Brewpub hopes could transform public health building | The Weekly Source

Jhe bland gray cinder block of a building on Southwest Fourth and J Streets could soon turn into a jewel of the Madras skyline.

The owners of Initiative Brewing plan to locate their brewery in Madras, transforming what used to be the Jefferson County Public Health Offices into a family-run brewery.

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  • Brewing Courtesy Initiative
  • Plans for the overhaul of the Public Health Building in Madras are taking shape – well done!

The design adds dimension to the skyline with a glazed second floor to house brewing equipment.

“We’re thrilled to be on the ground floor of something big,” said Chris Brumley, co-owner of Initiative Brewing with partner Ryan Churchill. “We believe Madras is the next city in the region to take off.”

The Initiative proposal addresses two issues facing the city and county. The county has a buyer for an eyesore of a building. The city of Madras has long sought to add a brewery to the downtown mix.

Initiative opened their Redmond location in 2019. They plan to move the brewing operation to Madras with a commercial kitchen, tasting room, indoor dining room and family/pet patio with fire pits.

“It’s a unique family shopping experience where you can get a pint of beer and thoughtfully prepared quality food,” Brumley said. Partners pride themselves on sourcing locally and providing alternatives for customers with food allergies.

Brumley and Churchill have spent nearly a year on this project and are on the verge of raising all the funding to make it happen.

At its June 28 meeting, the Madras City Council voted to award the Initiative $100,000 of America Rescue Plan Act funds as a stimulus for projects that create jobs and business in the city. Brumley and Churchill plan to hire around 47 people at the Madras site.

“My opinion is that the health building is really ugly,” councilor Gary Walker said. “It would be a very nice improvement and it could bring more young workers to the area.”

“Madras would have a place to go for people who travel. We don’t have a lot of that,” Councilor Lamar Yoder said. “Some people will stop in Madras precisely for this reason.”

The partners estimate the cost of the project at $1.5 million. They lease to the county until they put together the full financing package.

If all goes well, they hope to start construction this fall and finish in fall or winter 2023.

—Reprinted under a content sharing arrangement hosted by Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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