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Photo by Peggy Wallace
Rhody's Log Lodge wins restoration grant posted on 08/01/2021

Anita Halmøy Wisløff-Menteer and Erik Sims Wisløff-Menteer, owners of the Log Lodge in Rhododendron and Bestie’s Coffee, were awarded an Oregon State Historic Preservation Office (OSHPO) grant in July to aid with the restoration of the historic log building, originally constructed by William Lenz in 1929.

 

“We’re very happy to be recognized,” Anita said. “We were drawn to the building originally because it has a lot of soul and stories. We definitely knew how much work it would be.”

The OSHPO "Diamonds in the Rough" grants provide funding to restore or reconstruct the facades of historic buildings that have been heavily altered and return them to their original appearance. The reconstruction is funded by the state in an effort to qualify buildings for historic register designation (local or national).

The Log Lodge, located at 73330 Hwy. 26 in Rhododendron, is one of several log structures and frame buildings built by Lenz in the Mount Hood region during the 1920s and 30s. Other notable public houses constructed by Lenz include the Barlow Trail Inn, the Brightwood Tavern and the Traveler’s Roost, now known as the Zigzag Inn and Restaurant.

“The lodge has near 100 years of history to it. We’re hoping by restoring it that it’ll have many more,” Erik said.

The building was originally used as a music or meeting hall and then became a bar named the Log Lodge from the 1940s to the 1970s. The couple intend to keep the name and return the building to its use as a public house and lounge where locals and visitors to the mountain can congregate for drinks and good food.

“The lodge has a great room with a double-sided fireplace that is very iconic of the region,” Erik said.

The couple has enlisted David C. Rogers, renowned regional log builder and preservation expert, for the reconstruction process, as well as PMA Architects.

“We’re not just putting a band-aid on it,” Erik said about the couple’s commitment to maintain key structural elements of the log building’s original design.

The grant is part of OSHPO’s Preserving Oregon Grant program and is supported in part by the Oregon Cultural Trust. Grants are awarded for amounts up to $20,000 and are matched by funds from the grantee. The grants are awarded annually for four to six projects across the state.

The couple have temporarily closed Bestie’s Coffee while they focus on the renovation project. They intend to reopen the coffee shop in its new home in the lodge in the fall of 2021 and have the new lounge operational in 2022.

The grant application process was aided by support from the Rhododendron Community Planning Organization and the Mt. Hood Cultural Center and Museum, who helped the couple gain insight into the history of the building in the community.

“Over time we’ve realized what a cultural anchor the lodge has been,” Anita said. “We feel a lot of support from the community (for the project).”

Anita invites any citizens with photos or stories about the lodge to contact the couple as they continue to map out the timeline of the building in the community.

Updates about the restoration progress will be available online at https://www.facebook.com/besties.coffee/ and the couple can be contacted by email at mail@bestiescoffee.net.

By Ben Simpson/MT

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