Telegram Building

  • Project Info
  • Rehabilitation completed in 2005
  • 48 ft clock tower made operational after many years
  • New penthouse added to 3-story building


1101 SW Washington Street
Portland, OR

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The 1922 structure, originally built to house the Portland Evening Telegram newspaper, was frozen in time for years attracting few tenants due to its 1telegramdeteriorating condition. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in the early 1990s, After nearly a decade of failed attempts are redevelopment, Meritus (formerly Venerable) was invited to rehabilitate the 33,000 square foot signature property as a last attempt by the owners to avoid demolition.

Completed in 2005, the façade was restored to its original Georgian Revival style. The brick building was seismically reinforced. The distinctive 48 ft clock tower was made operational for the first time in many years and its dome restored to the original copper finish. An additional penthouse floor was added to the three-story building, designed to sit 20 feet back from the parapets to preserve the building’s original character.

Inside, the timbers were recycled and used as trim and smaller elements and the large timbers were sold for reuse in other projects. The historic wood and ironwork staircase on the ground floor was preserved.

14telegram-new-interior1The original entrance with the portico now serves the first floor tenant and a new entrance was built on 11th Avenue with a showcase two-story lobby and grand stair. All the historic windows were preserved and translucent art glass was placed in front of the existing light well panels to allow natural light in but maintain privacy between the Telegram and its neighboring building. The basement, originally used to house the newspaper’s printing presses, was re-engineered into a two-story underground parking structure.

This project was pivotal in bridging West End development and anchoring this emerging neighborhood, creating momentum for surrounding properties.