13 thoughts on “Kelly Butte, 1968

  1. Was that a tuberculous hospital? I know there is another old tuberculous building up on Markam Hill which has been converted to other uses.

  2. Article fro The SE Examiner of Portland Oregeon-
    Kelly Butte
    May 1, 2013
    By Nick Blackbourn

    Smack dab between SE Division and Powell and just west of I-205 sits the Kelly Butte Natural Area, a 22-acre piece of land acquired by the city in 1954. The area forms part of the extinct Boring Lava Field, a volcanic field of around 32 cones all within a 21km radius of Kelly Butte.

    While this space is currently slated for a new 25-million gallon water storage tank to replace Mt. Tabor’s three open-air reservoirs, the butte’s history has been a long and eccentric one – much more intriguing than your average recreation space.

    It was named for Oregon pioneer Clinton Kelly (Clinton Street and Park are also named for him). Kelly Butte has been home to a quarry, a jail, an isolation hospital for patients with contagious diseases, a police firing range, a civil defense center, and an emergency dispatch center.

    Originally it was The Kelly Butte. In July 1906, the Kelly Butte Jail was constructed. Initially, forty-eight prisoners, supervised by as many as eight guards, provided cheap labor to produce crushed rock for Portland’s new roads. These activities continued until the early 1950s.

    The City of Portland opened a sixty-bed, municipal Isolation Hospital at Kelly Butte in September 1920 to house patients with contagious diseases. It closed in 1960. In 1968, a ten-million-gallon water tank was built on the old hospital’s acreage.

    The civil defense center was its most famous inhabitant. Built during 1955-56, the 18,820 square foot facility was meant to hold 250 people, enabling them space to form an emergency local government in case of a nuclear attack. A first of its kind in the United States and a model for other cities, the bunker was featured in a 1957 CBS dramatized documentary on nuclear war, “A Day Called X.”

    After retrofitting, the Bureau of Emergency Communications used the civil defense center as an emergency services dispatch center from 1974 to 1994. With the high cost of essential upgrades in the early 1990s, as well as the need for additional space, Portland City Council decided to abandon the facility and finance a new building. The Kelly Butte Center was vacated in 1994 and permanently sealed off by 2006.

  3. Does anyone have a picture of Kelly Butte jail? Or a link to a picture of it? Have never seen a picture of it.

  4. After contracting diphtheria in the late 20’s, my father was housed for some weeks in the so-called Isolation Hospital at Kelly Butte. I remember seeing the remains of the building in the late 50’s, and hearing his stories of his time there when we made the mandatory pre-deer season site-in trip to the rifle range which was located just to the West of the hospital in one of the many abandoned gravel pits in East county. I recall this being called “The Police Range”, or words to that effect, and I want to say that there were uniformed officers in charge of the activities there. It always seemed like the construction of I 205 lopped off much of the Western half of where the range had been, but I’m sure there must be aerial photos that would define that.

  5. The Kelly Butte Isolation Hospital which opened in September 1920 looks to have been built because smallpox in Portland. The construction of the 60 bed isolation hospital on Kelly Butte was rush by both the city and county.

    Oregon journal January 3, 1920
    Kelly Butte Ward Open — Smallpox patients moved to temporary quarters — Work on new hospital, which will be rushed to completion is started by city.
    Smallpox patients were moved yesterday to the new temporary smallpox hospital at Kelly Butte rockpile ( Kelly Butte jail). Fifteen patients were admitted and more were expected to be placed in the new quarters today. The jail has been completely renovated and specially equipment to care for the sick

    Oregon Journal February 7, 1920
    Construction of the smallpox isolation hospital on land adjoining Kelly Butte quarry will not be completed before May 1, according to Commissioner Barbur and Building Inspector Plummer.

    The Sheriff was not happy with his jail being turned into a hospital, which meant that he had to transport prisoners to the rockpile each day, from downtown Portland.

  6. In 1906 Portland operated a prison on Kelly Butte and prisoners provided the muscle and cheap labor needed to quarry the stones used to pave local roadways.

    Rocky Butte to the North once housed a jail.

  7. I Googled Kelly Butte jail and only get photos of the Rocky Butte jail which opened as a branch jail when the rock was exhausted at the Kelly Butte jail site.

    The Kelly Butte jail was described in the Oregonian 7/6/1906

    The new structure will be 67 feet long, 22 feet wide and walls 12 feet high. The floor will be cement and the roof constructed of sheet iron. The walls be strong enough to withstand ant attempted outbreak by the prisoners. There will be 48 bunks, and accommodations for 8 guards, although that number will not be employed.
    There will be a guardroom where an armed guard will be stationed during the night. His room will be so arranged that he can see the actions of the prisoners in his charge, and steel bars will protect him from an attack in the event of an attempted jail delivery (escape ?). A large furnace will supply heat, and 2 bathrooms will be provided for the prisoners.

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