By Kelly Haverkate
Dayton, Oregon is a small city of about 2,500 people and the main downtown business block is comprised of six unreinforced masonry buildings. As with most early western towns, this block is the result of reconstruction after a 1906 fire that burned this area. The brick construction was actually due to a city ordinance, requiring all buildings be masonry.
Over the last four years, this block has seen some significant facade improvements, thanks in part to the Dayton Community Development Association working with Oregon Main Street, the City of Dayton and the Certified Local Government (CLG) Program, and to the Diamonds in the Rough grant offered by the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office.
The Harris Building is one of these structures and has undergone perhaps the most comprehensive facade restoration. Because this building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the owner qualified for and received a grant from the City of Dayton in the amount of $4,500 as a matching CLG grant to be used for the cleaning, repointing and repair of the brick in the facade.
The owner was then faced with the decision of simply “tidying up” the altered facade, or taking it apart and reconstructing it to appear as it did originally in 1912. The ability to apply for, and receive the Diamonds in the Rough grant made the difference in that decision. The project received $10,000 toward the restoration of the window portion of the lower facade. The total project was completed at a cost of approximately $150,000.
As a result of the positive work on the Harris Building (and two others who did some facade restoration with the help of matching CLG grants) three other downtown property owners chose to — on their own — paint and clean up their buildings. There are two buildings left in the block that have recently been purchased and will be undergoing their own restorations soon, thus creating a whole new/old look for Downtown Dayton!
Kelly Haverkate is the Program Manager for the Dayton Community Development Association (DCDA). Dayton is a Certified Local Government with Oregon’s State Historic Preservation Office and is part of the Oregon Main Street network.