Interest money

Historic Talent garage gets money to rebuild after Almeda fire

The garage was originally built in the 1920s and was one of the area’s first gas stations.

It stood for 96 years before being largely destroyed in the 2020 Almeda Fire. The fire devastated the towns of Talent and Phoenix, destroying thousands of homes and businesses.

Now, owner and artist Bonnie Morgan plans to bring a building’s concrete shell back to life, with the help of a $200,000 Main Street Revitalization grant from the Oregon Heritage Division. from the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation.

Rehabilitation grants are intended to “facilitate community revitalization that will lead to private investment, the creation or maintenance of jobs, the creation or expansion of viable businesses, or the creation of ‘a stronger tax base,’ according to a state press release.

Morgan is still talking to business owners about what the building might be used for when restored.

“I think once we start building when people have a better sense of the timeline, I think there will be more interest then,” she says.

Prior to the fire, the building housed Morgan’s pottery supply business.

Architect Chris Brown is part of the team helping to restore the historic structure.

“He has many lives that have used and lived through this building,” Brown says. “And then here we stand at the dawn of the past, through the present and into the future with what comes next in this building.”

Brown spoke last month ahead of an art exhibit featuring local works inspired by the Almeda fire.

The team is also trying to have the building listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its role in the development of Talent and the Pacific Highway.

Morgan is hosting an open house and art exhibit on June 1 in the envelope of the garage.