Community kicks in $5,000+ for Vida Cafe’s return


November 19, 2015

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.

Community support has come in the form of a social media website set up at that was created on November 10th. As of Thursday, 22 people have logged on to pledge $4,380 for a fund that’s earmarked to help support employees who lost their jobs when the building burned in an early morning fire on October 24th. Pledges in general have ranged from $10 to $20 or $50, although one anonymous contributor dug deeper and posted a pledge of $3,000.

The cause of the fire, however may never be known. The Assistant State Fire Marshal in Eugene said she followed up on a report to the Sheriff’s Office from a Gate Creek woman who said she saw illegal campers dumping hot ashes from a BBQ in the cafe’s dumpster the night of the fire. “The fire started outside on the back deck,” according to the fire marshal. “But we don’t know exactly how. The fire did not start in the dumpster as she predicted, and that has been eliminated as a cause.”

Photo Courtesy MF&R. Investigators say the fire that damaged the Vida Cafe last month started near the rear deck but have been unable to determine the cause.


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