Preserve Local Businesses, Art and Community in Astoria's Historic Odd Fellows Building
Hi folks! We’re reaching out to you in an attempt to save the beloved Odd Fellows Building located at 1001 Commercial St in Astoria, Oregon. The Odd Fellows was built as a fraternal lodge following the Great Astoria Fire in 1922 by renowned architect Charles T Diamond. The historical building has served the community for over 90 years and currently houses 3 locally owned and operated businesses and one non-profit:
Sea Gypsy Gifts, home to over 20 different artists selling handmade items
Old Things and Objects, a curio shop that has many kinds of collectibles for every kind of interest
Currently this beloved building has a pending sale to potential owners and Portland residents Tacee Webb and ‘Bunk Bar’ founder Tommy Habetz (Bunk Bar is a Portland sandwich/bar chain and venue). Tacee's plans for the building, as indicated in screenshots of her social media posts and emails, include:
- First floor/basement: no plans indicated
- Second (main) floor: An apparel store, record shop, sandwich place/eatery, additional store
- Third floor (1923 ballroom): A Bunk-like venue and bar
- Fourth floor studio: A living space or fashion design studio
Tacee Webb has stated on both Instagram and Facebook that she wishes to "form a collective of Portland places, invite or reinvent them here" and has called on her friends to participate. She has also stated she wishes to be crowned "Queen of Astoria by 2018" referring to the building as her "coastal kingdom". Screenshots of their plans for the building can be viewed here. Tommy Habetz's business registration for the building can be viewed here. Although their tone has changed dramatically after an article in the Daily Astorian was printed, they still have not been able to confirm that any of the tenants would remain.
Although we understand that real estate changes hands and new owners may do what they wish with their property, we also believe that communities have a voice that deserves to be heard- in particular regarding what is best for the community itself.
What does this petition demonstrate?
This petition demonstrates the desire to support local businesses, organizations and the community infrastructure that is already in place- acknowledging that there can be no benefit to displacing businesses and organizations that have served the local community for many years.
What will this petition do?
This petition hopes to educate the potential buyers regarding the negative impact that their goals will have on a community of 10,000 people. We wish to let them know that their suggested business plan is not something Astoria wishes to support or will support.
What is the desired outcome?
We encourage the potential buyers to reconsider purchasing this building. With no official commitment to allow current tenants to remain and documented plans indicating their displacement, we have chosen to seek other alternatives for building ownership. There is currently another committed local buyer that would historically preserve the building, allow all tenants to remain and ensure the Odd Fellows building continues to serve the local community.
How can you help?
Your opinion matters. Please sign and share the petition to demonstrate to the potential buyers that we care about our local businesses, the historical integrity of our buildings, and the arts organizations that will continue to encourage health, creativity and self-expression. It is time for the thriving community of Astoria to take a stand and publicly resist agendas that contribute to the gentrification of our town. We are all part of this community and we acknowledge we have much to gain from those who come here from outside of Clatsop County. However, we also believe that positive change and growth must be inclusive to the community that currently exists here and should be mutually beneficial. Stand with us to make sure that happens, and thank-you for your support!
Support local businesses and keep Astoria authentic. The residents of Astoria, in partnership with The Lower Columbia Coalition for a Sustainable Community, are submitting this petition for your consideration. Our intention is simply to illustrate the importance of supporting local businesses and preserving the integrity of our small town while giving the citizens a platform to make their voices heard. Many of us have felt the frustrations of watching our town's authenticity and accessibility become compromised by those who may wish to exploit Astoria's character and beauty for their financial gain. While we understand that a petition may not change the outcome of a sale, or the direction the town is headed, we absolutely could not remain silent any longer. We are submitting this petition to the potential buyer and his partner as well as the City Council, our Community Development Director and the City Planner. We do not have the expectation of our local leaders to change or effect the sale, we understand that is not how things work. Our intention is merely to pass along this information, so that you all may see the comments and the numbers in support of keeping this building in local hands as well as the outpour of commentary about the direction of the city as a whole.
Lower Columbia Coalition for a Sustainable Community started this petition with a single signature, and now has 561 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.