If you’ve ever heard Astoria described as a balance between the pretty and gritty, the site of this year’s Pacific Northwest Brew Cup nails it. Set on the backdrop of the waterfront just east of the Maritime Museum, you could create postcards of the views of the ships on the Columbia, the trolley passing by, and people and their dogs strolling along the riverwalk. Just to the south, City Lumber’s turn of the century buildings that used to be part of the old rail yard, show off a patina that could only be achieved by authentic weather and age.
To the west, the dormant train depot sleeps; a beautiful brick building with boarded up windows and big dreams for the future. The Maritime Museum hopes to convert it to a workshop for boat builders as well as historic preservation college students. The museum will let you see the inside of the building during an open house on Saturday of the festival, in an effort to gain more exposure for future fundraising.
When the housing market was hot, some feared potential rampant condo development could wall-off views of the Columbia. So the city embarked on a plan for the riverfront. The Riverfront Vision Plan includes a conceptual design for this city-owned parcel to be developed into a waterfront park. The idea seems fairly obscure outside city hall, but the community hasn’t really had a chance to experience it until now.
“This festival has been one of the first activities which has created a draw to the area, to start having the public think of it as a community gathering space. That’s why I’m really excited they’re wanting to have it there again,” said Community Development Director Brett Estes, a fellow beer-lover and home brewer, himself.
The Brew Cup moved from downtown last year, from the now collapsed concrete slab near the American Legion. The city had started discovering some structural deficiencies there and offered the waterfront site as an alternative.
Estes points out there will be more elbowroom at the festival this year, as the Darigold building that had been on the property since the 1930’s was demolished. The former farm supply store wasn’t in good shape, which flew in the face of the city’s own newly adopted derelict building ordinance, plus the city council wanted to open up a larger area for a potential waterfront park. So city officials worked with Clatsop Community College’s historic preservation program to begin taking the building down last spring. Students learned how to conduct salvage materials including historic shop lights and flooring, which may eventually be used in the train depot redevelopment.
The city urban renewal district had purchased the prominent waterfront site in order for the public to have a chance to guide its future. It could be awhile until we see a waterfront park developed, as there’s currently a lot of time and money being spent on the Legion block downtown, but Estes says now’s the time to vision. With the Darigold building down, you’ll be able to see at the Brew Cup this year, a clear view of how much room their would be for a park. The next step, Estes says, is a more detailed design, including public input of what amenities you’d like to see there.
“We’d like to start putting some more meat on the bones and develop a design concept we could get the community excited about and then its looking at long term how do we fund that,” Estes said.
He says he’d ultimately like to see places for people to picnic, and possibly a dock structure to take you onto the river. But for now we’ll look forward to drinking some of the best beer the Northwest has to offer, while dreaming up this prime piece of real estates’ future.
Brew Cup Details September 23rd-25th
For the latest information, go to the Pacific Northwest Brew Cup Facebook Page.
Sponsored By: Fort George Brewery
Baked Alaska Restaurant & Lounge
Profits Go To: Clatsop County Food Bank
Music & Events Calendar:
Friday, September 23rd 4:00-5:30 p.m. North Coast Blues Band
6:00-7:30 p.m. Bruce Smith and the Boda Boyz
8:00-10:00 p.m. Minty Rosa
Saturday, September 24th 11:00 a.m. Troll Radio Review (Broadcast Live on KMUN)
1:00-4:00 p.m. Maritime Museum Train Depot Open House
4:00-5:30 p.m. Big Fish Blues Band
6:00-7:30 p.m. The Distractions
8:00-10:00 p.m. Broken Soviet
Sunday, September 25th Barney Perrine will play most of the day
Growler Sunday: Take your favorite beers home
Monday, September 26th Hondo’s Home Brew Cup
· Mugs are $7 and tastes are $1
· Family-friendly featuring music, food, and games for kids
· Awards: “Thar She Blows” (first beer to run out) and the “Peoples Choice”