Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Part of History

I don't know about you but I've noticed there are quite a few water towers atop some of the old buildings in Portland.  Because we don't use them anymore they have become little historical landmarks. One of the buildings that sticks out amongst all the modern marvels of the Pearl District is the Centennial Mills Building.
 Centennial Mills (originally named Crown Mills) was a large grain and flour milling and processing plant. It opened in 1910 with a closing date of 2000.  Playing an important role in Portland's economic growth, Centennial Mills contributed to our status as a major grain processing and shipping hub. With such a success, Centennial Mills was able to add onto the original building resulting in a 4.75 acre site with 11 different buildings. 

Soon after the mill shut down for good, in 2001, Bruce Forster gained access to the site. These great black and white film shots give us a taste of what it might have been like.  

Parts of the mill are still exactly as they were when business was booming. The basement shows how the foundation was made from actual tree trunks.

 The plan now is a makeover. The PDC (Portland Development Commission) has plans to convert the mill into business spaces with a focus on providing open space, capturing history, defining a community focal point, strengthening connections, and embracing sustainability. Construction begins in 2011 with a finish date of 2012. So great that we can take a piece of history and convert it into something new that will create a whole other piece of history. Portland is good at that!