Landmark put out to pasture, for now
CENTRAL POINT — A local landmark came down last Wednesday as reports trickled through town about the structural stability of the long-running Horse Blanket saddle shop, at 420 E. Pine St., and the custody of the horse that had stood atop the building for four decades.
The landmark “half quarter horse/half paint horse” statue was removed Wednesday to be relocated to new temporary digs for the saddle shop after city officials ordered the business owners, Kelly and Wayne Ogle, to vacate by 5 p.m. Friday.
Owners of the business since May 2020, the couple, who purchased the saddle shop from Lisa Brostad, reported safety concerns to the city in recent months as an awning began to sag and crumble.
Recent snow seemed to accelerate the amount of visible damage, and an inspection last week concerned city officials.
Kelly Ogle said the couple were notified Jan. 3, after a field inspection by the city building department determined the building was shifting. The notice included a dozen photos showing crumbling masonry, holes in exterior walls and splintered framework.
“The structure is showing many signs of failure,” the report stated.
“At this time the city of Central Point is allowing the tenant to remove his inventory, however no public access is allowed and tenant must vacate the premises by Friday Jan. 7 at 5 p.m.”
The couple announced on their Facebook business page that they would relocate to 10th and Third streets near Fair City Market. Kelly Ogle said she was sad to leave the downtown location.
Ogle said she would like to return to downtown but was skeptical the building could be repaired.
An added concern, Ogle said law enforcement was called Wednesday when the former owner and the couple disagreed over the ownership of the rooftop horse statue. Ogle said the purchase of the business included being able to rent the building for up to five years and ownership of the horse statue. Brostad, who declined comment on the advice of her attorney, said the horse was considered a fixture of the building and was not part of the business inventory.
City Administrator Chris Clayton said it would be strange not to see the landmark horse statue overlooking downtown Pine Street after so many decades.
Clayton said the city would not have intervened had the building inspector not had “some pretty serious safety concerns” about the structure.
“There are some things that are very worrisome, and the big thing that concerned (the inspector) was there’s been a lot of movement very recently,” Clayton said.
Wayne Ogle said city officials who visited the building seemed concerned about allowing the couple time to vacate, but he was grateful for the chance to remove business property and customer consignment items.
“The inspector who came in described it like when a choker cable is failing and it starts breaking and fraying in strands. The building is being pulled on in all different directions. It’s not safe. The strands are all starting to break loose,” he said.
“He basically told us Monday, before we were given time to get everything out, ‘As fast as that’s moving, I’d get out now.’”
Kelly Ogle said the couple hoped to be “up and running” within two weeks but had to complete some paperwork and permits to open up at the new location.
Ogle said the couple planned to mount the horse statue at their new location. Future plans about a return to downtown are undetermined.
She noted, “It’s hard enough to move once. We’ll just have to see how everything goes.”
Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at firstname.lastname@example.org.