Repairs to Rio Theatre nearly complete after water damage

Sean C. Morgan

The Rio Theatre is almost completely recovered from burst pipes following a winter cold snap in early December that led to 4-degree temperatures.

Pipes running through the top of the theater building, in an attic area above an upstairs apartment, froze and then burst, damaging the apartment, the lobby and bathrooms.

Owner Mike Kinney shut down the theater from Dec. 6 until Jan. 23, to allow for major repairs. By mid-June, he completed nearly $150,000 in repairs, maintenance and improvements.

Last summer, he installed a digital projector and had planned to repaint and make a number of improvements to the theater during the coming year. He had already started repainting the exterior prior to the freeze, but he had paused, waiting for better weather to finish.

Now, the theater is sporting brand new carpet, he said. “Everything has been repainted, all new vinyl flooring.”

The Pepsi machine has been replaced, he said, and the lobby has all new lighting, toilets, sinks and flooring. The marquee was repaired after a mishap during this year’s construction. The popcorn machine has been replaced, along with a number of pieces of equipment throughout the building.

Upstairs, what had been a studio apartment has been divided into a one-bedroom apartment with a new shower and bathroom.

“The entire building has been gone over for wiring,” Kinney said. The structure, built in 1950, has been brought up to modern code, he added.

The main bill for repairs following the cold snap was about $82,000, Kinney said. Summit Cleaning and Restoration of Stayton completed the job.

Kinney said he holds the company in the highest regard.

“They were so meticulous in their craftsmanship,” he said. “It was incredible.”

Kinney has discovered additional damage from the storm, he said. The snow and ice scoured off nail heads in the metal roof, potentially creating leaks in the roof. He has filed a claim with his insurance company for repairs.

“It’s better now than it has ever been, safer, more secure,” Kinney said. “Everything is just so great around here. Everything’s brand new. It’s about as good as you possibly can get it.”

After everything, Kinney said he continues to seek a buyer for the business.

“I’ve been wanting to sell this for several years,” Kinney said.

“My price was kind of high,” he said, but he was also kind of dragging his feet because he enjoys running the theater so much.

With his health issues, he said, he needs to sell it. His wife, Susan Kinney, will retire from School District 55 in the near future too, and they would like to do some traveling.

His price is $289,000, he said, and that comes with everything inside, including rare posters and film memorabilia along with older 35 mm films.

The Rio most recently premiered “Earth to Echo,” and on Aug. 1, it will premiere “Guardians of the Galaxy.”