Long-time Oregon teacher, painter and printmaker Royal Nebeker needs our help
For three days starting on December 1, a huge storm hit the north Oregon and south Washington coast. Extreme winds, rain and high surf pounded the area.
At the height of the storm, "Big Red," a 110 year old Astoria water-front landmark and the studio of Royal Nebeker and other artists, was severely damaged.
Royal and a fellow artist were in the building that stands on pilings in the river at the end of a 100 yard pier. When the storm grew in intensity, Royal's friend was thrown in the air by the wind and suffered a broken arm. They were trapped inside for 24 hours with the building falling apart around them, before finally making their way to safety.
The entire roof, half of the north wall and the boat hoist were torn from the building. Royal's studio on the third floor was totally destroyed. All of his equipment, a 30 year collection of art books and an entire year's inventory of work was gone. Not counting the building, damage is estimated at $500,000. "I'm devastated," he said. "I lost everything in my studio."
After the storm, friends gathered to help stabilize the building and clean up what was left. Royal and his wife Sarah searched for financial help from federal, state and city governments and agencies along with historic societies and trusts with no success. Now they are hoping that support will come from the community.
Royal found studio space to rent but the building he is in has been sold and soon he will have to move again.
Click here to read an interview with Royal published by The Daily Astorian on December 20.
The Raffle for Royal
McClain's held a raffle earlier this year and the winners were:
$100 in Solarplates: Mary Walker of John's Island, SC
$200 McClain's Gift Certificate: Anisorara Ana Golici, Stamford, NY
$300 McClain's Gift Certificate: Ezma Hanschka, Sunriver, OR
$500 McClain's Gift Certificate: Susan Walsh, Nehalem, OR
Together we raised $3065 for Royal. A huge "Thank You!" to everyone who participated!
"Please extend my thanks to so many who contributed. The community of artists has been my strongest support during this difficult time. Thank you for forwarding their comments. They were so kind and really brightened my spirits." -Royal
How You Can Help
Our raffle is over, but the fund raising continues. You can help!
Attend the fantastic Concert for Big Red Music Festival in August 22-24. You won't believe the line-up of fabulous musicians coming to this event. www.concertforbigred.com
• Spread the word or hold your own fund raiser.
Talk about it, send email links, put up posters, sell cookies, hold fund raisers, tell your students, classmates, friends and family. The more people who know the more we can help.
• Send tax-deductible donations to Bank of America
Make a donation by visiting any Bank of America branch and making a donation to:
(Account Name) Royal Nebeker Assistance Fund
Or send checks made payable to "Royal Nebeker Assistance Fund" to:
Teresa Retzlaff, Trustee
Big Red after the storm
More About Big Red
A classic example of clean, utilitarian, Scandinavian architecture, the building was completed in 1897 and used by the fishing and marine industry for 90 years. It was primarily a transfer station for fish and a drying structure for nets. Boats were hoisted from the river directly into the building for maintenance and painting.
Royal and Sarah Nebeker, the current owners, saved the building from demolition ten years ago and spent several years bringing it up to code so it could be used as studio space for artists. It has played host to musical events in recent years and several movies have been partially filmed there.
David Plechl of The Daily Astorian wrote, "Sitting high on pilings, 50 yards out into the river, the building strikes an elegant and inspiring stance. For many locals, the building is part of the fabric and soul of Astoria itself...(and) few imagine Astoria without it. "I think it's the only building just like this left, that is a remnant of the fishing industry between San Francisco and Seattle," said Nebeker. "It's definitely an emblem of the history of Astoria."
More About Royal Nebeker
Royal Nebeker of Gearhart, Oregon is an internationally exhibited painter and printmaker. He has been committed to arts education both locally and abroad throughout his career. He was a full time member of the art faculty at Clatsop Community College from 1978 through 2004 and continues to teach there part time.
In Oregon, Nebeker has been a visiting artist-teacher and guest lecturer at Pacific NW College of Art, Portland State University and the University of Oregon, among others. As director of the art department at Clatsop Community College, he oversaw the growth and development of the art program and gallery. Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski appointed Royal to four-year term on the Oregon Arts Commission in 2006.
Royal currently exhibits at several galleries in the USA and Europe, including Augen Gallery in Portland, Oregon; White Bird Gallery in Cannon Beach, Oregon; and Lisa Harris Gallery in Seattle, Washington; and Galerie Anne Moerchen in Hamburg, Germany.
More About the Storm
Winds exceeding 140mph were accompanied by intense rains, which led to flooding and severe damage along the Oregon and Washington coasts. The length of the storm as well as its severity were unprecedented. Moisture from two typhoons that had started in Asia, Hagibis and Mitag, were entrained in a monster-sized low that stalled on the coast.
The storm started on December 1 with intermittent sleet and continued through December 2 and 3. The most intense period of wind and rain lasted for over 20 hours. The weather buoy in the Columbia River registered 140mph sustained winds before being blown away.
An initial estimate of damage to the area made shortly after the storm was $180 million. In Astoria alone, an estimated 150 commercial properties and 596 homes suffered damage.
By the time the storm moved inland to major metropolitan areas, including Portland, it had calmed considerably and little damage was done. Because Oregon's big metropolitan areas were not involved, there was very little national press coverage.