A pleasing restoration and lively new activity in Southeast Portland is headed for 800 S.E. 10th Ave., where a historic industrial laundry building will be renovated into a showplace for the celebration of Native American arts and culture.
The foundation envisions the building as a place to encourage, display and sell Native American art and to produce events in a “black box” theater. The theater’s entry will replace a garage door on the Belmont side that had been used for vehicle access. The building also is expected to include a dining venue, as well as offices for the foundation that provides grants promoting Native American arts and culture.
“We are doing our best to retain as much as possible of the historic building,” Brendan Hart, an architect with Emerick Architects, told the Portland Historic Landmarks Commission. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its role in the early 20th Century laundry industry. The landmarks commission will review the renovation because of the building's historic designation.
|Art celebrating laundry workers (mostly women)|
The Yale building followed a common thread of basements being used for generating steam that heated water and powered large washers. The floors were built extra-study to hold the heavy equipment; large windows were common for available light. By coincidence, the former Troy Laundry building located a few blocks away is currently being renovated to become an athletic club.
Because the commercial laundry industry relied heavily on women who worked long hours in difficult conditions, it helped spawn laws in Oregon and many other states regulating hours and wages for women. The rules were challenged by the owner of another Portland laundry company, but were affirmed by the U.S. Supreme court in Muller v. Oregon, 1908.