- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 7, 2015

PENDLETON, Ore. (AP) - Absent its usual line-up of summer blockbusters, the Pendleton Cinema marquee now depicts a short obituary.

“That’s all folks. 1981-2015.”

Although the curtain is closing on the cinema, Goodwill’s purchase of the property ensures the show’s not over for the Southwest First Street property.

The theater’s closure was confirmed by owner Bruce Humphrey, who also owns and operates the cinemas in Hermiston and The Dalles.

After eight years on the market, Humphrey said the Pendleton property was sold Thursday and screened its last film the same day.

Humphrey not only sold the theater, but the whole city block where Pendleton Cinemas is located.

According to the Office of Umatilla County Records, Goodwill Industries of the Columbia purchased the property from Humphrey for $600,000.

Gordon Comfort, Goodwill Industries of the Columbia’s executive director, did not immediately respond to an interview request from the East Oregonian (https://is.gd/fmdeOM).

Humphrey said he’ll miss the happy faces streaming out of the theater after a film ends, but the long drive times it took to oversee his theaters were taking a toll.

After Destiny Theatres bought Pendleton Cinema in 1994, Humphrey said he looked repeatedly into upgrading the theater. Each time, the plans didn’t pan out as economically feasible.

“It would never be able to pay for itself,” he said.

Unlike Hermiston, which benefits from a “vibrant economy” and a larger customer base, Humphrey said Pendleton simply doesn’t have enough people to support a movie theater.

Humphrey said Hermiston Cinema will be unaffected by the Pendleton Cinema sale.

Following the closure of Pendleton Cinema, the Round-Up City will be without a movie theater for the first time in decades, the closest theater now being the five-screen cineplex at the Wildhorse Resort & Casino on the nearby Umatilla Indian Reservation.

In 1981, Lowell Spiess converted a former grocery store into a three-screen cinema, prompting the shuttering of the Rivoli and United Artist theaters.

The first three movies on the Pendleton Cinema marquee were “Arthur,” ”Paternity,” and “The Watcher in the Woods.”


Information from: East Oregonian, https://www.eastoregonian.info

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