PENDLETON - Some three-and-a-half months after fire burned through its old headquarters, the Oregon East Symphony and Chorale is reaching out to the community in a fundraising effort to relocate to and restore the Rivoli Theater.

The OES has started the Rivoli Restoration Fund and seeks to raise $150,000 by Aug. 15. Michelle Kajikawa, director of youth programs and concert production for the symphony, said the money would be used to help purchase the old property at 355 S. Main St., to repair the roof and pay for architectural plans and feasibility studies.

"The amount we are seeking in donations is a ballpark figure that will place us in a good position to be able to complete the purchase and begin initial work on the renovation," Kajikawa said.

Rough estimates of work to be done immediately following the purchase include $20,000-$25,000 to repair the leaking roof that's contributing to further damage to the building, $20,000 for architectural plans and $10,000 for feasibility studies.

Furthermore, Kajikawa said a strong show of support from the local community is "absolutely essential" for the OES to secure large grants to help fund further restoration.

The symphony has been negotiating to purchase the theater from Greg Galloway, Pendleton School Board member and a manager at Wells Fargo in Pendleton. Neither Galloway nor the symphony have disclosed the purchase price, but the sale should close on Aug. 15.

Galloway acquired the theater in the spring of 2003 for $14,515 at a foreclosure sale. The building's assessed value is $34,300, with a real market value of $90,400 as of Jan. 1, 2006.

The damage and decay throughout the Rivoli means restoration could take years to complete. But when it's finished, the restored theater will result in a new home for the symphony and a multi-use facility for the community as a whole, including for symphony and other musical performances and studio, rehearsal and event space. The Rivoli could even host movie showings or a dinner theater.

"It seems that everyone who sees the space envisions a different type of function, which is very exciting," Kajikawa said. "Certainly, some uses would overlap with other venues, but the hope is that the Rivoli would be a flexible and unique space."

Kajikawa said part of the initial feasibility studies will serve to pinpoint and finalize future uses of the venue in relation to what already exists in the area so they can build the space to meet those needs.

Restoration efforts at the Rivoli will join the likes of similar endeavors in downtown, most noticeably at Hamley's, but soon Temple Hotel owner Al Plute will begin restoration efforts on that landmark, and building owner Ted Betz soon will begin work on his properties from 237 to 253 S. Main St.

"I have lived here for only three years, and even in that short time period, I find the growth and development on Main Street very encouraging and exciting," Kajikawa said.

She also explained the Rivoli will add to what Pendleton can offer, and won't detract from the other similar venues, such as the Vert Auditorium near City Hall or the Pioneer Theatre at Blue Mountain Community College.

"I think many of us see great change and development taking place in Pendleton in the next few years and I think our region has the capacity to support multiple arts and entertainment venues," Kajikawa said.

For more information, or to make a donation, contact the OES at 276-0706, or at Donations or other correspondence can be sent to OES, P.O. Box 1436, Pendleton, OR 97801.

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