It has been 365 days since the historic Weils Department Store burned up, collapsed, and wounded the heart of downtown Hillsboro, Oregon. I had to take a quick video walk along the fire damaged section of East Main Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. The changes are happening but they are slow and methodical. Several businesses have not returned yet. Some will be back by June; 18 months after Roel Leon lit the building on fire. Others will not return.
When it all shakes out, the damage will have proven to be too much for some. Other businesses survived, but had to alter their operations. And a new set of tenants will bring food, fun, and music to the ravaged block. There will be winners and losers as a result of this fire. The resurgence of the primary block in downtown has been slower than anyone would have liked. But it is happening and by July things will be looking much better. At least that is the way things appear to be. Stay tuned for more on this story.
I’m still very sad to see the old Hillsboro theatre turned into an event space. Many afternoons I spent at that theatre. Also, my old dance studio was part of the building that is no longer there. That makes me incredibly sad as well. I guess all things must change and things will never be the same 😢
I agree- I think the City screwed up by giving it to the first owner back when light rail went in without strict stipulations that it stay a theater or movie house. It hurts us not to have that now. You share many of our many feelings- and that is ok. We must speak up when we need to and can. Please continue to do so.
Dirk, thank you for your frequent postings. They have brought many tears for reminders of my childhood in I believe the best place I could have grown up. I left in 1964 and have only returned a few times since then. So sad when I heard about the fire. The video of how it looks today…more tears. Keep up the good work. So many great memories.
Mary (Bertalot) Worthington
Class of 1959