Although the pieces did not quite fall into place for the Grand Staircase restoration to receive funding during the recent Oregon legislative session, we are grateful for several things…
- Inclusion of the Grand Staircase in the Governor’s Recommended Budget significantly raised statewide awareness of this architectural treasure.
- The value of this project to the region and the City of La Grande was noted and well received in Salem.
- The Grand Staircase is increasingly being recognized as a historical and cultural landmark. This opens the door for funding sources outside of traditional higher education bonds.
Abundant thanks to the folks at EOU who are continuing to work towards securing funding for our beloved “college steps.”
We are beyond grateful to the City of La Grande, the Union County Chamber of Commerce, and La Grande Main Street for their visionary support of this effort.
And last, but far from least, we want to thank all of you! Your involvement, your comments, and the 1,159 “Likes” on our Facebook page were invaluable in showing our legislators that #thisplacematters.
The Grand Staircase at Eastern Oregon University was designed by Oregon architect John Bennes and completed in 1929. Sadly, it has deteriorated over the decades and was closed to public use in 2004. In 2015, the Grand Staircase was added to Restore Oregon’s Most Endangered Places List.
We believe that the Grand Staircase has great potential as a cultural heritage tourism attraction and, as a result, could help boost the economy of La Grande, eastern Oregon, and Oregon as a whole. Even now, deteriorating and no longer opened to the public, it is an architectural treasure worth seeing. Reconstructed it could offer even more.
We started this blog and the accompanying Facebook page to raise awareness of the Grand Staircase and its architectural significance, post photographs and information of historical interest about the staircase, provide updates on the efforts to save our beloved “college steps” and share the stories and memories of those who love the staircase as much as we do.
To see a pictorial history of the staircase please visit our About page.
If you have any questions or have Grand Staircase memories, stories, or photos you would like to share please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.