Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: P and C Construction (firm); SERA Architects, Incorporated (firm); Donald Campbell (building contractor/civil engineer); Donald Eggleston ; James Gillilan (building contractor); Raymond Pettyjohn (building contractor); George Crosby Sheldon Jr.

Dates: constructed 1900

2 stories

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1803 SW Park Avenue
Portland State University Campus, Portland, OR 97201-3220

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The house stood originally at SW 11th Avenue and Clay Street.


This large and elaborate Queen Anne Style residence accommodated the lumberman and civic leader Simon Benson. In a victory for local historic preservationists, the Benson House was saved from destruction by a move from Portland's West End neighborhood to the Portland State University Campus in 2000.

Building History

The Benson Family lived in this retardataire Queen Anne residence from 1900 until 1912. When the Hotel Benson was completed in 1912, the family moved into its more modern quarters. Commercial development inexorably supplanted single-family residences in the West End district surrounding SW 11th Avenue and Clay Street, beginning in the 1910s and 1920s. Subsequently, the mansion served various alternate purposes, as was common for large-scale residences for the wealthy no longer in fashionable neighborhoods. It first served as a boarding house, and then from 1940-1950 accommodated the offices of the Boys and Girls Aid Society. The house was subdivided into apartments, thereafter, growing shabby by the 1990s. Development pressure threatened the historic building, and, led by City Commissioner Gretchen Miller Kafoury (1942-2015), efforts to raise money for moving and rehabilitating it began in 1998. (See Patricia Squire, Oregon, "Simon Benson House," accessed 06/01/2018.)


Due to a desire to develop its original site, historic preservationists formed a group called the "Friends of Simon Benson House," and succeeded in finding another site for the mansion on the Portland State University Campus, where it was moved on 01/16/2000. P & C Construction and 30 other subcontractors donated labor to reestablish the house on its new property, work that was coordinated pro bono by SERA Architects, the firm led by Bing Sheldon (1934-2016) and Don Eggleston.

Portland Historical Landmark: ID n/a

National Register of Historic Places: 01000155 NRHP Images (pdf) NHRP Registration Form (pdf)

PCAD id: 22073