Thursday, January 01, 2015

The Kathleen Gorman Rose

The next Weston rose mural on our mini-tour is the Kathleen Gorman Rose, located on the west side of the Marquam Building, part of the office complex between I-405 and SW Arthur St. just south of downtown. This is the same complex that's home to a groovy 70s fountain I posted about a couple of years back. A 2008 Tribune article about Weston roses explains that Kathleen Gorman was developer Joe Weston's eighth grade teacher, many years ago. Which seems like a really sweet gesture, regardless of what you think of these giant roses painted on buildings.

As a historical side note, this Marquam Building should not be confused with the infamous original 1891 Marquam Building at 6th & Morrison. It was a 10 story office block with a huge theater attached, and the whole thing appeared to be quite fancy. Unfortunately it turned out to have been built poorly out of cheap materials, and it collapsed in 1912 while being renovated. A news item in a contemporary issue of Architect and Engineer describes the circumstances of the collapse in greater detail, laying blame on the building's inferior bricks as well as on some of the modifications being made to the building. It leads with a rather snarky description of the building:

The building occupies one of the choice corners in the business section of the city, and in its time was considered a high class office building, but as Portland advanced from a sleepy overgrown village to a half grown city, the building became a home for quack doctors, and patent medicine fakers, and the element that generally follows in the wake of the above named professionals.

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