Adaptive Reuse Oregon History Oregon Real Estate Portland historic preservation

Portland’s Galleria mall gets a makeover

Olds, Wortman & King department store

Portland’s famous mall got a huge makeover and just celebrated it with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. 

No, not THAT Mall, the other one: The Galleria (now called Galleria). 

A quick bit of history. Built in 1910 and originally known as the Olds, Wortman & King department store, in the 1970s The Bill Naito Company repositioned the building in 1976 and renamed it the Galleria Mall. 

It thrived through the 80s and early 90s but with the sparkling new Pioneer Place it saw traffic plummet. In 2018, Unico Properties LLC purchased Galleria. The acquisition was part of a joint venture partnership with Partners Group, which invested in Galleria on behalf of its clients. In 2021, Partners Group and Unico invested approximately $20 million to fully renovate the historic landmark, delivering state-of-the-art amenities and creative office space to the heart of downtown. That same year, Unico secured a new, 42,000-square-foot, 15-year lease for SERA Architects, Inc., a multi-disciplinary architecture, interior, and urban design firm committed to sustainable placemaking, at Galleria.

“We preserved the past while revitalizing this historic landmark and we’re honored to reveal a beautiful new building that creates a hub, with a modern and exceptional amenity package and reflects the epitome of sustainability and decarbonization, in this prime area of downtown,” said Charlie Floberg, Unico Properties Director, Market Leader. 

Here are some impressive factoids for the building (and energy efficiency!) nerds:

  • Completely new mechanical systems (HVAC, electrical and plumbing, fire panel) to maximize energy efficiency – the remodel was done under the Path to Net Zero standards which is an extraordinary step, especially in a building that’s more than 100 years old.  It’s a standard above current energy code. This historic building is meeting Energy Trust of Oregon’s net-zero standards and is targeting LEED Gold certification, with the possibility of getting higher.
  • All interior finishes removed – raw shell for office users to maximize for their visioning of space.
  • Infilled the atrium to maximize floor area.
  • Full modernization of the elevators in 2023.
  • New lobby with an homage to the historical fabric of the building – respecting Galleria’s history and respecting its place on the National Register of Historic Places – reused the marble floor where possible.
  • Dedicated and secure bike storage; full fitness center and shower facilities; common conference room.
  • Modernization of the parking garage – new automated equipment.
  • High-efficiency lighting throughout.
  • Galleria is now fully electrified and is pursuing LEED Gold certification, with the possibility of getting higher. Galleria is not only an example of decarbonization, but it is also a building that prioritizes health and wellness for its inhabitants. Galleria is also targeting Fitwel certification, which is expected in 2023.

My last memory of the space was in 2008 when the ground floor atrium offered tables and chairs and was a great place to bring over food from the (now-gone) food carts. As I sat down to eat I grabbed my pho from the lid and the container dropped to the floor spilling hot pho all over the place. Nice one, dude. What’s your memory of the place?

Color pics: Photo credit: Molly J. Smith / BW pics: Oregon Historical Society.

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The former Bomber location in Oak Grove is for sale

 John Margolies Roadside America photograph archive (1972-2008), Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Source.

Actually, what’s for sale is most of the land that the former restaurant (closed during COVID in 2020) and gas station (closed years ago) and once featured the B-17 Lacey Lady, a WWII-vintage B-17G four-engine Bomber looming over the property.

If you don’t know the story, in 1947, Art Lacey purchased a B-17 bomber for $13,000 and flew it from Oklahoma to Oregon. He then disassembled it, transported it covertly, and placed it atop his 48-pump gas station in Oak Grove. Lacey also opened the Bomber Restaurant and motel. The gas station was closed in 1991.

According to Loopnet, the property is going for $6 million.


Good news for fans of the airplane, it was relocated and is being restored. Once that happens it’s not clear where it will (excuse the pun) land. Probably not at its original location. If I had any guesses, this chunk of the property will be turned into shovel-ready land.

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Historic Portland Breweries 1852-1934

Shout out to Bill Night’s excellent It’s Pub Night and the map he compiled that shows breweries that opened in Portland between 1852 and 1934.

If you’re a beer nerd (ding!), building nerd (ding!), or local history nerd (duh), click on the image below or here and go poke around. It’s a fun time travel.

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Modern mystery in Oak Grove

A reader shared images of a phenomenal home located off of SE Oatfield and Roethe Road in Oak Grove (near Milwaukie, Ore.)

Here’s what they said:

This is a picture taken probably in the late 40’s by our Mom of her Mothers property which was on Oatfield road near Roethe. I remember this building on the Eastern border of her property.  I don’t think it was there after the 1960s but it looks like a very modern home with a Frank Lloyd Wright style to it.  They would have had an amazing view.  Not sure who owned that horse.  The house must have been off Roethe Rd east of Oatfield.  Perhaps someday I’ll drive out there and see if I can figure out where it might have been.

Any ideas from readers out there?

Oregon History

Meet Milwaukie Manor

This doesn’t happen often enough around here: grand old home for sale, on a big lot, needs repair, someone buys it, then restores it. (You know the other side of that story. (Cough demolition cough). 

A couple of years back the Skulason House in Milwaukie, Ore., (a wonderful Dutch Colonial Revival built in 1913) went up for sale. Sitting near the Providence Milwaukie Hospital, things didn’t look good. 

When it was originally built, The Oregonian reported “Among the most attractive and pretentious homes to rise in Portland’s suburbs has just been completed in Milwaukie. The house is a striking empire style of architecture.” ⁣⁣
It cost $12,000 to build. ⁣⁣

When it went up for sale a few years back the listing had the words many preservationists fear: “opportunity to develop the land.” Enter the new owners:  the Bernards family, who had a different, better idea and a vision.

Owners of the Interior Design Firm, Studio MacLeod with close ties to MacLeod Construction, they focus on historical restorations in Portland and Milwaukie. After purchasing the home and property, the husband and wife team quickly got to work on their dream of restoring the historical home, room by room. Renaming the property to Milwaukie Manor with a top to bottom, interior and exterior complete revamp of the property, the new owners also plan on making the exterior space into an event space for weddings, music, events, and parties.

This personal restoration project will be one that they say will be room by room, top to bottom, and interior and exterior complete revamp of this unique property.

Look for updates on their Instagram page. And if you have any information on the Skulason House, post it in the comments. 

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Hop into your time machine and watch this video from 1917!

Portland, 1917! Great stuff!

Oregon History

Baker City brick beauty


The Baker Gold & Silver building, built in 1900, has been a part of Baker City since the town’s earliest times. This well built historic building features repointed brick, new exterior paint, and a new roof within the last few years. The building is comprised of 3,050 sqft on the main level & 1050 on the mezzanine. Potential living quarters on the mezzanine level. The current tenant has an established rental history and would prefer to keep renting (they’ve been there for years).


Visit Loopnet for more info.



Portland Real Estate

Portland’s 1889 Glisan Building for sale

Kells Building 4One of downtown Portland’s historic buildings is going on the market. The iconic Glisan Building at 112 SW 2nd Ave. has been listed with John Kohnstamm, principal broker, SIOR, with Capacity Commercial Group of Portland.

The two-story Glisan Building offers 9,000-square-feet plus a basement. It has been seismically upgraded, has a modern elevator, and breaks up well for two tenants. The building has been lovingly and passionately restored and maintained by its current owners, the McAleese Family of Portland.

Built in 1889 and named after Dr. Rodney L. Glisan, the building features Queen Anne Italianate style architecture with a flat roofline, pedimented doors, projecting eaves, and tall, arch-headed windows. It is famous for being the last structure in Portland to use cast-iron pilasters and columns. Portland is home to the second-largest collection of cast-iron architecture in the United States, just behind New York City’s historic Soho District.
Glisan Building
Currently home to the renowned Kells Irish Restaurant and Pub, the building has been in the McAleese Family since 1990. The upstairs originally served as the offices for Dr. Glisan, while the main floor hosted a creamery. It also served as a location for Chown Electric Supply Co. in the 1960s. The building is a City of Portland Historic Landmark within the Portland Skidmore/Old Town Historic District, which was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977 for its historic importance as a major 19th century West Coast port and for its collection of cast-iron commercial architecture.

Interested parties are encouraged to contact John Kohnstamm directly at or at 503-542-4355; or Nick Diamond at or at 503-222-2655.