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Oregon's only Sri Lankan Buddhist temple plans to expand on western WashCo site

COURTESY PHOTO - This conceptual drawing was included in the application to the city of Hillsboro and represents the vision of the new temple. A decade after choosing a western Washington County site for Oregon’s first Sri Lankan Buddhist worship space, the Oregon Buddhist Vihara is moving forward on plans to expand its current facility.

The temple draws worshipers from across Washington, Multnomah and Clark counties, including a few families from the Forest Grove and Cornelius area.

Members have been using a converted home in the 100 block of Southeast Walnut Street, a few blocks from downtown Hillsboro’s Main Street, since they opened. But with construction starting as early as fall of this year, the monastery could look far different very soon.

Plans for renovation include a new two-story 3,172-square-foot Buddhist temple with a public meditation hall, open plaza breezeway, a library and school, and residences for the monks. That’s a definite upgrade from the current 1,268-square-foot, single-story house, which will eventually be demolished.

At a public hearing hosted by the city of Hillsboro last month, the project received no objections.

Oregon Buddhist Vihara leaders plan to offer more community and cultural events at their new facility, plans state.

The current facility gets too cold in winter and too hot in summer due to poor insulation, according to planning documents, and the expanding programs have left the current house cramped for space. “The existing building is totally inadequate,” said Phil Hoyt, who participates in some vihara activities. “It’s just a mess. It’s a shack.”NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: STEPHANIE HAUGEN - The current structure the Oregon Buddhist Vihara members use is too small for the temples growing membership and is in poor condition, church leaders say.

So far, $105,000 of the estimated $450,000 goal has been raised. The Oregon Buddhist Vihara is relying on donations and fundraising support.

Now, vihara leaders will gather technical reports on structural engineering so they can secure a building permit.