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Arson Victims Re-Open and Rebuild

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EUGENE, Ore. — It’s been a tough week for five Santa Clara businesses that shut down down after an arsonist set fire to their building last Monday.

The suspect allegedly started the fire at the River Road Shopping Center back on August 13, burning cable boxes and electrical wires, leaving businesses without electricity for more than a week.

Now three of the five businesses affected are back open, but there’s plenty more work ahead to try and make up for all they lost.

“It was a rough go for a little bit,” said Shane Brown, Santa Clara Barber Shop Owner.

Brown didn’t know how long her barber shop would be closed after a suspected arson cut her electricity for a week–a very long week.

“Coming down here and dealing with adjusters and clean-up crews, and electricians, and landlords,” Brown said.

All the while she had to turn away the people she wanted to be dealing with.

“The hardest part was knowing the customers were stopping by and standing here and watching customers pull up and then realizing that we were shut down,” Brown said.

But Brown and her staff aren’t turning away a single head Wednesday, as they and two of the other five businesses in the Santa Clara center are back open.

“It feels wonderful. It feels great to see everybody and be earning a living again,” Brown said.

Unfortunately, Cindy Short still has to wait to get that feeling back.

“A lot of cleaning. Wall cleaning, ceiling cleaning, all of our stuff is down here in that box, that all had to be specially cleaned,” said Cindy Short, Shooters Pub & Grill Owner.

Her bar and Don Juan’s Restaurant down below took the brunt of the fire damage, which means the longest wait for repairs.

“Us and Don Juan’s still don’t have any electrical, except for back-up generators and stuff, so it’s pretty much just a day-by-day thing,” Short said.

Each additional day means lost business for them, but Short says even worse, it means lost wages for their 13 employees.

“It’s real frustrating for us. We feel bad for our customers. We keep getting word every day ‘please open back up’ and our employees are struggling. I mean that’s two weeks for them being out of work and not making their full income. It’s just tough for them,” Short said.

Short hopes they don’t have to wait much longer. She’s banking on re-opening Monday and not a second later.

“Everybody’s workin’ together, working hard, trying to get everybody back up and running, and we’re hoping Monday, actually it’s going to be Monday. Heck or Heck,” Short said.

Don Juan’s says it will be ready for customers this weekend.

Investigators are still trying to find the person responsible for this fire, and they think eight other fires that were started just a mile from here, earlier that week.

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