BEND, Oregon — A Salem couple is in the process of restoring an old Oregon ski lodge vacant for more than 30 years.
Salem couple Dwight and Susan Sheets recently received a permit from the U.S. Forest Service to begin work on the Santiam Pass Ski Lodge. The lodge is located across from the Hoodoo Ski Area in the Willamette National Forest.
The couple's goal is to bring the lodge back to life so it once again can be a respite for skiers, hikers and travelers through the Santiam Pass.
"The interest and the response of people learning of the fact that we want to bring it back, it's been overwhelming to us," Dwight Sheets said. "Overwhelmingly positive. We are excited about what is going to happen here."
The couple is seeking grants and fundraising opportunities to cover the potential $2 million to $3 million needed to fully restore the ski lodge, The Bend Bulletin reported .
For now, the focus is to ensure that the two-story lodge has enough structural integrity to allow guests and then to clear the ground floor for public use — and all within five years, which is the length of the restoration permit. The couple will use another operational permit to continue reviving the lodge on the Forest Service property.
"We aren't planning on adding to it," Susan Sheets said. "We are taking it back to its 1940s design and style."
The initial plan is to create an open area on the ground floor with a cafe, gift shop and restrooms. The upper level will become a community center open for various events and gatherings.
"It will be a place people can sit in front of a fire with hot cocoa and have a great view of Mount Washington," Susan Sheets said.
There are currently no plans for overnight guests at the lodge, the couple said, although that could change as the project develops.
The ski lodge, which was originally built between 1939 and 1940 by members of the Civilian Conservation Corps, has sat empty since 1986, when it was used by a church group. The Forest Service didn't grant any permits until this year.
Information from: The Bulletin, http://www.bendbulletin.com