Portland Architecture

A few more churches, it is Sunday afterall

While exploring a part of Northeast Portland, i spotted two churches that needed some photographic attention. The light was just setting as I pulled up to St. Stephen’s Catholic Church on a cold day last weekend, and then minutes later, the sun dipped, and the entire look and feel of the church changed.

Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.


Old Laurelhurst Church, Portland, Ore.

Today, I was exploring a few areas around the Hollywood and Laurelhurst neighborhoods. Laurelhurst is one of Portland’s very tony, planned upscale communities that dates from the early 1900s. Portland is full of these high-end places, along with areas that are extremely low-income. One of the landmarks in this posh hood is the Old Laurelhurst Church. It is non-denominational and available for rent for events like weddings. Standing out front I would have thought I was back in sunny San Diego today, except it was below freezing. This town is just full of interesting churches.  (Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

A potpourri of Portland places of worship

I took these photos in October and November 2014. I will eventually have photographed most of the unique houses of worship in Portland that I considered to be architecturally significant and uplifting to the eye, mind, and spirit. There is no particular order or deeper purpose. I really do like what the craftsman, architects, and builders did in this town in the 1900s. Nice work, everyone. (Click on each photograph to see larger pictures on separate picture pages.)

The Montgomery Ward Building, a Portland landmark

When it opened in 1920, the Montgomery Ward Building was the largest commercial structure in Portland, Ore. It was sold in 1984 and then upgraded with a new glass atrium. The box-like structure sits atop a high plateau overlooking the city’s still industrial properties in northwest Portland, at the base of the affluent mansions that dot the hillside to the west. It is a prominent landmark that can be seen for miles in many directions, and for me is a beacon to the “old Portland” I fell in love with when I first moved here in 1983. This was before the city became a microbeer-brewing, bike-friendly, hipster, green-energy, whatever-you-want-to-call-it kind of city that absolutely fascinates sometimes naive out-of-town reporters, who are oblivious to thousands of homeless residents living on the streets or in makeshift and transitional housing. Meanwhile, the giant white box still stands proud, weathering the changes just fine. (Click on each photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

St. Mary’s Cathedral in Portland

Within about five blocks of each other, one can find three of the most exquisitely designed and built religious structures in Portland: the Catholic St. Mary’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Temple Beth Israel, and Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. St. Mary’s is designed in Romanesque Revival style, similar to churches I have seen in Italy, but also in the United States duplicating those in the Old World. The complex has a large courtyard and ancillary facilities attached. If you are in Northwest Portland, take a stroll to 17th and NW Davis, and you’ll find a beautiful complex taking over a city block.

I shot this photograph with a GoPro camera. To see a larger photograph, click on the picture to open a separate picture page.

Portland’s Holy Trinity Orthodox Church

Last weekend I did a photo tour of neighborhoods in Portland, with an eye for finding aesthetically interesting homes, buildings, and churches. I stumbled on Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, serving the Greek Orthodox community. I of course stopped immediately when I saw it and took a few portraits. During my visit, I met Sofia, a native of Athens, and we had a lively discussion of the Hagia Sofia chruch in Istanbul and life in America. It is very fun to get to know who lives in your community, and churches can be a great place to meet people on their “home turf.” (Click on the photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

Portland’s Irvington District: historic and very, very well off

Portland, Ore., has many beautiful homes and meticulously planned neighborhoods dating from the first half of the 20th century. The Irvington District, in northeast Portland, is a textbook study of this era, and many homes here are on the National Historic Registry. Many of these homes are along Knott Street. I took these with a GoPro, and I may publish more versions of these photos, taken with my Nikon, later. This is the Portland that did not hit rock bottom during the Great Recession and where children are all but certainly performing well-above average. On a fall day, it is a beautiful place to take a stroll. (Click on each photograph to see a larger photograph on a separate picture page.)

Seeing Portland’s architecture through fresh, newcomer’s eyes

I recently moved back to Portland after a long period away. I am taking photographs of buildings I knew years ago and those I had never encountered. Here are a couple. They simply caught my fancy because of their design, color, and sense of place. (Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

Temple Beth Israel of Portland

During my explorations of Portland, I am stumbling on many beautiful and sturdy houses of worship. Many of these date to the early and mid-1900s in this city. Temple Beth Israel, in the city’s northwest neighborhood, is among the most beautiful of all structures dedicated to the celebration of and expression of faith. The building, built in neo-Byzantine style (meaning duplicating the style of the great Hagia Sofia Church in Istanbul), is on the National Register of Historic Places. I used my GoPro to snap these first round of photos, and some members of the congregation graciously let me in to see the beautiful interior. I loved it. I hope to photograph as many of these stately buildings as I can on my free hours. (Click on each photo to see a larger picture on a seperate picture page.)