In 1905, when St. Johns was its own city (in between stints as Portland’s best neighborhood), city leaders decided they’d show their independence by commissioning a grand new City Hall.
The building, designed W.W. Goodrich and built by Youngfedorf & Son, opened July 1, 1907. But it almost didn’t. Money troubles for the struggling city of St. Johns almost forced officials to sell the plot of land it had set aside at 7214 N. Philadelphia.
Old City Hall is still there. But it’s been Portland property ever since St. Johns was annexed back into its bigger neighbor in 1915. It’s dodged a few bullets — plans to close it have come and gone over the years — while giving quarter to Portland’s police and fire bureaus at various times.
The building most notably served as the Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct until 2007. In recent years it’s been home to the police bureau’s training division. It currently houses the bureau’s traffic division. And it continues to be a recognizable landmark for travelers coming on or off the St. Johns Bridge.