The Comeback town – Mount Angel raises $50,000 for fire losses

November 2021 Posted in Uncategorized

The Mt. Angel community and its neighbors have rallied in support of the businesses affected by the Oct. 9 downtown fire.

By James Day

In those corny old black-and-white movies a bunch of kids (Mickey Rooney usually was involved) would at some point declare “Let’s put on a show!” 

Great energy would be expended and odds overcome as the spunky kids saved the day.

In Mount Angel, it’s a bit different. It’s more like “Let’s put on a festival!” Because that’s what Mount Angel does best, that’s what Mount Angel did.

A crowd of 700 poured into the Festhalle on extremely short notice on Oct. 23 to feast, listen to music and raise money, $50,000 as it turns out, for the four business that burned in the Oct. 9 fire.

The early-morning blaze wiped out a highly visible swath of commercial property along the railroad tracks that separate the Old Mt. Angel Highway and Highway 214.

Destroyed in the fire were Hiddenbed of Oregon, the Blackbird Granary Antiques & Collectibles, KP’s Harvest Time Products and Wood Pellet Products. 

“When we first got together,” said Scott Stokley, a Mt. Angel Chamber of Commerce board member and owner of Touch of Bavaria, “we talked about this happening to business owners. Well, WE’RE business owners, too. What can we do?”

One of the first ideas was to use the Festhalle in some way, Stokley said.

“We can do something. Let’s get some local bands and beer and food and maybe a raffle. We weren’t thinking anything bigger.”

Then, Stokley’s daughter Lauren designed a flier and posted it on Facebook. It went viral as they say.

“Immediately, immediately people started calling,” Scott said, “and stopping by the shop to make a donation.”

They started with a jar on the counter, but the thing “morphed,” Stokley said, and eventually he cleaned out the whole front of his store to hold silent auction items.

“It was just overwhelming,” Stokley. “The community support and the caring in the community… it’s just huge.”

Ultimately, the spirit spread and assistance came from throughout the region – Silverton, Stayton, Sublimity, Monitor, Woodburn, Donald. Stoller Vineyards in Yamhill County got involved because they know the Blackbird Granary folks.

“Normally in a fundraiser you have to solicit,” Stokley said. “That was not the case here. People came running. It was amazing.”

Here’s a list, although Stokley said he is sure he might have missed someone:

• Oktoberfest donated the use of the building.

• 3Rivers Crossing, Roman and the Long Haul, and the Syco Billy string band, donated their time, talent and equipment.

• Zest Catering and a few individual donors contributed food. 

• Mt. Angel Meat Co. and Mt. Angel Sausage Co. donated the meat for the spaghetti dinner.

• Roth’s chipped in with garlic bread.

• The Glockenspiel Restaurant & Pub donated dessert.

• Chic Skape donated and served coffee

• Yes Graphics donated all printed materials, including tickets.

• The Mt. Angel Community Foundation stepped in to coordinate the financial end.

• Sue Sprauer coordinated all of the kitchen help.

• Tiny’s Tavern donated all of the beer.

• Stoller Vineyards, Paradis Vineyards, and Stephanie and Dylan Wells donated wine.

• Gwen Groomes, Becky Teigen, Julie Smith and their families coordinated and ran the silent auction

• The Kennedy High football and leadership teams helped wherever things were needed. 

• Gary and Kelly Grassman headed up a cleanup crew and donated all of the plates and utensils.

• Brother Charles gave the blessing with Anne Bruner coordinating his participation.

• Selling tickets were Bochsler Hardware, Chic Skape, Tiny’s, Bierhaur, Mt. Angel Mercantile, and Touch of Bavaria.

Other updates

The cause of the fire remains undetermined, said Mt. Angel Fire public information officer John Rossi, and likely will remain so. The state fire marshal is leading the investigation.

“Everyone asks me if it was arson,” Rossi said, “and it’s always been no, right from the get-go.”

The businesses involved still are looking for place to restart. Hiddenbed is seeking a place to rent to store equipment, tools, furniture and other items. Email keith@hiddenbedoforegon.com. 

Wood Pellet Products owner Tyson Traeger is looking for 6,000 square feet or more. He can be reached at ttraeger@woodproducts.com.

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