News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Historic Brown House needs funds to meet codes for events

Contributing writer for The Canyon Weekly

By Mary Owen

Within the next two years, the Santiam Heritage Foundation (SHF) must raise enough funds to meet building requirements set forth by the City of Stayton or stop holding events at the Historic Brown House.

“That is the worst-case scenario,” said Wendy Stone, SHF president. “The city has given us one year to complete everything with the possibility of a one-year extension. That date runs from when the city found our application complete. Going forward, we don’t actually have two full years to do it all.

“Additionally, it is my understanding that if we do not complete all of the city’s requirements within the two years, we’ll have to start over by submitting another application to the city and pay whatever the fee is at that time,” she added. “There is no guarantee that if we have to re-apply, the city might add more requirements, which would add to all of the associated costs.”

Current requirements include building a sidewalk from the property’s southeast corner to the sidewalk that goes from W. High Street to the Brown House.

“We also must reconstruct that corner to bring it into compliance with current code,” Stone said. “We are being treated by the city no different than a developer who wants to construct a large (or small) housing development. City code is what it is.”

SHF will also have to reconstruct one or two corners at E. Marion and N. First Avenue as well as assign and paint a handicap parking space that meets the Americans with Disabilities Act regulations.

“This is due to the fact that Stayton Cooperative Telephone Company has given us permission to use their parking lot at N. Marion and N. First Ave. and the one at W. High Street and N. First Ave. as overflow parking,” Stone said. “This has saved us having to put parking on our site, which would then trigger more requirements and higher costs, like an ADA parking space on our property. SCTC’s willingness to help us has kept us from being required to pave the northern half of W. High all the way to the far west end of our property, which ends where Alder St. would be between SHF and our most western neighbor. 

“I can’t say enough good things about SCTC, as if it weren’t for them, we would never have been able to save the house!”

Another task is to construct a turn-around in the main driveway on W. High Street and close the other, she said.

“And we have to build a rack for bicycles on our site,” Stone said. “We’re not positive of the costs of all this, yet, but when we were exploring what we might have to do. 

“We were quoted $8,000 to reconstruct just one of the corners! We are in the process of getting quotes and bids, but we’re pretty certain this will be somewhere in the $20,000 to $50,000 price tag. That is our best guess at the moment, but it may actually be even more than that!”

Since the project is not historic preservation, Stone said SHF has been unable to find any grants and will have to fundraise to meet the city’s requirements.

“We’ll also be looking to local contractors for any possible discount they might be willing to offer, since we are an Oregon nonprofit organization, registered with the Oregon Secretary of State’s office,” she said. “I’ll reiterate that I can’t personally say enough good things about SCTC, as if it weren’t for them, we would never have been able to save the house! Besides giving our organization one year to come up with the money to purchase the house and selling SHF the house without making any money on the deal, they donated our security system to us, installed it for free, and paid for it’s monitoring for one year. They have been wonderful to us, and they continue to help us in whatever way they can.”

Stone thanks area communities for continuing to support the Brown House project for more than two decades, helping to save the 1903 Charles and Martha Brown House for events, education and rentals.

“We recently hosted our first wedding, and I love knowing people want to make wonderful memories in this exquisite example of a Queen Anne house,” she said. “Once we finish the city’s requirements, we’ll be able to offer offices on the second floor which is nearing completion.”

To donate, send a check noting “change of use” to Santiam Heritage Foundation, P.O. Box 161, Stayton, OR 97383 or visit to donate online.

“If people shop using Amazon, they can select our organization to receive donations via Amazon Smile,” Stone said. “It costs nothing additional, however, it’s also not big money for us yet.”

Tours of the Brown House are given from noon to 2 p.m. every second Sunday.

“People can bring their donations with them, if they like,” Stone said. “We suggest a $5 donation for a tour, but we don’t require it.”

How To Help

By Mail:

Send a check noting “Change of Use” to

Santiam heritage Foundation
PO Box 161
Stayton, OR 97383


In person: Bring your donation to the monthly tour of the Brown House from noon to 2 p.m. every second Sunday.

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