The Nehalem Street Meeting Place (NSMP) is celebrating its one-year anniversary of being open since undergoing extensive renovation last year.

The building, first constructed in 1894, was once the property of the United Methodist Church. Before 2018, it had been sitting vacant for one year when Scott and Kristen Kirkland from Clatskanie purchased the building.

While there will be no formal celebration recognizing the one-year anniversary since the re-opening, Kristin Ramsey, Manager of NSMP, said the staff is looking forward to continuing with the work the facility has done since the building re-opened.

“We’re excited for the busy holiday season ahead, and seeing the building available for making memories,” Ramsey said.

There are two main sections that are available for rentals. One is the upper section, which is still used as a church, and serves for religious services. The other is the lower level, which can be rented out for other functions.

Since having its open house in October of 2018, the NSMP has been the rental place for many different groups, including several weddings for local couples, bridal showers, baby showers, anniversaries and memorial services, according to Ramsey.

In addition to ceremonies, the meeting place has served as a site for different community functions. It was used for a little bit by a church that had weekly services upstairs. The facility also was used as the site for a dinner fundraiser for a local Clatskanie resident who needed help paying for funeral expenses after her husband had died. The fundraiser ended up raising a few thousand dollars, Ramsey said. Another event the NSMP held was a “Friendsgiving” dinner on Thanksgiving Day last year for local residents who did not have any place to go for the holiday.

Reflecting on the last year of being open for the community, Ramsey described the meeting place as being like a “well-oiled machine.”

“It’s all set up and ready to go for rentals, I don’t see it improving in another way. We’ll just keep on doing what we’re doing,” Ramsey said.

While other churches and event venues exist in Clatskanie for interested parties to rent out, the purpose of establishing the NSMP, Ramsey said, was to give residents one more option.

“Clatskanie needed another option. There are other places, but they had a different feel to them,” Ramsey said. “We felt like Clatskanie needed a beautiful place for families but also an affordable place, so we’ve tried really hard to make that work.”

Prices for renting out the large room downstairs start at $80 for a four-hour minimum stay. Beyond that, prices get more specific for different uses, and interested parties can contact Ramsey for further information.

“When most people hear about [the NSMP], they’re surprised at the low prices, and for the quality of the building,” Ramsey said.

The exterior of the building still looks very similar to how it did in 1894. The interior has changed a lot, according to Ramsey. Changes include a brand-new kitchen, a new HVAC system, new painting on the walls, brand new tables and chairs for downstairs events and a new patio outside.

Some of the interior is the same, like the same pews in the church, and the original hardwood floors upstairs, which have only been refinished.

Ramsey said a lot of the work was done by local contractors, as well as family members.

There are more events coming up, like the Christmas in Clatskanie General store hosted by the Clatskanie Famers Market, which will be Dec. 6 and 7, the first Friday and Saturday in the month. The event will feature items that will be either hand-made or grown by the vendor, and will be open to the public.

“It’s nice that we can do that for local things going on, and have that fun experience and make those memories,” Ramsey said.

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