By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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The continuance, delivered as the historic building was about to be auctioned at the Clallam County Courthouse, gives those who want to preserve the 85-foot structure more time to raise money.
“I think it’s good news,” said Louie Rychlik, a trustee for the Museum & Arts Center of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley.
“Now we can really get down to fundraising.”
The historic Clallam Co-op grain elevator at 531 W. Washington St. is owned by Heritage Bank, which merged with Whidbey Island Bank in May.
The bank took ownership after former El Cazador Mexican Restaurant co-owner Hilda Rodriguez defaulted on a loan that she had used the building to secure.
The notice of continuance was delivered Friday by a representative of the McMenamin & McMenamin law firm.
“This is the fourth continuance since McMenamin & McMenamin has come in to represent them,” said Maggie Roth, who was in charge of the auction.
No one offered on a $102,300 opening bid before the continuance was issued.
Auction set July 18
The auction now is scheduled for 10 a.m. July 18 in the main lobby of the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles.
The ground floor of the grain elevator housed El Cazador for 33 years until the restaurant closed March 3.
Prior to that, it housed the Landmark Mall.
The elevator itself — Sequim’s tallest building — was built in the early 20th century on a railroad and was used to store incoming feed for area dairy farms and outgoing produce.
Rychlik and fellow MAC trustee Ross Hamilton are taking pledges from community members to buy the landmark out of foreclosure.
“I’ve got a lot of money in pledges already, and I’ll probably be getting a lot of calls tonight about how things went and everything else,” said Rychlik, who envisions the building as an arts-based community center.
Rychlik, a longtime area well-driller who formed the “Save Our Elevator” campaign with Hamilton, has said the group wanted to raise up to $1 million but couldn’t come up with enough money to bid.
Rodriguez still owes more than $900,000 on the property.
Rychlik has said he won’t take any money until he and Hamilton have enough pledges to present an offer to the bank.
To pledge, phone Rychlik at 360-457-8388.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reporter Joe Smillie contributed to this report.