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Oregon Historic Sites Database

address:100-110 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd historic name:Alco Apartments
Portland, Multnomah County current/other names:Vivian Apartments
assoc addresses:100-110 NE Union Ave
block/lot/tax lot:
location descr: twnshp/rng/sect/qtr sect:1N 1E 35
resource type:Building height (stories):3.0 total elig resources:1 total inelig resources:0
elig evaluation: eligible/significant NR Status: Individually Listed
prim constr date:1912 second date:1939 date indiv listed:01/17/2017
primary orig use: COMMERCIAL: General orig use comments:
second orig use: Multiple Dwelling
primary style: Commercial (Type) prim style comments:
secondary style: sec style comments:
primary siding: Brick:Other/Undefined siding comments:
secondary siding: Concrete: Other/Undefined
plan type: architect:McNaughton & Raymond; George M. Post (1939) renovation
builder:Advanced Constructoin Company
comments/notes:
11-24-2015 - HRR response sent, determined potentially eligible under Criterion A. DJP
Not associated with any surveys or groupings.
NR date listed: 01/17/2017
ILS survey date:
RLS survey date:
Gen file date: 11/25/2015
106 Project(s)
SHPO Case Date Agency Effect Eval
11/15/2001 No Effect
Special Assessment
Status Term End Yr
Active 1st Term  2027
Federal Tax Program
Status Start Compl
In Progress 08/01/2017  
(Includes expanded description of the building/property, setting, significant landscape features, outbuildings and alterations)
The Alco Apartments building (now the Vivian Apartments) is located on the northeast corner of NE Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Blvd. and NE Couch Street in Portland, Oregon. It is a remnant of the early streetcar-oriented Central Eastside development boom, now surrounded by renovated auto-related business buildings, surface parking lots, and contemporary construction. Built in 1912, the Alco Apartments building is a three-story, beige brick masonry building with a full basement, ground floor commercial space, and two floors of residential apartments above. The building footprint is rectangular (60'x100') and the exterior walls at the northeast corner of the site are set back to form a small rectangular lightwell. Each floor is 5,500 square feet for a total of approximately 22,000 square feet, including the basement. The two primary elevations – west and south – face NE MLK Blvd. and NE Couch St., respectively. The east and north elevations outside the light well are solid party walls abutting adjacent structures. The roughly 40' high facades feature storefronts at the ground floor and moderately sized window openings at the apartments. Components of the original wood storefront system have been replaced, but recessed entry doors with transoms and storefront transoms (currently covered over) remain intact. The original double-hung wood windows at the apartment levels have been replaced on the west and south elevations, but remain in the north lightwell. Other decorative features include a projecting metal cornice at the parapet, brick banding, and brick and concrete details. The mixed-use building has six ground-floor commercial spaces and a total of twenty-six apartments on the second and third floors. The apartments are accessed from the NE Couch entry, denoted by a suspended metal canopy. The building retains a high degree of integrity, including function (ground floor commercial/upper floor apartments), form, patterned brick masonry, cornice, openings, entrance canopy, storefront transoms (covered) and lightwell windows. With the return of the streetcar on MLK Blvd., its streetcar setting has also been restored.
(Chronological, descriptive history of the property from its construction through at least the historic period - preferably to the present)
The 1912 Alco Apartments building, located at the northern end of the central east side of Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon, has local significance under Criterion A in Commerce. The building is significant for its association with the streetcar-related commercial development and linked residential development of Portland's Central Eastside and retains a good degree of integrity. The period of significance begins with the building's construction in 1912 and extends through 1958 when the last streetcar, the interurban service between Oregon City and Portland, was terminated. The Alco Apartments building is also a good example of the mixed-use (commercial-residential) building type found profitable on Portland’s east side, along the streetcar lines. The building is representative of the building type, scale, and quality that was distinctive of Portland's eastside development, but is quickly becoming scarce due to intense development pressures. It is just outside the boundaries of Portland Oregon's Eastside Historic and Architectural Resources Multiple Properties Designation (MPD), which does not consider resources located north of Burnside in the northeast quadrant, despite the building being well within the boundary of the original townsite of East Portland that extended north of Burnside all the way to Glisan Street. The Alco Apartments building is also located just north of the East Portland Grand Avenue Historic District.
Title Records Census Records Property Tax Records Local Histories
Sanborn Maps Biographical Sources SHPO Files Interviews
Obituaries Newspapers State Archives Historic Photographs
City Directories Building Permits State Library
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Historical Society: Other Respository:
Bibliography:
Engeman, Jessica. "Rinehart Building." National Register Nomination. 2013. Griffis, George P. "Hunter, It Pays to Save Your Hide." The Sunday Oregonian Magazine, 1950: 10. Portland Bureau of Development Services. "Report of Building Inspection." City of Portland. 1912, 1926, 1938, 1939, 1945, 1956, 1965. Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. Portland's Central Eastside. https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/480760. Accessed March 22, 2016. Portland Directory. Portland: R.L. Polk and Co. 1912-1960. Ritz, Richard. Architects of Oregon. Portland: Lair Hill Publishing, 2002. Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps. Vol. 6. 1924-1928, 1950. State Historic Preservation Office. Historic Sites Database. http://heritagedata.prd.state.or.us/historic/ Accessed April 4, 2016. Tess, John M. "Blake McFall Company Building." National Register Nomination. 1990. The Sunday Oregonian. Alco Apartments Advertisement. September 19, 1915. _____. Alco Apartments Advertisement. April 6, 1913: 14. _____. "Contract Awarded for Building." April 28, 1912. _____. "Ex-Mayor is Paralytic." November 7, 1915. _____. "Fine Buildings Rise - East Side Gets Substantial Business Structures." June 16, 1912. _____. "Tenants Listed for Apartments." 1939. _____. "Three Business Structures on East Side Nearing Completion." September 8, 1912: 8. _____. "Ward Bros. Advertisement." July 6, 1913: 4. Thurlow, Lawrence and William Newell. "Seamless Palm Glove." U.S. Patent. May 13, 1952. Vintage Portland. Historic Photographs. https://vintageportland.wordpress.com/ Accessed March 27, 2016. Zisman, Karen, Julie Koler, Jane Morrison, Barbara Grimala, and Alan Yost. "Portland's Eastside: Historic Context." Multiple Property Designation Revision, 1989. Zisman, Karen, Melissa Darby, Elizabeth O'Brien, Kimberly Poe and Peter Fry. "East Portland Grand Avenue Historic District Nomination." National Register Nomination, 1991.