Changes May Be in Store at the Historic I.O.O.F. Orient Lodge, No. 17

Willamette Week recently reported, that the Portland Police Athletic Association has sold its building at SE 6th and Alder and plans are in the works for potential redevelopment. With that in mind, we thought it would be interesting to share a little of the building’s history.

The Francis J. Berndt designed I.O.O.F. Orient Lodge, No. 17 located at SE 6th and Alder. Built in 1908.

The Francis J. Berndt designed I.O.O.F. Orient Lodge, No. 17 located at SE 6th and Alder. Built in 1908.

The I.O.O.F. Orient Lodge, No. 17,  was built in 1908 and designed by little-known Portland architect Francis J. Berndt. Berndt was also the designer of the Henry building located at SW 4th and Oak downtown.  We don’t know much about Berndt, but what is most fascinating about his design for the lodge, is how it is almost identical to a building in London, England designed by  C F A Voysey and built only a few years earlier, in 1902. That building was constructed for the Sanderson Wallpaper Company and still stands today – known as Voysey House. Berndt’s Orient Lodge meanwhile, is the only known building in Portland reflecting Voysey’s unique version of an Arts & Crafts industrial building. In fact, according to sources, the wallpaper company building was Voysey’s only industrial building design.

Voysey House in London. Originally Sanderson's Wallpaper factory, the building was designed by C F A Voysey and built in 1902.

Voysey House in London. Originally Sanderson’s Wallpaper factory, the building was designed by C F A Voysey and built in 1902.

Oregonian article from December 20, 1908, announcing the first meeting to be held at the new I.O.O.F. Orient Lodge.

Oregonian article from December 20, 1908, announcing the first meeting to be held at the new I.O.O.F. Orient Lodge No. 17.

We’re still researching, but around 1962, the Portland Police Athletic Association acquired the lodge building from the Odd Fellows. Since that time they have used the upstairs as a gathering place and reportedly a members-only bar. The main floor retail space housed a long-time Portland office supply retailer until a few years ago when they retired and Citizen’s Photo moved into the space.

The I.O.O.F. Orient Lodge, No. 17, is listed as a primary contributing structure in the East Portland-Grand Avenue Historic District. Hopefully with this in mind, the new owners will pursue a renovation that celebrates this historic, architecturally significant, and one-of-a-kind, Portland building.

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1 Comment

Filed under Historic Preservation, Local History

One response to “Changes May Be in Store at the Historic I.O.O.F. Orient Lodge, No. 17

  1. Fred Leeson

    I think there was a time when the bar/tavern was open to the public. I recall drinking there once in the early 1970s. I don’t believe that any of my friends were cops at the time.

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