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."