June 30, 2014 – Community effort created a treasure

14 February 2015
On behalf of the board of directors of the Egyptian Theatre Preservation Association, I want to express our thanks to the many people and organizations who worked with us for the past three years to reopen the historic and beautiful Egyptian Theatre in downtown Coos Bay.

More than 1,000 people helped us celebrate June 20 through 22 at our official ribbon-cutting, touring the refurbished theater, listening to the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ and once again enjoying movies on the truly big screen in this spectacularly decorated theater. It was a wonderful weekend and, we are sure, just the first of many in the new life of the Egyptian.

There are so many people and organizations who made this possible. Mayor Crystal Shoji, City Manager Rodger Craddock and the city of Coos Bay were among the first to step up and insist that the grand old theater would not be abandoned. Then a number of concerned citizens banded together to begin the fundraising efforts that would be pivotal in saving the Egyptian. And they were joined by a  myriad of volunteers from different walks of life who all had one thing in common: a love of the historic old theater and the determination to see it operating once again. The board was successful in acquiring grants from many generous foundations and organizations. Added to all those were the many businesses, families and individual supporters from the greater South Coast community who made donations, contributed at fundraising events, dedicated theater seats and tiles in front of the theater and pitched in during construction and readying the Egyptian for its special reopening.

In the end, more than $1 million was raised to resurrect the Egyptian and begin restoring it to its former glory. This was a significant accomplishment by any measure, particularly so in that this was achieved during difficult economic times in our region. People had already been stepping up to support the construction of the wonderful new historical museum that will be opening later this year. It shouldn’t have been possible for two such important and costly community projects to succeed here — but succeed they did, thanks to the perseverance and generosity of many of the same people.

Our rallying cry depicted on our posters was “We Can Do It.” And now we can proudly say we DID do it! Please accept our thanks and our invitation to come see your Egyptian Theatre.

Buy some popcorn, find a seat and wait for the lights to dim, and the curtains to open. You’ll find the same sense of adventure and delight that patrons of our wonderful theater have been feeling for the past 89 years. Come to the Egyptian and make some memories of your own.

Greg Rueger, President of the ETPA

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