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.”