Auditorium Design, 1913

East side business groups had designs for a grand auditorium and museum on their side of the river in 1913. They asked the city to build it somewhere in a large area bounded north-south by Broadway and Hawthorne and east-west by 12th Avenue and the river. Seems the businessmen were a bit miffed that all the public buildings were being going up on the west side. This never got off the ground.

A2000-003.91  Design for auditorium for City of Portland 1913(City of Portland Archives)

10 thoughts on “Auditorium Design, 1913

  1. According to Wikipedia, Municipal Auditorium (now known as Keller Auditorium) was built in 1917. Could that be to what the “Friedlander Plan” mentioned in this article refers?

    I don’t have access to my reference books now, but I believe there is a photo of a very early “auditorium” that predates Municipal/Civic/Keller in one of the Progressive Portland photo collections. I think this early auditorium was located at or near the Keller site.

    Separately, there was the old “Great Exposition Building” (the name given on the 1890 Portland Map) where Civic Stadium (PGE/Jeld-Wen…sigh) is now on upper Burnside. Does anyone know what year it burned down? Perhaps that is what sparked the need for a new auditorium.

  2. I wonder if all the improvement clubs are forerunners of the neighborhood association system, or are they more like the homeowners associations of particular real estate developments?

  3. Indeed, in 1913 there was a need for a new auditorium.

    Bennett’s 1912 Greater Portland Plan, identified the area near the “Multnomah Club grounds” as “well placed” for a public auditorium. The exposition building burned in 1910, so there was an inclination to do something again in that area.

    At the same time, the land between SW Clay, Market, 2nd and 3rd also became available with the demolition of the old Mechanics Fair Pavilion that had been on that site since 1879. This is the site that ultimately won out over all others. The Civic Auditorium was finished in 1917, and completely re-skinned in the late 1960s.

    It seems that by the time the east-siders made their proposal, the decision was probably all but made and stood little chance against the west-side power brokers. Still it is interesting to learn about the “losers” in our past. It helps gain a much broader understanding of how the city developed.

  4. Elliot guessed that the improvement clubs were the forerunners to the neighborhood assoc. The Neighborhood Assn. as we know them today were started as an idea that came from a planning task force in the early 70’s. They task force recommended to the city council that the assn’s. be formed and it was championed by Neil Goldschmidt as mayor in the early 70’s, maybe 72′ or 73′. I do know that the boundaries were based on the population were set by the city forming them around groups who were working on different planning proposals and changes those groups were concerned about. Some that were low in numbers have grown unbelievably since these boudaries were created, i.e. Montavilla.

  5. The Office of Neighborhood Associations was formed in 1974, during the Goldschmidt years. Later it was renamed the Office of Neighborhood Involvement. Many of the “neighborhoods” that were created as part of the 1974 system had been around (at least informally) since the 1950s. A lot of these neighborhoods were divvied up according to new road building plans (i.e., freeways) rather than how the neighborhoods had actually grown organically. Some people in the Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood today, still think of its southern edge as Brooklyn an area that historically was known as “Brookland” on account of the creeks running through it and toward the Willamette. It is only because of the growth of Powell Blvd., after construction of the Ross island Bridge, that a real divide was created that split that neighborhood in two.

  6. I would say the East Side Business Men’s Club was the equivalent of today’s Central Eastside Industrial Council. The Improvement Clubs seemed to be about bringing businesses to their area, rather than (as today) protecting their neighborhood from business (or any development at all, it seems)

  7. They are talking about finding a site somewhere within those boundaries, not a complex covering that whole area.

  8. Now you see where the discrimination for the East Side stems from.
    you want culture (theater) over there? DENIED……..
    …….you want sidewalks in Felony Flats? uh……….
    (sarcasm, but really though)

  9. Basically the Memorial Coliseum and the Rose Garden are in the far NW corner of the proposed auditoriums building boundaries.

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