Chelsea Langevin – Senior reporter. An iconic image of downtown McMinnville, the historic McMinnville Theater (the Mack) has been vacant for the past three years collecting dust.
Recently, however, McMinnville resident Devin Royce has initiated an effort to repair the building.
The most pressing problems with the theater include a hole in the roof and a broken heating unit, Royce said.
Despite those shortcomings, Royce said he is motivated by the potential the theater has.
“It has all been serendipitous,” he said of the project.
Royce said he discovered the theater when his parents moved to the area looking for a storefront to purchase. They stumbled upon the McMinnville Theater and asked for a tour.
“I stood on top of the stage and said, ‘We could get a battle of the bands in here,’” Royce said.
Since then, Royce has worked with a group of volunteers to clean up the theater in exchange for rent.
“I’ve just been on a freight train going in one direction ever since,” he said.
The proceeds from the Battle of the Bands will pay for repair costs, Royce said.
The theater opened up Oct. 2 for five Portland bands and will feature College Night on Oct. 9, Royce said.
“It’s all kind of surreal,” he said.
Without the support of the community and his family, Royce said this never would have happened.
“This experience has taught me that I can create what I want to,” he said. “Just because the resources aren’t there doesn’t mean I can’t make it happen.”
For more information about the restoration initiative, visit www.bringthemackback.com.