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Old Warehouse Gets New Look

The old hops warehouse has sat on the corner of Second and D streets in Independence since 1888 -- watching people and time go by . . .

INDEPENDENCE -- The old hops warehouse has sat on the corner of Second and D streets in Independence since 1888 -- watching people and time go by.

After 114 years, the building is showing its age. Crews have started giving the old girl a facelift.

"It's been the city's wish to fix it up for a long time," City Manager Greg Ellis.

"But we've just started getting serious about it."

Some 10 inmates from the Santiam Correctional Institute just put a new coat of paint on the building.

The project costs $8,000. Half the money came from the State Historic Preservation Office. The rest came from a donation to the city earmarked for fixing up the warehouse.

The money bought paint, lifts and other material. The inmates' labor was free.

"I think it is a wonderful way to do it, " Independence Mayor John McArdle said.

"The prisoners need projects and we needed the building painted. Everybody comes out ahead."

Chief of Police Vern Wells was also on site, usually with one volunteer from the police department.

Though city officials hope to do more renovations, Ellis said the paint job will have to do for now. More grants are needed to fully renovate the building.

"The paint just changed how it the warehouse looks, but there are many more problems," Ellis said.

A lot more works needs to be done to bring the structure up to building codes.

McArdle said this project is also part of beautifying Independence.

"So many people have so much to make the downtown look better. We are just doing our part to make our property look better also."

Eventual plans for the old building range from office space to a multicultural community center. A lot of what happens depends on grants, Ellis said.

"There's all sorts of speculation," he said. "At least it's not such an eyesore."

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