OREGON – Legal requirements have put a slight delay in the City Council’s ability to approve a long-term lease that will change the Oregon Coliseum into a museum.
Because of laws governing proper public notification, the council must wait until April 10 to vote on entering into a 49-year lease with the Coliseum Museum of Art, Antiques, and Americana Foundation, a recently formed nonprofit, Mayor Ken Williams said Tuesday.
Council members did, however, unanimously approve a motion endorsing the idea and made plans to move ahead with getting information to the public about the plan.
Williams, who introduced the motion, said approving it means “we understand what the presentation is and we like the idea of it and want to move forward.”
CMAAA President and Oregon School Superintendent Tom Mahoney presented the lease proposal to the council on Feb. 26.
Under the terms of the lease the CMAAA would have the use of the first and second floors of the Coliseum as a facility to promote the arts and the community for $1 a year.
The CMAAA includes representatives from nine governmental, nonprofit organizations, and community leaders from Oregon who hope to create a multipurpose cultural center, museum, recording studio, and tourist destination.
Not everyone at Tuesday’s meeting was supportive, however.
Shirley Formby of Oregon said she does not think it is in the best interests of taxpayers to enter into a long-term lease and turn control of the building over to another agency.
“I’m just shocked that you would even consider this contract,” Formby said.
Commissioner Jim Barnes also voiced concerns.
“If you put a museum in there, you’re eliminating the idea that this is a public building.”
An informational meeting on the proposal will be held April 3.