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Grain elevator gets reprieve
Any action on purchasing the Clallam Co-op grain elevator is likely on hold for more than a month after its June 6 auction was pushed to July 18.
A representative with McMenamin & McMenamin law firm issued the continuance notice last Friday for the grain elevator and the building formerly housing El Cazador at 531 W. Washington St.
This was the fourth time the property, formerly owned by Hilda Rodriguez who owes more than $950,000 to Heritage Bank, has been postponed.
“This is a good thing,” said Louie Rychlik, trustee for the Museum & Arts Center of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley. “Now I can raise more money. I don’t even think it’s worth a million dollars.”
Rychlik created a “Save the Grain Elevator” campaign last month to raise funds to purchase the site but said he didn’t raise enough money for a down payment. His and other trustees’ plan was to raise up to $1 million to purchase the site and preserve the grain elevator, which has been in Sequim since the early 20th century.
Rychlik said ideally the museum would move its exhibit center inside the vacant restaurant, which closed on March 3 after 33 years due to declining revenues.
Despite not raising enough funds, Rychlik attended the auction along with Hope Stime, a Sequim resident, who showed concern for the site’s preservation.
“I wanted to make sure whomever gets it doesn’t destroy it,” Stime said. “It’s a representation of hard working farmers. Twenty-five years ago this month I moved here from South Dakota and it’s one of the reasons I moved here. I saw it while driving into town and it reminded me of home. I hate to see it destroyed.”
Trustee for the estate Bill Foster said he did not know why the auction was postponed.
Kerry Wake, a commercial loan officer handling the site with Heritage Bank, could not be reached about why the auction was postponed. He previously said it was postponed for paperwork matters and not related to Rychlik’s efforts.
Rychlik attempted to contact the site’s former owner and accountant to purchase the property prior to the auction but couldn’t reach them either.
“Maybe this’ll help me with it being postponed,” he said. “I’ll get more more fliers and the word out.”
Rychlik said he’s exploring other fundraising avenues and the possibility of preserving it as a historical site.
If interested in partnering with Rychlik, call 457-8388.
The trustee’s sale/auction begins at 10 a.m. July 18 at the Clallam Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St., in Port Angeles.