American Building

People walk past scaffolding built along Central Avenue in this May file photo, and a fence closing the sidewalk alongside of the American Building in downtown Coos Bay.

COOS BAY — Progress on the American Building in downtown Coos Bay has begun to show after the city has worked for several months with owners to start necessary structural improvements.

The American Building is located on the north end of Central Avenue and is home to So It Goes Coffeehouse, American Insurance and the new nightclub Skybar.

Work on the building was not going as quickly as the city would have liked, so a hearing to determine whether or not the building was a public nuisance was scheduled for Dec. 5. However, the hearing was rescheduled to next month when the owner brought on an architect to begin designing repairs for the building.

“We are rescheduling that hearing to occur next month if they don’t get the work done,” said Rodger Craddock, city manager for Coos Bay. “Some new scaffolding has been put in place so that they can do some work, it looks positive.”

An exact date for a potential January hearing has not yet been scheduled.

According to city code enforcement officer Nik Rapelje, there are three stages of repair that need to occur.

“The first stage, which they have current permits for, is to do the brick work on the steel lintels on the west face of the building,” Rapelje said.

Failing steel lintels, weathered by the salty bay air, are causing the bricks in the windows to bulge out and potentially fall. Not only are the bulging bricks a potential hazard for pedestrians, but they are also integral to the structural integrity of the building.  

The work staged to be done on the west side of the building will serve as a sort of practice run for the second stage of the project, which involves replacing several more lintels along the south face of the building.

“They’re going to work on the west face of building, and make sure they know the best way to fix the brick work and the lintels, and then they’re going to get a permit and do the rest of the building,” Rapelje said.

The third stage of the project involves the foundation of the building. Both the city and the property owners have had engineers look at the foundation of the building, and according to Rapelje neither parties' engineer teams have discovered if any improvements need to be made to the foundation.

“Ultimately the city wants the building to be in good condition, structurally sound, and safe,” Rapelje said.

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Nicholas A. Johnson can be reached at 541-266-6049, or by email at nicholas.johnson@theworldlink.com.