AKA: Portland City Hall #2, Portland, OR

Structure Type: built works - exhibition buildings - museums; built works - public buildings - city halls

Designers: Architectural Resources Group (ARG), Architects, Planners and Conservators, Incorporated (firm); Mayer / Reed, Incorporated, Landscape Architecture and Visual Communications (firm); Whidden and Lewis, Architects (firm); Matthew M. Davis (city planner); Ion Lee Lewis (architect); Rolph H. Miller (architect); Timothy Strand ; William Marcy Whidden (architect)

Dates: constructed 1893-1895

4 stories

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1220 SW 5th Avenue
Portland, OR 97204-1909

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Building History

Portland architect Henry J. Hefty, Sr., (1858-1915) won an 1890 competition for the design for the design of the Portland City Hall #2. Originally, Hefty's design called for the construction of a campanile 200 feet high, but this element proved too costly to construct due to the economic crisis of 1893. Portland's most successful architectural firm, Whidden and Lewis, produced this substitute Italian Renaissance palazzo design that replaced Hefty's more grandiose one.

Building Notes

The City Hall boasted one of the earliest steel frames in any public building in the Pacific Northwest.


A full restoration, supervised by SERA Architects, took place in 1998.

After 20 years, the new roof installed in 1998 began to fail. Matthew Davis, of the historic preservation architectural firm, Architectural Resources Group, and Tim Strand of Mayer / Reed Landscape Architects convinced city officials about installing a new green roof to seal the building and to help reduce the urban heat island effect in the city. According to the Daily Journal of Commerce (Portland, OR), installing a green roof would benefit building and surrounding city by "...decreasing the amount of stormwater runoff, providing habitat, reducing the heat island effect, increasing building energy efficiency and helping extend the roofing membrane‘s life by up to two times. A limited amount of weight can be added to the roof, so the number of plant species able to be used also is limited. The eco-roof will be a layered cinder system assembled on site. The cinder and sedum planting will be five inches deep and be made up of a drain mat, a filter fabric and water retention layer, a growing medium, cinder mulch and plants. The roof will feature a mix of 12 species of plants from one to six inches tall including sedum cuttings and some bulbs native to the Pacific Northwest that can withstand the varying amounts of direct sunlight, indirect light and shade from adjacent office towers." (See Liz Sias, Daily Journal of Commerce (Portland, OR), 03/27/2018.)

National Register of Historic Places (November 21, 1974): 74001711 NRHP Images (pdf) NHRP Registration Form (pdf)

PCAD id: 13770