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Willamette General Store redevelopment halted because of structural issues


City revokes occupancy certificate for incoming restaurant

by: TIDINGS FILE PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - A restaurant was set to move in to replace the Historic Willamette General Store, which closed in January, but progress was halted last week when the city discovered structural problems in the building. Development of a new restaurant at the old Willamette General Store property will be delayed indefinitely after structural issues were discovered during an inspection of the building.

The city revoked the incoming restaurant owner’s certificate of occupancy July 16, and also put a halt to the formal permitting process until further notice, according to Community Development Director Chris Kerr.

“The assessment identified structural issues with the building that make it unsafe for occupancy,” Kerr said. “They will need to complete a more comprehensive structural analysis and abate any issues identified prior to moving forward with their permit.”

According to Kerr, the issues centered on supporting and exterior walls at the property, which “are leaning at an unacceptable level.” Inspectors also discovered that columns and beams in the building were deteriorating, unsecured or had been “materially modified.”

The store property has been located in the Willamette neighborhood under a series of owners since 1913. The store’s most recent owner, Ryan Dato, began managing the space in 2011, at first with the intent to operate as a hardware, convenience and home store before shifting the space into more of a restaurant and bar. The store shut its doors Jan. 19.

Kerr said there is no timetable for when the repairs might be completed, should the potential owner decide to continue the project.

“It’s pretty cut and dry,” Kerr said. “This puts everyone on notice that it has to be fixed immediately.”

By Patrick Malee
503-636-1281 ex
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