Newberg Rallies to Help Historic Downtown Building and Businesses
A couple of weeks ago on the morning of December 13, a fire of unknown origins began in a National Register-listed building that houses the Critter Cabana and First Street Yoga businesses in Newberg. While the majority of the building was untouched by fire itself, the structure suffered smoke damage and other damage sustained in extinguishing the fire. There was also smoke damage to the Newberg Music Center next door. Now, with help from the Downtown Newberg Coalition (part of the Oregon Main Street network) the local Chamber of Commerce and others, the community is rallying to help restore this historic building and thriving businesses.
The building that houses the Critter Cabana and First Street Yoga was constructed in 1927 as a J.C. Penney’s, Newberg’s first chain department store. The building continued to house a J.C. Penney’s for over 50 years until 1980. The property was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2007 for its significant role in the commercial development of downtown Newberg in the early 1900s. More information about the building is available from the Oregon Historic Sites Database.
Fortunately, the Newberg community is supporting both businesses and the historic building through donations and pledges to volunteer. Mike Ragsdale, Executive Director for the Newberg Downtown Coalition, described how dozens of community members showed up two days after the fire for a spontaneous fundraiser to help the business owners get back on their feet. In addition, an account has been opened for “Friends of Newberg Music Center” to raise additional funds and a benefit concert is being planned to occur in the next couple of weeks. “The community is really behind them and it is very heartwarming,” Ragsdale says.