Enchanted evening highlights Mt. Hood town hall revitilization

April 7, 2012

It might not seem like a big deal, but the new windows being installed at Mt. Hood Town Hall represent a major milestone in the building's revitalization.

For as long as anyone can remember, and as long as photos of the building go back, two windows on the southeast side of the building, just to the right of the entryway, have been boarded up. The room was originally used as a classroom, and volunteers guess the windows were covered so the wall could be used as a chalkboard.

After years of restoration projects throughout the historic building, the old classroom, turned office, turned storage room, turned dust collector is one of the last major spaces to be restored.

"It has always been a dream of mine to see these windows restored," said volunteer Roger Nelson who, along with Bob Danko, have spent a laudable amount of time working on the building.

"The great thing is, now that we've done all this work, the building is being used a lot more," Danko said. "With revenue from different uses, and a lot of volunteer work, the building is now self-sustaining. So the revenue we take in from donations and fundraisers, like Enchanted Evening, can go directly into restoration projects instead of being shared with operation costs."

In addition to the classroom restoration, another major project that's being done is a new handicapped accessible ramp and entrance at the back of the building, behind the stage. The entrance will also serve as a fire exit, bringing the building in line with code on two major issues.

When funds can be raised, future projects include adding energy-efficient windows, an outside paint job, a kitchen remodel and a sidewalk around the building.

"It's a long list, but we're making good progress," Danko said. "The more restored the building is, the more it is used, and that's what we've been working for."

A variety of classes and activities keep a steady flow of people passing through the building on a daily basis. And with the arrival of New Vision School a few years ago, the building is once again filled with the daily joy of children laughing, playing and painting colorful pictures to be hung on walls and hallways.

With its 100-year anniversary just two years away, the Mt. Hood Town Hall is looking better, brighter and more vibrant than it has in many decades.

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