Pendleton’s Carnegie Building Receives Reviving Facelift

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One of the most prominent buildings in downtown Pendleton just received a facelift, bringing it back very close to the way it looked more than 100 years ago. The Carnegie building that now houses the Pendleton Center for the Arts sits just over the Umatilla River, capping off four blocks of varied and beautiful architecture.

The Carnegie building in Pendleton is getting a facelift that will return it to its original appearance from 100 years ago. (Photo courtesy of Pendleton Center for the Arts)

When the Umatilla County Library was built, it was designed to allow light to flood into the reading rooms. In 1915, when the building was constructed, there was artificial light, but it wasn’t ideal or cheap. The 11 large window bays in what now house the Pendleton Foundation Trust Fine Craft Marketplace and the East Oregonian Gallery boast 26 sections each, for a total of 286 separate glass panels.

“That makes for a LOT of little surfaces for the hot Eastern Oregon sun to beat down on,” said PCA executive director Roberta Lavadour. “It can get a little brutal in the summer, and after more than two decades of exposure since the renovation, it was time to repair and rejuvenate the wood—as well as the concrete of the ground floor.

Every length of wood trim on each panel had to be painstakingly sanded and re-painted, with the paint cut in freehand.

“Pablo Martinez and his crew from A Sharp Painter were amazing,” said Lavadour. “There wasn’t one piece of painter’s tape used. Every razor-sharp line was applied with the right paint brush and a highly skilled hand. Pablo’s master craftsmanship was a joy to watch. It’s fitting for our building, because I really feel like the finished job is a work of art.”

The painting project was supported in part by grants from the State Historic Preservation Office, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, the Cycle Oregon Fund of Oregon Community Foundation, and The Kinsman Foundation.

The organization is currently working on a self-guided walking tour of the historic building that will debut next year, but in the meantime, the public is always welcome to stop by and tour both floors. Admission is always free, and membership is not required. The Pendleton Center for the Arts is located at 214 North Main Street in Pendleton. More information is available online at PendletonArts.org.

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