By Erin Stephenson
Over a year and a half ago I attended an awards ceremony to watch Historic Downtown McMinnville’s Third Street be named as one of the Top 5 Great Streets in America by the American Planning Association. It was wonderful to watch our beautiful little town receive top nationwide recognition, and the council chambers at the Kent Taylor Civic Center were packed with well wishers and smiling McMinnvillians of all stripes. After the ceremony was over Cassie Sollars, our Downtown Manager at the time, flagged me down to make an introduction that brought a very important person into my life, and into the Atticus Hotel family.
Cassie was aware that we had been chasing a hotel dream in downtown McMinnville for years (and that we were getting close to making it happen) and wanted me to meet Nathan Cooprider, a McMinnville native and architect of the recently developed KAOS building. I was excited to meet Nathan, and “Because McMinnville…” it took us less than two minutes to realize that my brother took his sister to prom sometime in the late 80’s. More importantly than sorting out the tangled web of small town connections however, Nathan indicated that he was interested in taking on another project in downtown McMinnville, and we set up a time to meet and discuss our plans.
The rest you can say is history. Nathan has been living and breathing the Atticus Hotel ever since that first meeting. He has been at the heart of everything we’ve created, always listening carefully to our vision and working tirelessly to give physical form to our dreams. Nathan has an ability to really hear us—not just in terms of simple logistics, but in a way that translates our values, and the values and history of our community, into a building that we hope will stand as sentinel on the corners of Fourth & Ford for centuries.
Nathan Cooprider has led our creative process and has added amazing elements to the building…and had fun exploring many others with us that didn’t make the final cut. Over the last year he’s taken overnight road trips and day trips with my partner Brian and I, always excited to visit interesting hotels and then dissect them with us, helping us to divine what’s most important for the Atticus Hotel. We’ve laughed together and learned together, but most of all we’ve nurtured a tight bond that has helped us do one of the most exciting things in the world: create together.