After weathering substantial damage from the Archie Creek Fire, the owners of the Steamboat Inn are determined to open on schedule to guests on March 13.
Thanks to favorable weather and fundraising to help pay for the $200,000 in damages from the fire, Travis and Melinda Woodward said repairs to the Steamboat Inn are ahead of schedule.
Melinda Woodward has already sent out notices that the Inn is hiring for the upcoming season.
“We had to start. We couldn’t (afford to) wait,” Melinda Woodward said last week. “We can’t be out of business.”
There was plenty of work to be done after the smoke had cleared. Septic and water systems serving the main Inn and restaurant, the Steamboat Creek cottages and guest and employee housing on the south side of the North Umpqua River had all sustained significant damage.
Melinda Woodward said that each repair has been done “one piece at a time,” and praised a stretch of fair weather which helped them get ahead of the repairs.
“We got lucky,” Melinda Woodward said. “Some of the equipment we were told was going to take six to eight weeks to arrive showed up in two. Everything kind of lined up in our favor.”
As Melinda Woodward spoke to The News-Review on Thursday, a team was attempting to reconnect a water line to the Inn itself, a chore that proved not to be an easy task.
The primary water supply for the Steamboat Inn is located on the top of a ridge across the North Umpqua River from the restaurant and neighboring cabins. The previous supply line — which was cable-tied to a tree on the opposite side of the river — was ripped down when that tree fell as a result of the fire.
When that water line was ripped out, so was the majority of the plumbing in the valve house, which supplies water to the restaurant, cabins and other properties.
So how does someone configure a way to connect and pull nearly 3,000 feet of water line from the ridge top water tank across the river to the property?
Travis Woodward found a location on the south side of the river — across from the Inn — and cast a fishing line to Chip Powers, a landscaper for Steamboat Inn. Powers tied the fishing line off to a corded rope which Travis Woodward reeled back across the river. That rope would be used to pull a long spool of PVC water piping back across to the Inn, with the assistance of a crew from Optimum Environmental.
By Thursday night, the water line — which will be suspended above the river — was in place near the Inn’s valve house.
This week, the Woodwards are hopeful that the necessary plumbing in the valve house will be installed and water will be available to both the restaurant and its neighboring cabins.