140 year of Shriners

140 year of Shriners

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Historic Masonic lodge for sale in Oregon City

707 Main St., Oregon City BY: Lee Fehrenbacher 

(Photo courtesy of Emerick Architects)
A piece of Oregon’s history is up for sale, but it may not be for much longer.
Multnomah Lodge No. 1 in Oregon City was built in 1907 to accommodate a Masonic lodge that was formed in 1848, when wagon trail blazer Joel Palmer – the namesake of Mount Hood’s Palmer Glacier – brought the organization’s charter from Missouri.
Bill Anton, chairman of the trustees for the lodge, said it was the first Masonic lodge west of the Missouri River.
“It has seen a tremendous amount of changes,” Anton said. “It’s seen the birth and growth of the state.”
The 29,700-square-foot, four-story, commercially zoned building at 707 Main St. in downtown Oregon City is listed at $875,000.Scott Elliott of Macadam Forbes, who is brokering the property, said one offer was received; however, backup offers are being sought.
“I just think it is a landmark opportunity in that neighborhood,” Elliott said. “It’s the tallest, most well recognized building in that neighborhood and will really set the tone for future development in that area.”
The building has housed a city library, a telephone switchboard, a Western Union office and a morgue. Anton said it was the Masonic lodge’s third building; the previous two burned down in the late 1800s. Its facade is unique for its early use of concrete as the original finish material.
The Masonic lodge is selling the building, Anton said, because it lacks resources for upkeep. He said the organization is hoping to stay in the building as a tenant.
“Selling it is very emotional as well as a historical event because it’s never happened before,” Anton said. “(But) the maintenance and upkeep of the building was preventing us from doing the things that masons dedicate themselves to, which is working with the community and working with youth education.”
Block by Block is a weekly look at commercial real estate around Portland. Send suggestions for properties to BlockxBlock@djcOregon.com.
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