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McDowell pulls plug on Strawberry Manor

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This was taken earlier when Ronnie McDowell was still planning on reopening Strawberry Manor. BONNIE FUSSELL

Strawberry Manor will not reopen. Country music singer Ronnie McDowell has decided

to walk away after months of working with family and friends to get it ready as an event center.

Last week management differences between owner Helen Porter and McDowell became apparent and McDowell ended the project.

McDowell rented the building from Porter, but they had not signed a lease agreement.

During a phone interview with the Portland Sun on Thursday, McDowell said, "I just

want to walk away quietly. It broke my heart but not my spirit. I am grateful that I made

Daddy's building look good again."

McDowell's father Howard McDowell built the building in the 1970s as a recording

studio for McDowell when his career in country music gained momentum. The property was

later sold to Porter who also owns the building that houses the 109 Family Restaurant.

When asked by this newspaper if Strawberry Manor would open, Porter said, "To tell

you truth I don't know. I will tell you that he rented in good faith. We talked and I guess there

were one or two things in the whole wide world we didn't talk about."

Several minor situations had occurred during the renovation of the building that were

resolved, but when a situation arose between Porter, McDowell, and another member of

McDowell's staff regarding management decisions, McDowell made the decision to end the


Both McDowell and Porter referred to their 40 year friendship. McDowell said, "I've

loved them (Porter and her husband) for over 40 years. They have been good to me for over 40

years. I've walked away and am at peace."

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