Preservation Magazine, Fall 2017

Portland's Ancient Order of United Workmen Temple Is Demolished

Portland's Workmen Temple

photo by: Architectural Heritage Center

In each Transitions section of Preservation magazine, we highlight places of local and national importance that have recently been restored, are currently threatened, have been saved from demolition or neglect, or have been lost. Here's one from Fall 2017.

Built in 1892 to house the Portland chapter of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, an international fraternal organization, this structure only served its original purpose for 10 years. In 1902, it was rechristened the Tourney Building, a mixed-use commercial and residential structure. Preservation group Restore Oregon considers it one of the city’s most prominent remaining buildings from the 1890s, and it has housed a furniture store, warehouse, and the office of the Oregon Historical Society.

In November of 2015, the City of Portland removed the building from the local Historic Resource Inventory at the owner’s request. That December, the Portland Tribune reported that Ankrom Moisan Architects had released plans that showed a 20-story hotel and 10-story office building in the current footprint of the Workmen Temple and the adjacent Hotel Albion. Despite a public outcry, the new project’s developer, Third and Taylor Development, maintained that there was no feasible way to rehabilitate and seismically upgrade the existing building. Demolition started in August of 2017.

Katherine Flynn is a former assistant editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores, and uncovering the stories behind historic places.

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