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Effort to return the facade of the First Street building to its original design coming to an end

Maureen Rogers is tickled by the progress contractors have made on renovation of the building that holds her business, Chapters Books & Coffee.

"We're just so pretty now," she said last week.

The process to return Chapters, 701 E. First St., to what it looked like when it opened in 1891 as a dry goods and grocery store has had its challenges, she said. GARY ALLEN - Reconstruction of the front of Chapters Books & Coffee is nearly complete at the store's First Street location. The effort, which took about three months, was partially funded by an Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant.

Built in 1891 under the name Morris, Miles & Co., the building initially had a storefront of exposed brick with the company name built into the sign, two entrances and a line of overhead transom windows. Rogers had a historic photo of the building and heard from a local that there may have been a saddlery there at that time, but other information was limited.

One of the challenges for the contractor, Powell Built Homes, was to remove the orange-painted stucco that covered the original brick, sign and windows, as well as resurrect the original two-entrance design. Rogers said the results will speak for themselves.

"Oh my gosh, I love it," said the co-owner of the business with husband Bill. "The contractor has been just so meticulous with all the little things."

The project began in earnest in August and the Rogers', owners of the building since 2005, said the hope is it will primarily be done this week.

The project was funded in part through a state grant secured by the Newberg Downtown Coalition last summer for $93,000; the Rogers were required to match one-third of that cost in cash, in-kind donations and volunteer labor.

The state funding comes from a relatively new program called the Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant, which aims to revitalize old main streets and stimulate the economy through restoration.

"The case we made, the narrative in the application, was that restoration of this building will enhance the block, will enhance that part of town … and we believe it will and certainly expect that the revitalization of this old façade will assist in attracting tourists," Mike Ragsdale, Newberg Downtown Coalition executive director, said in July.

While under the grant the owners have up to a year to finish the project, Rogers speculated that within a few weeks the scaffolding will disappear and people can fully appreciate the transformation and the quality of the contractor's work.

"It's all just done with such … he knows what he is doing," she said. "It fits. It's what we were going for."

Contract Publishing

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