Civic Auditorium Historic Preservation Committee



By the 1940’s and 50’s, the Civic was beginning to show signs of disrepair.  Owned by the City in conjunction with Wasco County, there were discussions of razing the building for a parking lot.

In 1950, Sterling Theatre remodeled and used the theater as a movie house.

There was a public movement in the early 1960’s to save the building, and some preliminary plans were made.

In the 1970’s, John Perria formed a coalition and complete plans were financed for a total interior remodel.

A scale model was built by Gary Kopperude, Earl Mohr and Gerald Richmond that circulated about the community for display.  Mostly from lack of public and municipal enthusiasm and funding, the committee fizzled out.

In the late 1980’s John Will, Del Cesar and Paula Richmond met with a focus to try reactivating the theater.  More people joined the meetings; Toni Will, Don Carpenter, Paula Cutler, and Milt and Shirley Skov.

Slowly, the focus of the group shifted to acquisition of the whole building, with particular emphasis on the revenue-producing east-half venues.

The committee began to write and submit grants to make improvements in 1990.  By March of 1991, Articles of Incorporation with By-Laws were completed.  Their 501(c)3, a not for profit foundation, was established.

The building was recorded on both official Federal and Oregon Historical Site Registers.  The enthusiasm of the Civic Auditorium Historic Preservation Committee (CAHPC) was contagious.  Financing for projects and operations was accomplished through a combined effort of contractors and volunteers.  The committee approached the County and City for purchase.  In October of 1992, Les Cochanour, City Mayor, deeded CAHPC ownership for $1.00.

The Forest Service and McCury and Associates created a grant for them more plans and projects. Grants and funding began in earnest, and construction and remodel followed.

From the beginning of CAHPC on through to the opening of the Civic for occupation in the late 1990’s, Over $3,000,000 of donated material, contractor costs, volunteer/community commitments is estimated to have been generated.

Our mission is to restore and maintain the antiquity of our historic heritage, to upgrade and facilitate any possible event function throughout the community, and to continue to grow with the community’s  needs.