Exciting news from our friends at the Hood River News.
By RAELYNN RICARTE
News staff writer
The cobwebs are being swept away and the Columbia Gorge Hotel is receiving a “top to bottom” cleaning in preparation for its early September re-opening.
One hundred and thirty employees lost their jobs when operations were suspended on Jan. 30. The previous owners, Boyd and Halla Graves, had encountered financial problems that led to the foreclosure of the property.
Former workers — and other community members looking for a job — will now have a chance to be hired by ShoreBank Pacific, the new owners.
“The closure of the Columbia Gorge Hotel was a big hit to the local economy, especially the employees who were most impacted,” said Bill Fashing, county economic development coordinator.
“We are all hopeful the pending re-opening of the hotel will be long-term and will result in a major reinvestment in the facility.”
The bank acquired the property for $4 million in a July 20 foreclosure auction. At that time, Adam Monshi, senior vice president of ShoreBank’s operations in Portland, said the hotel would reopen while a buyer was sought.
The bank has since turned operation of the Westcliff Drive facility over to North Pacific Management. The company, also based in Portland, has owned and managed prime hospitality and commercial real estate for more than 20 years.
“The hotel is a great asset to the community and we are just thrilled to have found a great management company that can get it up and running again,” said Erin Fitzgerald, director of marketing for ShoreBank.
North Pacific will be holding a job fair at the hotel in about two weeks, according to Daina Galster, director of sales management. She said that event will be well-advertised once the date is decided upon.
All inquiries into current employment with North Pacific, or reservations for future dining and lodging at the hotel, can be directed to www.northp.com.
Galster said a full contingent of employees will probably not be needed for the initial re-opening of the 42-room hotel. She anticipates that workers will be added as business “ramps up” and the holiday season begins.
“We are really excited to be in Hood River and will be reaching out to the community as well as to visitors,” she said.
Mary Closson, director of the Hood River County Chamber of Commerce, is already working with North Pacific to help ensure a smooth transition. She said the hotel is not only a major employer in the region, but a popular tourism attraction for romantic getaways, weddings and events.
“We look forward to seeing that grand old building come back to life and be part of the community,” said Closson.
Called the “Waldorf of the West,” the hotel was built in 1921 by tycoon Simon Benson. The scenic setting of the structure that was built on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River has attracted several U.S. presidents, including Theodore Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge.
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