Milwaukie

House of the week: Rare mid-century modern Milwaukie waterfront home for sale

I’m not a Realtor by any stretch of the imagination but if I was, here’s what my ad would say:

Bring your vision (and huge bags of cash)! This 1969 mid-century modern home has sat empty for years and is ready for some love. Think of the possibilities.

Anyhow, I’ve been fascinated with the home for years now. Is it empty? Why doesn’t someone live here? Why is this amazing spot not sold? Is that graffiti on the walls inside?

It’s a real mess.

Doesn’t look very mid-century modern from this angle, but it is…

Doesn’t look very mid-century modern from this angle, but it is…

But? If you’ve got the cash and the constitution, I applaud you. It’s got a lot going for it (like a view of the Willamette). Sadly, an investor probably won’t think so.

Here’s the Redfin ad.

Milwaukie’s Portland Open-Air Sanatorium (1905)

I’ve seen the name mentioned, seen it on maps and have always wondered what this sanatorium was, when it was built and what happened to it. By chance while searching for beer history,  I stumbled on the lengthy-titled book (take a deep breath): “The Campaign Against Tuberculosis In The United States (Including A Directory Of Institutions Dealing With Tuberculosis In The United States And Canada Compiled Under The Direction Of The National Association For The Study And Prevention Of Tuberculosis).”

The sanatorium provided "individual cottages with steam heated dressing rooms, hot and cold running water and shower and tub baths."  Source.

The sanatorium provided "individual cottages with steam heated dressing rooms, hot and cold running water and shower and tub baths." Source.

Scanning it I discovered that, yes, the Portland Open-air Sanatorium was real and existed and took "incipient and advanced cases" with a capacity of 40, and rates from $10 to $30 a week.

The Sanatorium was located at “Milwaukee” (the book's spelling) Heights, on the Oregon Water Power and Railroad Company's line, six miles south of Portland, on a bluff three hundred feet high overlooking the Willamette. It was the first sanatorium for the treatment of tuberculosis to be established in Oregon.

The book continues:

The sanatorium is situated in a fir grove, sheltered from the winds, the climate being so mild and equable that the patients live comfortably in tents during the entire year.  Its equipment consists largely of tents, which can be used the entire year. (People were much tougher in 1905.) 

It offered "the exclusive treatment of tuberculosis by the careful application of the most modern physical, dietetic, hygienic and specific procedures. Patients were provided with X-ray and laboratory facilities, but also "individual cottages (I guess the tents were replaced) with steam heated dressing rooms, hot and cold running water and shower and tub baths." 

Located where Park Blvd. hits River Road, the location is likely where the  Willamette View  retirement community now sits right on the border of Milwaukie and Oak Grove.

Located where Park Blvd. hits River Road, the location is likely where the Willamette View retirement community now sits right on the border of Milwaukie and Oak Grove.

It didn’t last long when the state realized it needed a much larger facility, mandating public medical care to tuberculosis patients in 1910, after which patients from the Milwaukie Heights hospital were relocated to the new Oregon State Tuberculosis Hospital in Salem (in the former Oregon State Deaf-Mute School building, constructed in 1894).

Note: This post also appeared on Lost Oregon.

October 2, 2018: Weekly design and building news

Voodoo Doughnut coming to Milwaukie/Oak Grove?
That’s the rumor on the street. The Starbucks on McLoughlin (14620 SE McLoughlin Blvd. to be exact) is moving across the street making room for a huge space that includes the long-ago vacated Pizza Schmizza. And that’s where the new Voodoo would (apparently) go. We’re not convinced.

Doughnuts, booze and dry cleaning.  Source.

Doughnuts, booze and dry cleaning. Source.

The story behind Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge
One of our fave places in Portland has a great story on its creation (involving some guerrilla action). Read the whole story here.

"...armed with a bottle of Jim Beam bourbon (we) proceeded to nail up the signs around the wetland perimeter, thereby establishing, by fiat, that we unilaterally declared the city’s first urban wildlife refuge..."

Speaking of nature in the city…
Portland metro is blessed with the green, right? Rivers, trees, birds. And, though not in Portland, a new study says that being near nature and trees lessens depression and crime. And to prove it, researchers added greenery to city vacant lots and saw people using them more and crime declining. Nature for the win.

An unappreciated mid-century spot in Milwaukie

Downtown Milwaukie is experiencing major changes to its downtown core. From the south Downtown area (there’s an actual crane up in Milwaukie) with two huge mixed-use projects up within a couple of years, to a new library, to more mixed-use dotted along McLoughlin, downtown will look different in 2-3 years. It hasn’t seen this much growth and construction probably since after WW2.

That said, Milwaukie has an impressive stock of mid-century ranch homes sprinkled throughout the neighborhoods that have remained unscathed in their original condition.

Many commercial mid-century buildings also dot the landscape from super-mod churches to office buildings to bowling alleys.

One mid-century building still standing is the (now former) Milwaukie Cleaners building. Almost invisible, since it sits on a desolate part of Main street (most people usually drive by it to hop on 99) it was built in 1959 and designed by Joseph H. Rudd & Associates, a Portland architecture firm. The streamlined design and folded plate roof were commonly found on dry cleaners of the time. The space is a bit striking and unusual, most notably that roof.

According to Leesa Gratreak, MS, Architectural Historian, at HDR, Joseph H. Rudd & Associates was started by Joseph H. Rudd in 1950 after completing his degree in architecture at the University of Oregon. Rudd, originally born in Idaho in 1922, was active in local philanthropy and housing boards in Portland, as well as an active member of the city planning committee in Vancouver, Wash. Rudd continued to design with the firm until his retirement in 1990 and he passed away in 2003.

Examples of additional work include Yaw’s Top Notch Restaurant in Portland; quarters for the Sisters of St. Dominic on the Marycrest High School campus in Portland; a U.S. National Bank Building on Division Street in Portland; as well as numerous residential buildings throughout the Portland metro area.

“The building is an excellent example of mid-century plate glass design and exhibits a folded plate roof and decorative concrete block patterning,” says Gratreak. “The roof is considered a common feature associated with dry cleaners as it allowed a wide overhang for items to be safely transferred into the vehicle.”

Once Milwaukie Cleaners closed shop, the future of the building remained unknown. Just recently, tell-tale signs of a new business showed up—brown paper on the windows—with word on the street that new tenants will be involved in the budding CBD industry.

Want to see downtown Milwaukie’s building history up close? Gratreak will be leading a tour of downtown Milwaukie this Saturday. Go here to sign up.

Milwaukie Bay Park is back

OK, it really never went away but to the casual observer nothing much has been going on since the initial grand opening three years ago. Since then, the grass has yellowed and the geese have pretty much been chased away. Now, it's ready for the next steps: the final design phase.

It's been a piecemeal process.  The Klein Point Overlook was constructed (it offers a nice vantage point where Johnson Creek meets the Willamette), then a new boat dock and boat trailer parking were constructed, then restroom facilities built, and finally a connection to the Trolley Trail. Next up: A bank restoration project will begin this year, and even more park improvements will soon be planned for construction in 2020.

The  survey asks : "Pick 2 photos that show how you would like artistic elements, history, and local character to be incorporated into the park." Answer: More techno!

The survey asks: "Pick 2 photos that show how you would like artistic elements, history, and local character to be incorporated into the park." Answer: More techno!

Construction on final park improvements is expected to begin by summer 2020, but first, the city of Milwaukie is looking for community feedback.

Milwaukie mystery structure

Celebrate Milwaukie's Facebook page posted an interesting pic of a half-built commercial structure. Looking like a cross between a building kit, a Q-Hut and a 1950s sci-fi movie spaceship, the modular structure is located on King Road just east of the Milwaukie line.

37582223_1888104451229041_116541699898998784_n.jpg

What makes it even more intriguing is that, at one point, the location (or at least close to it) was going to be the new home of Clay's Smokehouse when they closed on Division. (They're back on Division and killing it.) The property on King was dormant for years, until the structure just kind of appeared a couple months back.

We checked records and found nothing.