Golden West Building African-American History Exhibit

Central City Concern unveils Golden West Building African-American History Exhibit
October 22, 2009, 5:00 – 6:30 PM @ Carleton Hart Architects
322 NW 8th Avenue, Portland, Oregon
The celebration is free and open to the public

The Golden West Building houses the Bridgeview Community, a program managed by Luke Dorf, which provides housing and some case management for persons with severe and persistent mental illness who would otherwise be homeless.

In an earlier incarnation, the Golden West Hotel was at the center of Portland’s first African-American neighborhood early in the twentieth century. Due to its proximity to Union Station it served African American railroad workers denied lodging in other Portland hotels. It is one of the oldest remaining landmarks of African American history in Portland.

Central City Concern
purchased and renovated the building in 1989, and recently took full ownership. For the past 19 years, the Golden West has served countless homeless and mentally ill people. In 2007 Central City Concern undertook a number of renovations to the building. We earmarked $4000 to restore the historic display that faces Everett Street sidewalks.

When the City of Portland Visions in Action grant program became known, Central City Concern contacted Old Town History Project Director Dr. Jackie Peterson who helped us put together an application. Central City Concern was awarded $9250 from the City and $1000 from the Oregon Council on the Humanities. The combined funds, plus in-kind labor contributions primarily by Central City Concern, will allow us to restore and improve the exhibit panels and to also add two new display windows on the Broadway side of the building and a sound component. The major goal is to convey the vibrancy of the African American neighborhood around the Golden West in the early part of the 20th century.

For more information, see Golden West Project

OUR COMMENT – This moment in history would have been forgotten without the persistent pestering and problem-solving of Will Bennett, a mental health advocate transforming into a scholar of African-American and Oregon history. Thank you Will.