Old Washington High School lands on national history list
History has caught up to Portlands Washington High School.
The 92-year-old school building which hasnt been a school since 1981 has been named to the National Register of Historic Places. The building owned by Venerable Group Inc. of Northwest Portland was among three properties nominated in June to the national history list by the State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation.
Washington High School was honored for its role in the building of Portlands inner east side between 1906 and 1957. The building helped drive development of the Buckman neighborhood when it was constructed at 1300 S.E. Stark Street. It also fits the criteria to be part of the multiple property historic listing known as the Eastside Historic and Architectural Resources, 1850-1938.
The four-story, 104,000-square-foot, poured-in-place high school building was designed in the Classical Revival style by the architecture firm of Houghtaling & Dougan. It was constructed between 1923 and 1924, replacing a building destroyed by fire in 1922. A school had been on the site since 1906.
According to a nomination report written by Venerable Group historic preservation specialist Jessica Engeman and preservationist Brandon J. Grilc, the high school was closed in 1981 as Portland Public School enrollment declined. It was used as the districts Child Services Center.
In 1978, Washington and Monroe high schools were combined in the building, making it officially Washington/Monroe High School. In 2004, athletic fields south of the building were sold the Portland Parks and Recreation.
In 2013, the building was sold to private developers and converted into office space, with extensive remodeling that included turning old classrooms into commercial space. New Seasons Market leases about a third of the building for its headquarters.
In the heart of the building is a two-story 830-seat auditorium known as Revolution Hall, a venue for music and other performances. The auditoriums stage has been modified several times, but was returned to its original depth and arched apron in 2014.
Some of the better-known Washington High School alumni include Steven G. Bradbury, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice; Gov. Victor Atiyeh; Portland businessman and developer Bill Naito; James Beard, the renown chef and author; and two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, who was awarded his diploma in 1962, 45 years after leaving Washington High School to attend Oregon State University.