The Civic’s next move
Grand 1,000-seat theater could be showplace
By Keri Brenner
Major performing acts, statewide singing and dancing competitions, Broadway musicals and national acclaim could all be possible for The Dalles if the Civic Auditorium’s massive 1,000-seat theater were restored to its circa-1921 grandeur.
That’s the dream behind a new campaign to find grants, donors, volunteers and all other types of community support to get the theater back on its feet. An estimated $3 million is needed to do a complete restoration on the otherwise acoustically superior performing venue.
“It’s a wonderful facility that is not being used to its full potential,” said Dennis Morgan, board president of The Dalles Civic Auditorium Historical Preservation Committee. “We are really poised to go to the next level.”
Board member Steve Lawrence said the committee has secured a $5,000 planning grant from Roseburg-based Ford Family Foundation to create a capital construction plan for the theater and a companion plan to show how The Dalles community will sustain operations for the long term.
In addition, this month Lawrence is finishing up details for a 501 (c) (3) foundation that he hopes will secure $1 million in tax-exempt donations, bequests, matching grants and gifts to invest and generate interest income for running the theater as a viable business operation.
“We’ve been told that if we ever build up the theater again that we’d never be able to sustain it,” Lawrence said. “I don’t believe that.”