1000 Friends Celebrates Move to New Home

By Craig Beebe, 1000 Friends Communications Associate

In 1893, a businessman named James E. Haseltine constructed a warehouse for his wholesale hardware company at 2nd and Pine Streets, in what was then the central business district of Portland. Haseltine, who had moved to Oregon from Portland, Maine just a decade prior, was already widely recognized as one of the city’s preeminent merchants and leaders. Joseph Gaston’s 1911 history of Portland notes that the J.E. Haseltine Company was known for “straightforward dealing, prompt execution of all orders, and the excellence of the output.” Their business dealings stretched all around the West, and the warehouse would store the company’s highly regarded hardwoods and wagon parts.

It makes sense that Haseltine, who later became a state senator, chose one of the bustling young city’s most important intersections for his new warehouse. Befitting this central location, the Haseltine (at right) was built to one of the latest architectural styles then sweeping the city, known as Richardsonian Romanesque. (The style is named for architect Henry Hobson Richardson, who was then at the height of his fame.)

The design for Haseltine's building, by the firm of McCaw and Martin, featured huge stone arches on the ground floor, with some stones weighing as much as 3,000 pounds. Interestingly, the arches are as wide as they are tall, meaning they would form a complete circle if they continued underground. The building was topped with fine brick for its upper stories, a striking cornice (since removed), and elegant inscriptions of the street names and the words “Haseltine Building” over what were then front doors. (Oddly, the doors have shifted slightly to the right since that time.) It’s a far cry from typically utilitarian warehouses most corporations build today.

Since 1893, the Haseltine Building has stood proud as Portland changed around it. Automobiles and the MAX took over downtown streets. The city flooded around its front door in 1894 and 1948 (plaques mark the high-water mark). The central business district moved west and south over the decades, while many of the Haseltine Building’s neighbors were demolished for parking lots and new construction. Ironically, due to the recession of the late 1890s, the company whose name the building bears didn't own it for very long, and over the years the building served a variety of uses, including as a cab stable. It finally underwent conversion to offices and retail use in 1980. (Below, the Haseltine is seen in 1955, when it housed Woodbury & Company; Photo credit: UO Libraries.)

The Haseltine Building in 1955, when it was occupied by Woodbury and Company (and painted white!).And beginning August 12, the Haseltine Building--at 133 SW 2nd Avenue--will be the new home of 1000 Friends' Portland headquarters, in its third office space since being founded 36 years ago.

It’s only a few blocks away from the current office, but the move represents a major change for 1000 Friends. Executive Director Jason Miner says the new office, which will feature a much more open floor plan, will encourage additional collaboration and interaction among staff.

“We work a lot more interactively as an organization today,” says Miner. “More connectivity will allow for better flow of information, to give everyone a better sense of the sum total of what we do.”

Although some staff will still use private offices, Miner plans to ditch his own office for an open cubicle. He says he looks forward to being more visible, which he believes will help emphasize how our supporters and donors make everything that 1000 Friends does possible. “It’s inspiring for staff to know that thousands of people support their work," Miner says.

The new location will also allow for better connection and collaboration with other tenants of the building, including the Oregon League of Conservation Voters (which will share the second floor with 1000 Friends), polling firm Davis Hibbitts & Midghall, and small local businesses like Pedal Bike Tours and Timber Press. As an added plus, the building is located quite close to gathering places like Bijou Café and Stumptown Coffee, as well as the MAX and Waterfront Park.

A lot has changed since 1893, but the Haseltine Building is still a hub of innovation and, to quote Gaston’s comment about the company that built it, a place known for “excellence of output.” 1000 Friends looks forward to continuing this tradition in its new home.

Stay Tuned for pictures from our office-warming party, September 19th!

Oregon Stories: July 2011

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