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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.

An anonymous donor is challenging community members to write some $1,000 checks to fuel the city of Longview’s Shay locomotive pavilion fundraiser.

According to a city press release, the donor is offering up to three $1,000 donations with the following conditions:

• The donor has contributed the first $1,000 and wants a single matching donation of $1,000. Multiple small donations adding up to $1,000 don’t meet the challenge requirements. If a matching donation of $1,000 isn’t made, the donor will withdraw the initial $1,000 contribution.

• The donor will make two more $1,000 contributions if two more donors come forward with $1,000.

• The money must be returned to the donors if the pavilion project is abandoned or hasn’t begun by Dec. 31, 2014.

“I have no doubt this challenge will be met and provide the momentum necessary to see the pavilion realized,” City Manager Bob Gregory stated in the press release. “This is another example of how this community takes pride in its heritage and makes this such a great place to live.”

On Aug. 1, the city announced it would try to raise enough 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.

The community has donated $1,435 for the pavilion so far.

If another $6,000 comes in from the anonymous donor’s challenge, “it’s certainly a huge, huge charge to the fundraising campaign,” Gregory said Wednesday. “This is how these community-based projects get realized.”

All contributions are tax deductible. Checks should be made out to the “Friends of Longview” and mailed to: Friends of Longview, Shay Locomotive Pavilion, P.O. Box 1042, Longview, WA 98632.

The city also is 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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