Roseburg, OR is a unique, historic haven. Thanks to its beautiful Mill-Pine Neighborhood and a collection of registered historic buildings throughout the town, Roseburg is filled with markers of Oregon’s history. One such marker is the historic Willis House. Added to the national registry in 1975, the Judge William R. Willis House was for many years one of the finest residences in Roseburg, had a long history of public use, and is regarded as a treasured local landmark.
This home was built in 1874 by the first Justice of the Peace in Douglas County, William R. Willis. Willis served the City for many years as a leader on the Roseburg City Council and as Mayor. The house was moved to its present site in 1910 and served as the Roseburg City Library from 1924 until 1956. After an explosion heavily damaged the Roseburg City Hall in 1959, city offices were headquartered in the Willis house until 1973 when a new City Hall was completed next to it. Even a vibrant history couldn’t keep the building from being neglected and forgotten. From 2012 to 2017, the future was uncertain.
In 2017, NeighborWorks Umpqua bought the building. NeighborWorks Umpqua is a rural-focused housing and community development corporation committed to promoting opportunity for all. We do this by providing quality housing, community development, property management, financial services, education, and advocacy in order to attain economic, social and environmental sustainability, and equity. Buying the Willis House is our promise to reinvest in Roseburg and to preserve our City’s history.
In 2018, after completing repairs and work, we will reopen the property as a dedicated office for our real estate and property management departments. The property will continue to educate and illuminate the public about the rich history locked within the walls of this historic home. We promise to hold open houses, at least once a year, to help facilitate learning and discussions about the importance of historic preservation. With your help, we will create an Oregon that honors its history and preserves it for future generations to come.
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