As a year filled with political and social turmoil grinds to a close, let’s take a few moments to recall some excellent achievements for preservation in Portland. These people and projects deserve our thanks for their skill and perseverance in saving important architectural history. .
The Elk Fountain Committee
This ad-hoc group of preservation and political veterans conquered difficult odds in convincing the Portland City Council to restore the David P. Thompson elk statue and fountain in its historic location in the middle of SW Main Street.
Phoenix on Foster
Froman partnered with preservation veterans Rick Michaelson and Karen Karlsson for strategic help, but acted himself as general contractor, laborer and leasing agent for the renovated structure. Its primary tenant is now Foster Outdoor, a retailer of camping and outdoor goods. The upper floor is a suite of attractive offices.
This easily-recognized building was erected 100 years ago with a façade that curves gently along the acute angle of its trapezoidal lot. From its opening in 1922 until 1946 it was the home of the Phoenix Pharmacy, operated by the much-admired pharmacist, John Leach.
But after sitting mostly vacant for 20 years, the building needed a new roof, seismic bracing, new electrical and mechanical systems, windows and store-front system. Froman’s dedication to the neighborhood landmark is a grand example of the enthusiasm and diligence required for successful preservation projects.
Construction and opening of the theater in 1926 was sufficiently dramatic that the whole surrounding commercial neighborhood became known as the Hollywood District, a name it still bears today. In its heyday, the theater was Northeast Portland’s challenge to Downtown Portland as a venue for live productions and movies.
While the exterior of the theater is now in excellent shape, much interior work remains to be done. It is a credit to the organization that it is devoting careful attention to the building’s needs to that it can remain a vital landmark into its second century.