanted the theater to stand for “another 100 years.”

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Oil tanks and tons of debris removed from the Rivoli

By CHRIS RIZER East Oregonian

With nine tons of debris removed, Pendleton’s Rivoli Theater is one step closer to looking like its old self.

Contractors for the Department of Environmental Quality Thursday finished hauling away two old furnace oil tanks that were mysteriously enclosed in cement and sand in the basement. The project — estimated to cost less than $43,000 — was paid for with Environmental Protection Agency funds.

“We could have left it all, but we elected to remove it because we needed the space and because the Department of Environmental Quality (funded it),” said Rivoli Restoration Coalition President Andrew Picken.

“There’s always the potential that the tank leaks and releases heating oil,” said Pendleton DEQ project manager Katie Robertson. “If you had enough contamination it could go through the floor, and if you had cracks.”

The DEQ found no soil contamination in a visual inspection, but it will take two weeks to complete final chemical test results. Robertson doubts they will find any issues.

The DEQ has reported 161 storage tank leaks in Pendleton since 1989. The DEQ requires property owners to report storage tank leaks — but not all of them need to be cleaned up by the DEQ.

Removing the oil tank was just one part of this week’s Rivoli cleanup. Starting Tuesday, a four-man crew removed nearly six tons of sand, almost three tons of concrete and 80 gallons of old diesel fuel from the building. The concrete will be thrown in a landfill and the rest recycled, said project manager Steve Misner.

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Volunteers remove 20,000 pounds of debris from Rivoli

PENDLETON — The Rivoli Restoration Coalition and other volunteers have removed about 20,000 pounds of various materials from the historic theater since August.
The group has recycled about half the materials they collected on August 11 and Nov. 10, coalition president Andrew Picken reported Thursday at the Pendleton Development Commission meeting. The debris included church pews someone had stored in the building and outdated sound equipment.
The PDC in April gave the coalition $38,000 to buy the crumbling 1920s-era theater from Greg Galloway.
The coalition will hold one more clean-up day before the end of the year, at a date to be determined. They plan to start fundraising efforts soon, Picken said.

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Deconstruction exposes Rivoli marquee original framework

PENDLETON — A local contractor on Monday found that a steel frame is all that’s left of the Rivoli Theater’s original marquee.

The Rivoli Restoration Coalition hired Sign Men Co. of Pendleton to remove the marquee’s 1960s exterior to reveal what remained of its original 1927 construction. Peter Meijer, a Portland architect, told the coalition the now-exposed steel frame is the marquee’s only remaining historical aspect.

“That’s all that was there, which was less than we had hoped,” said coalition president Andrew Picken. “It’s good that it was there. We’re going to use it when we restore the original marquee.”


The frame will remain as-is until the coalition raises money to continue restoration, which they are planning to start in the beginning of 2013, said Picken. In the meantime, they may apply rust retardant to protect it from the elements.

The coalition has not settled on a price with Sign Men Co., but Picken told the East Oregonian on Sept. 28 the project shouldn’t cost more than the $5,000 it received in grants. Meijer, who specializes in restoring historic buildings, has offered pro-bono consultation and donated $2,500 to match a Historic Preservation League of Oregon grant to restore the marquee.

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Rivoli Restoration: Marquee deconstruction begins

E.J. Harris | Posted: Monday, September 24, 2012 9:25 pm



Ed Miltenberger with Sign Men of Pendleton practices his cowboy roping skills Monday while throwing an extention cord to Lorin Lendell of Pendleton. The company is working on the old marquee on the Rivoli Theatre on Main Street in Pendleton. The old marquee, except the original steel frame, will be removed and replaced as part of the theater’s ongoing restoration project.


Ed Miltenberger with Sign Men of Pendleton practices his cowboy roping skills Monday while throwing an extention cord to Lorin Lendell of Pendleton. The company is working on the old marquee on the Rivoli Theatre on Main Street in Pendleton. The old marquee, except the original steel frame, will be removed and replaced as part of the theater’s ongoing restoration project.


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Rivoli to find out what’s underneath marquee: grant money for project comes from Portland architect

Posted: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 9:58 pm | Updated: 10:02 pm, Tue Sep 18, 2012.

East Oregonian |
1 comment

The Rivoli Theater in October will be a step closer to providing downtown-goers a glimpse into Pendleton’s past.

The Rivoli Theater Coalition now has all of the $5,000 it budgeted for a contractor to strip the building’s 1960s marquee covering how it looked when it was built in 1927, said President Andrew Picken. A Portland architect who specializes in historic structures donated the $2,500 the coalition needed to match a Historic Preservation League of Oregon grant it received because it was one of nine locations added to the non-profit organization’s 2012 list of most endangered historic places. The coalition is negotiating with a local contractor for the job.

After the marquee is stripped, they’ll be able to determine what’s needed restore the marquee to its original architecture, said Picken, husband of East Oregonian associate publisher and owner Kathryn Brown.

“My hope is that when we get on ladders and peel this off is that there’s some element of the original marquee that’s there,” he said.

Peter Meijer, the project donor, said he’ll give pro bono input on how to properly restore the building’s exterior and what contractors to use, although he hasn’t given suggestions on the selection of the deconstruction contractor.

Meijer has consulted for the restoration of the the Hollywood Theater in Portland and Liberty Theater in Astoria.

“Our office just looked at that as an opportunity for a great project, hoping others would step up to the plate (with financial assistance), as well,” said Meijer, who was part of the team that worked on the feasibility the coalition commissioned for $50,000 in 2010.

Rivoli coalition member Peter Walters said restoring Main Street buildings to their original historic appearance helps revitalize downtown. Restoration makes that section of the city more attractive to new business, and enlisting the help of local contractors for those project boosts the economy.

“A lot of places have let their historic districts crumble,” Walters said. “Pendleton has done good job of restoring the downtown district’s core. I think that the town looks better and feels better because of it.”

Picken said the coalition will continue fundraising as it continues with the project.

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Rivoli Theater Clean-Up Day August 11, 2012

Volunteers brought tools, food, energy and a great deal of enthusiasm to the Rivoli Theater today!

For eight hours, a dozen volunteers hauled debris out of the Rivoli Theater. Among the items removed: approximately 5,000 pounds of old theater chairs, an abandoned photocopy machine and a ceiling fan well past its prime. Volunteers carried, swept, hauled and dragged until the main floor of the theater was completely clean for the first time in many years.

Pay Doherty of Irish Iron, out of Pilot Rock, hauled most of the metal items away for reclamation.

The Rivoli Coalition thanks these dedicated volunteers for their work!


5,000 pounds of refuse removed......

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Rivoli will get high-tech 3-D model

Posted: Friday, August 3, 2012 10:50 pm | Updated: 11:11 pm, Fri Aug 3, 2012


East Oregonian | 0 comments

The non-profit coalition championing Pendleton’s Rivoli Theater has partnered with a Portland 3-D imaging company to showcase the building’s assets and gather architectural measurements.

On Saturday, August 10 or Sunday, August 11, Paul Tice of i-10 Associates will gather measurements and 3-D images from the building using lasers. He will later use the images to show the building’s potential to the public on the coalition website and posters. He said 3-D glasses will not be necessary to view the images, although his company makes products with such capabilities.

“With these images people will be able to take virtual tours of the Rivoli through web-based technology with any device that has access to the internet,” said Dr. Andrew Picken, Rivoli Restoration Theater Coalition president. “We’ll have a permanent record for the internal dimensions of the space, which will be very useful when we work with architects to develop the restoration plans for the site.”

Tice said he will use Computer Aided Drafting to touch up the images to show what the Rivoli would look like after a remodel. He said the lasers collect and measure the structure with a plus-or-minus 2 mm accuracy, which is convenient for creating renderings.

Although Tice is offering the services to the coalition for free, he doesn’t do so for all clients. But a passion for history led him to do pro-bono work on historical projects such as the Timberline Lodge in Mount Hood, Coos Bay’s Egyptian Theatre and the Petersen’s Rock Garden in Redmond.

“This is one of the significant benefits of restoring historic buildings through the non-profit model,” said Picken, who is married to East Oregonian associate publisher and owner Kathryn Brown. “This is probably the first of soon-to-be many examples of this sort of generosity.”

Tice said he partnered with a photographer to produce a package complete with laser images and interviews with locals to help the Historic Preservation League of Oregon enter the Petersen Rock Gardens in the national historic registry.

Peggy Moretti, Historic Preservation League of Oregon executive director, said the organization connected the Rivoli coalition with i-10 Associates as part of the services it offers to the theater as one of the Oregon’s nine endangered places.

Moretti said the Rivoli was inducted to the list in May. HPLO provides endangered site members services such as preservation strategy development, assessing rehabilitation needs, securing grants, and connecting organizations to experts like i-10 Associates. But she’s not sure how much work she’ll have to do with the Rivoli.

“(Picken’s) group was a little more organized than the other folks we run into and work with, she said. “So Andrew and his group had laid some groundwork.”

Moretti said the Rivoli coalition nominated the theater for the endangered status. A volunteer advocacy committee and the HPLO board of directors chose it because it met criteria of historical significance, urgency, community support and long-term viability.

The building demonstrated urgency because former owner Gregory Galloway considered demolishing it before the title in mid-June switched to the commission after the Pendleton Development Commission purchased it for $38,000.

The PDC purchased the Rivoli for the coalition under condition of the roof’s resurfacing, which Palmer Roofing finished last month.

The coalition’s interest in preserving the theater demonstrated community support, and the theater was considered viable because HCLO deemed it financially self-sustaining, Moretti said. Opened in 1922, the Rivoli is considered historically significant because it’s part of the Pendleton’s South Main Street National Historic District, and in its prime was Umatilla County’s premier gathering place, according to an email from HPLO fields programs manager Brandon Spencer-Hartle. Moretti said Oregon has a lot of small, downtown theaters like the Rivoli that need restoration. “When we looked at the Rivoli, we saw it as an example for other communities,” she said.

She said resurrecting venues like the Rivoli can revitalize downtown areas, which fell by the wayside with the rise of shopping malls. “After WWII people started moving to suburbs,” she said. “People drove everywhere instead of walking. It was considered progress and modern.”

For more information on i-10 Associates, visit www.i10assoc.com. For more information on the Rivoli Restoration Coalition, visit rivolitheater.org.

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Re-roofing the Rivoli signals fresh start


East Oregonian

The start of a week-long roof resurfacing project and a positive Department of Environmental Quality report signal progress for the Rivoli Theater Restoration Coalition.

Mike Boodt of Palmer Roofing, Pendleton, said the new roof surface covers one installed in 1994 or 1995 and will have a 20-year warranty.

Dr. Andrew Picken, Rivoli Theater Restoration Coalition president, said the Pendleton Development Commission purchased the building for $38,000 and transferred the title from Gregory Galloway to the coalition contingent on the roof’s re-surfacing, a $29,000 expense covered by the city and coalition, and an environmental inspection. The coalition aims to renovate the historic building into a performing arts and entertainment venue and a downtown anchor.

Picken, married to East Oregonian associate publisher and owner Kathryn Brown, stressed that Palmer Roofing is resurfacing the roof, not replacing it.

“We’re putting on a single-ply membrane, thermal plastic,” said Boodt.

Katie Robertson, Pendleton project manager for the environmental quality department, said the building received a solid phase one environmental site assessment from GeoEngineers, the Portland firm the agency hired for the inspection. A two-engineer team reviewed the Rivoli and surrounding properties to determine environmental concerns.

“Honestly there was really nothing of significance in terms of environmental contamination,” Robertson said. “It basically looked very good … nothing you wouldn’t expect of a building that age.”

She said a cement vault filled with sand was found surrounding an area where a fuel tank was believed to rest.

“At some point in the future, when the renovation is taken to that part of the basement, they should identify if that tank is still present,” Robertson said. “And the other thing that they need to do that is recommended is to have an asbestos survey.”

She said that as standard procedure, GeoEngineers inspected nearby properties that could environmentally affect the Rivoli.

Several nearby former dry cleaner locations, underground fuel and storage tanks and a railroad roundhouse were identified as potential environmental conditions unlikely to affect the Rivoli building, Robertson said.

“[It’s] part of the requirements as part of phase one that you have to look at surrounding properties to see if they have contamination or if they have potential to have contamination, and to see if they have to potential to flow through, say, the groundwater and impact the property,” she said.

Picken said next in line for the project is fundraising. “We are in the planning stages to develop a capital campaign for funding for the first stage of the building renovation,” he said. The commission, he added, will continue to meet to decide how to raise money.

Will Perkinson, Rivoli commission vice president, said the project’s progress is encouraging.

“We’ve got a long ways to go,” he said Monday. “This is just the first step but it shows that we’ve got momentum. And it’s exciting because finally some people are doing something about the community’s taking action on this eyesore downtown.”

He said the Rivoli will satisfy the city’s need for a venue “designed with performance in mind,” aesthetically improve downtown, and boost business.

“I think it’s generally just going to make downtown and more desirable place to be,” he said. “It’s just something that’s missing.”


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Rivoli inspection done; closing just a step away

Posted: Friday, June 1, 2012 12:15 am

East Oregonian |

An environmental inspector toured the Rivoli Theater Thursday, a key step towards selling the downtown Pendleton landmark to a non-profit coalition that aims to restore it.

Dr. Andrew Picken, president of the Rivoli Theater Restoration Coalition, accompanied the inspector, environmental scientist Cris Watkins of GeoEngineers, a Portland firm, during the walk-through inspection.

Picken, who is married to East Oregonian associate publisher and owner Kathryn Brown, said the inspection turned up no surprises.

“No, actually, there wasn’t,” he said.

Delivery of the report is the final piece of a deal arranged to transfer title of the Rivoli from Gregory Galloway to the coalition. The city council, acting as the Pendleton Development Commission, agreed to provide the purchase money provided the title to the 115-year-old building transfers directly to the coalition.

Funds for the purchase of the building at 355 S. Main St. are in escrow with Pioneer Title — $38,000 from the city to buy the building and $29,000 from the city and the coalition to repair its roof.

Watkins said a phase one inspection involves looking the building over for storage tanks, staining, stored chemicals or heating oil. “Generally, we don’t identify asbestos, but I’m an asbestos inspector, as well,” Watkins said. Normally, no samples are taken, he said.

The building, in disuse for about 40 years, has a fuel-oil tank and its boiler may have asbestos insulation, both of which the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality may require to be remediated before the building is again fit for use. Only a non-profit or public authority would qualify for grants available for that work.

Picken said Watkins may deliver his report as early as next week to Pioneer Title, Pendleton, the last act in a process that should close the sale.

The next step is re-roofing the building, which leaks in at at least one spot. Then the coalition directors will meet to “plan out the rest of the year,” Picken said. That means identifying and prioritizing needs with an eye toward an eventual capital fundraising campaign. The coalition envisions restoring the building to an arts and entertainment venue and a magnet for downtown development.

Renovating the building could cost as much as $5 million, operating it as much as $150,000 annually, according to a report by Opsis Architecture of Portland.

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