Vida Café

Cafe rebuildVIDA: Rebuilding of the fire damaged Vida Cafe is now underway. For owner Sue Nelson, though, that doesn’t mean the doors will be opening for customers soon. “I just heard from the contractor,” she said on Tuesday. “He said the work should be complete towards the end of August and we should open around September first.”
Part of the challenges are fire-related, she noted. Each time damage is discovered and repaired it has to be inspected before workers can cover it up. An 8 foot by 8 foot new addition now sits on a portion of the cafe’s driveway to the east. It replaces the back portion of the building that had to be removed.

Cafe porchVIDA: Work to repair the fire damaged Vida Cafe was expected to begin this week, after long awaited building permits have been finalized. A big part of the delay, according to cafe owner Sue Nelson, was Lane County’s concerns with prior violations dating back more than 30 years - things Nelson says she and more than one previous owners never knew existed.
Starting with removal of asbestos flooring, McKenzie Taylor Construction will be doing more than a simple rebuild. Part of the approval process called for a reconfiguration of the building. “I’m going to lose the whole back half of the cafe,” Nelson said. The new addition will extend another 8 feet by 8 feet, sitting on a portion of the driveway and extending toward her adjacent house.

Cafe porchVIDA: Other restaurants and area residents alike have responded to a destructive fire at the Vida Cafe by opening their wallets.
Last weekend, Ike’s Pizza ran a three-day fundraiser by pledging to contribute 20 percent of their sales to a rebuilding fund for the cafe. “On Monday we presented Sue (the cafe’s owner) with a check for $1,000,” said Jack Koehler of Ike’s, who noted they still have a donation jar on their counter.
Downriver, Heather Hernandez-Reja, owner of the River Stop Restaurant in Walterville plans a similar move this Friday., from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. she’ll kick in 25 percent of her sales to the fund while also pledging to match other customer donations.

Witness reports ashes from BBQ were dumped

Vida Cafe firemanVIDA: A deputy State Fire Marshall, along with two McKenzie Fire & Rescue staff, spent several hours last week sifting through fire-damaged sections of the Vida Cafe. Unfortunately, they were unable to narrow down what caused the landmark structure to burn around 4:30 a.m. on October 24th. When the fire was reported, the caller had observed flames coming from the rear of the structure.

Vida Cafe Fire2Vida: The landmark Vida Cafe was extensively damaged in an early morning blaze today. According to McKenzie Fire & Rescue reports, the fire was reported at 4:22 a.m. on October 24th, coming from the rear of the structure.

On arrival responders found the most active fire was coming from the East end of the building, and the exterior part of the fire was extinguished quickly. In order to find all the active fire inside the building crews needed to remove a large portion of the ceiling and make several access points in the walls.

Vida Café - hidden in plain sight

By Gerry Aster

McKenzie River Reflections is the weekly newspaper serving Oregon's McKenzie River Valley. Available by mail for $23/yr in Lane County, $29/yr outside Lane. Digital subscriptions are $23/yr. Subscribe at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/subscriptions-0. Purchase copies online at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/back-issues-0. Read about area communities including Cedar Flat, Walterville, Camp Creek, Leaburg, Vida, Nimrod, Finn Rock, Blue River, Rainbow and McKenzie Bridge.