Fire that destroyed Shirley’s Tippy Canoe restaurant now called ‘suspicious’

PORTLAND, Ore. — A fire that burned down a popular restaurant in the Columbia River Gorge last month is now being investigated as “suspicious in nature,” officials said on Thursday.

The fire on Jan. 17 destroyed Shirley’s Tippy Canoe outside Troutdale. The restaurants and its contents were a total loss, likely exceeding $1 million, according to Corbett Fire.

The fire was first reported around 5 a.m. Officials said while the cause is still not yet known, there were unusual circumstances that occurred in the days and hours leading up to the fire. There are no indications the public should take extra precautions, Corbett Fire said.

Anyone who hasn’t spoken with investigators and has information about the fire is asked to contact Corbett Fire at 503-695-2272 or at

A wildfire nearly took out the business in 2018. The Eagle Creek Fire kept customers away to the point that a GoFundMe account was created to help owner Shirley Welton.

She resurrected the business 12 years earlier from a rough-around-the-edges establishment into a popular family restaurant. Neighbor Carol Rowley remembers when Welton took over the Tippy.

“It was like a bikers bar when we first moved here and I didn’t think I wanted go in there. But when Shirley fixed it up it was a really nice restaurant. I mean, it was just awesome,” said Rowley.

Shirley’s Tippy Canoe even earned a visit from Food Network personality Guy Fieri. The restaurant was featured on his Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives show.

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