|Le Breton Hall shortly after construction at|
the Oregon State Institution for the Feeble-Minded
circa 1908 - WU Archives
Staff recommends that the Agreement be amended to require the Seller to deconstruct the building [Le Breton Hall] prior to transferring the land to the City. This recommendation is based on the high cost ($140,000) to secure and weatherize the building; the ongoing annual cost to secure building; the anticipated high cost to renovate the building for an as of yet undetermined use; the lack of funding source for the renovation, and; the lack of funding source to maintain and operate the building after it has been renovated.Le Breton Hall was designed by Walter D. Pugh, who was also responsible for the Old City Hall (1893), for the Grand Theatre (1900), and the Bush-Brey and Bush-Breyman blocks (1889) on the west side of Commercial between State and Court. Though his architecture isn't always first rate, his buildings have played an important role in the second and third generation of Salem development and history. As an increasing number of buildings at Fairview are demolished, the remaining ones take on a greater importance. Le Breton is the oldest building and the primary one with direct ties to the first stage of the institution, a now embarrassing one in which it seemed reasonable to talk of the "feeble-minded." Scrubbing this history for a park seems mean and cheap.
|Oregonian, January 8th, 1911 (Le Breton, top left)|
Hopefully more will come out about this change of heart.
(For previous notes on the Fairview parcel, the demolitions, and the park, see here.)