Portland State University to demolish historic Parkway Manor dormitory

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland State University is set to demolish historic Parkway Manor in preparation for the construction of a new mixed-use residence hall or college building.

The five-story brick building at 1609 Park Avenue was one of nine apartment buildings purchased by PSU Student Services in 1969 and has served as a student dormitory ever since. However, 53 years later, the aging boardwalk is in such disrepair that PSU spokeswoman Katy Swordfisk told KOIN 6 News that the university’s best financial option was to tear it down and start over. .

“The building has an unsustainable amount of deferred maintenance and the upgrades needed to address deferred maintenance, accessibility issues and seismic bracing, do not make economic sense for housing and residence living,” said said Swordfish. “The building was not designed as a hall of residence and lacks study space and other amenities normally found in modern halls of residence. The building has no elevator, the roof leaks, and there are significant accessibility issues throughout the building.

The Parkway Manor was originally built as an apartment building in 1931 by Harry Mittleman. The modern zigzag decor was designed by famed Oregon architects John Bennes and Harry Herzog, who also designed Portland’s Hollywood Theater and Astoria’s Liberty Theater.

Not officially designated as a historic landmark, the building is recognized by the City of Portland as an “Important Resource,” which the city defines as “a structure, building, part of a building, site, statue, sign , a district or other object or space that the City has deemed important for its archaeological, architectural, cultural or historical value”.

Because of this designation, PSU had to obtain a special permit from the city to demolish the building. With the project approved, PSU is now awaiting the 120-day deadline required to demolish the buildings in the city’s historic inventory.

The City of Portland’s hierarchical system for historic landmarks and resources. Photo credit: City of Portland

While the historic building offers the old-world charm of a 1920s art-deco skyscraper: a grand entrance, repeating geometric patterns and full-height brick pilasters, many of its residents have complained about its issues. modern.

“When the building was in use, there were numerous resident safety complaints that were a direct result of the building’s design – first-floor windows leading to resident units, unsafe access from the rear stairs, and difficulty in securing the front door. ‘non-resident entry,’ Swordfish said.

Demolition is expected to begin in early 2023 and is expected to take three to four months. The university said it has no current construction plans for what will replace the boardwalk.

In an effort to learn more about the building, KOIN contacted the City of Portland’s Historic Resources Program, which maintains Portland’s Historic Resources Inventory. The city did not react.

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