Spruced up for reopening
Normally bustling with people, The Raven Bar & Grill endured the quietest spell of its 35 years in Woodburn between March 16 and May 25 this year.
Like all hospitality establishments, The Raven was shuttered as social-distancing practices were implemented as a tool to combat the spread of COVID-19. When Gov. Kate Brown's office gave Marion County the nod for partial reopening, The Raven was ready.
Owner Tina Wiltsey-Trevizo shifted gears during the shutdown and revved up a remodeling project, affording a snazzy interior featuring a chrome encased bar and, of course, environs that accommodate safety and social distancing.
The work atmosphere is very different than it was a few months ago, with coronavirus-altered protocol. As an example, only one person is allowed at each video lottery machine, and when that person is done, the machine must be turned off and cleaned before another can play.
Moreover, the bar can accommodate only 33 customers within its confines at any given time, none of whom can be seated at the bar.
But even with all the reopening caveats and chores to go with them, opening the doors anew was a welcome moment.
"I missed everybody; it was good to see everybody — and everybody needed to get out and about." said Tracy Yazzolino, the bar's manager.
Wiltsey-Trevizo was excited to showcase the new digs, which her husband, Raul Trevizo, worked on tirelessly during the break, fitting in his labors when he could, while also working his full-time job at Perlo Construction.
"We used to have a pool table, but we had to take that out," Wiltsey-Trevizo said, pointing out all the work alterations. "The machines are all in different positions. We normally have four more tables and 33 more chairs in here, but we have it so everybody is spaced six-feet apart."
Obviously, household members can share the same table, and there are long tables available for fuller households.
Another oddity is closing at 10 p.m., a time when The Raven's business normally begins to peak. Once the county can achieve Phase II reopening status (it must be in the current Phase I for at least 21 days), then bars can stay open until midnight, and they may be able to accommodate more customers, though nobody is really sure.
Although the circumstances are unprecedented, this is not the first makeover The Raven has seen over the decades.
"Over 35 years we've had a lot of changes," Wiltsey-Trevizo said. "We've done five remodels...this was a whole facelift to make things more modern and trendy."
She describes the clientele as one that is as diverse as the city it serves; seniors to millennials, from all reaches of the community.
"We have all types who like to chill in here," Yazzolino said. "And as long as you aren't a pain in my (rear), you are welcome to chill in here."
A Canby native, the manager has been a part of The Raven, off and on, since 1987, including the past nine years consecutively. She and the owner both looked forward to having the 35th year being something to celebrate, prior to the international pandemic changing their plans.
Original plans included a pig roast to celebrate the milestone year. But COVID conditions nixed that.
Nonetheless, they are making the most of it. In lieu of the roast, they will have a lot of specials to offer their faithful clientele — and they are diligent about keeping it a safe place to hang out.
"Did you ever think way back then that in 35 years we would be sitting in here with masks on," Wiltsey-Trevizo asked her manager? "It's just the way of the world today."
A Woodburn fixture
What: The Raven Bar & Grill
Where: Where Highways 99E and 214 intersect
Current hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., 7 days a week
Highlights: Celebrating its 35-year anniversary; newly remodeled during the roughly 10-week closure forced by COVID-19 pandemic
Web: ravenbarandgrill.com; facebook.com/theravenbarandgrill
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