Shay Locomotive

In an outbuilding on Columbia Heights on July 31, Longview City Councilman Chet Makinster checks out the 1924 Shay locomotive that local residents spent years painstakingly restoring.

Roger Werth / The Daily News

Ask and ye shall receive.

Less than a week after an anonymous donor challenged community members to write $1,000 checks for the city of Longview’s Shay locomotive pavilion, five separate checks for $1,000 each arrived.

Then, as promised, the anonymous donor contributed $3,000 to the cause. Including other, earlier donations, the fundraising tally for the pavilion now stands at $10,750, city staff said Wednesday.

“This outpouring of support from community members shows just how special the Long-Bell Shay Locomotive is to people, and it feels like gratitude for the effort and expense of the restoration for its return to the library grounds,” Assistant City Manager Dave Campbell stated in a press release.

Last week, an anonymous donor offered up to three $1,000 donations if each were matched with a $1,000 donation. The donor stipulated that multiple small donations adding up to $1,000 didn’t meet the challenge requirements. The donor also specified that the money must be returned to the donors if the pavilion project is abandoned or hasn’t begun by Dec. 31, 2014.

The city is trying to raise money this month to build a 20-by-60-foot pavilion for the historic 1924 logging locomotive, which rusted on the library lawn for decades after Long-Bell Lumber Co. gave it to the city in 1956. The roof of the pavilion would be made of heavy timber trusses and a metal sheathing. It would supported by eight log columns and surrounded by a wrought-iron fence. City officials hope donated materials will offset the cost, estimated by architect Craig Collins to range from $50,000 to $75,000.

People involved in the costly, long restoration project want to be sure resources for a shelter are lined up before the Shay is hauled from storage to the library. If funding isn’t in place by the end of August, the Shay will sit in storage for another year while the city seeks outside money for the pavilion. The ground must be dry and hard when the 48-ton engine is set onto a rail bed at the library, which means the move must happen in late summer.

All contributions are tax deductible. Checks should be made out to the “Friends of Longview” (a nonprofit organization that’s a project of the Longview Public Service Group) and mailed to: Friends of Longview, Shay Locomotive Pavilion, P.O. Box 1042, Longview, WA 98632.

The city is also seeking donations of building materials and professional labor for the project. Contact city planner Adam Trimble at 360-442-5092 with questions.

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