(Kara and Joe Becker | Photos Courtesy of Howard Hall)
Imagine a building that once hosted weddings, luncheons and meetings, now sitting empty for years and losing its reputation. A building that once drew the attention of passersby to see what event was happening, now doesn’t catch the attention of customers coming out of the neighboring business less than 100 feet away. A building that at one time was one of a handful of event venue options for more than 200 people in Prineville, yet now isn’t functional to host a party for ten. All these things are about to change as new life is breathed into a once vibrant but since forgotten event venue in Prineville’s Crooked River Court.
Crooked River Court was purchased in 2016 by Bill and Vickie Goodman. The event venue building used to be a banquet facility as part of the previous owners’ business. The former banquet facility had once been the site for chamber events, parties, and conferences, but for many years has sat unused, untapped and uninspired. In 2017, Joe and Kara Becker rented another building in the complex for their existing business, The Hub Coffeehouse and Bookstore, and a vision for the empty event venue building was born.
The Becker’s hosted a pop-up shop in the building in November and December of 2018. The Hub Upcycle Shoppes, which was in its second year, featured upcycled goods from local makers and artisans. “After the event ended at Christmas, it was sad to see the space sit empty,” says Kara. The Beckers had been thinking about the building for the past couple of years and wondering what options might be available to open the building as an event venue. Ultimately the timing seemed right to put together a proposal and see what the Goodmans thought about moving forward in this direction.
Since the building has sat empty for so long, a few minor upgrades will need to be completed, but the goal is to have it available for rentals beginning April 1. The Beckers are already booking events with a wedding to take place in June. Joe Becker has a long history of event planning. In the past, he has put on concerts, festivals, and movie nights at The Hub. Having worked with the local chamber of commerce and Crook County High School planning and scheduling events, Joe knows just how limited and necessary event space is for the community. “Having more event venues in Prineville is really needed,” says Joe.
The new venue will be known as Howard Hall; named after Joe’s dad, Howard, who passed away in 2018. Howard believed in Prineville and Crook County and was always looking for ways to give back to the community which he lived in for most of his life. Howard was also a great supporter of Joe & Kara and their business so naming this new venue after Howard is a great way to honor his legacy to the community and continue to have him as a significant part of the business. “Howard believed in us and in this community. It was his heartfelt wish to leave an impact on this community,” adds Kara.
Howard Hall has endless possibilities as to the types of events it will host. The Becker’s plan to continue hosting family friendly events at The Hub, but with this new space another level of creativity is open to them. Conversations have already begun on concerts, movie nights, laser tag, skating parties and much more. “The possibilities are endless. And we hope that people will partner with us in creating amazing family fun activities,” declares Kara.
The mission of Howard Hall is to “make dreams a reality; bringing family and friends together”. The owners of the complex, Bill and Vicki Goodman, are excited to see what the Beckers will do with the space, stating, “[We] can’t wait to see you make [this]idea become a reality!”