My local Church of Scientology in Portland, Oregon, has just bought a new building, located at 812 SW Washington St., downtown. The building was bought for about $5 Million, using donations from the thousands of local Scientologists (including me!) There’s no mortgage – it’s now owned outright by the Church.
A little personal history – in 1971 there was no Church of Scientology of Portland. There were two small Dianetics centers in Portland then. When I was taking a course in communication during the summer of 1971 at the local Dianetic Academy way out on SE 82nd Street (I remember it took about 45 minutes to bicycle to it from my apartment near Portland State), two people came back from advanced administrative training and set up the Portland Org as a fully-fledged Church of Scientology, offering a full line-up of courses (Academy training, etc.) and spiritual counseling. Things that the old Dianetics Academy was not capable of doing.
It was an exciting time, and I spent a lot of that summer, when not on my communications course, volunteering at the new Church of Scientology by helping to put out mailings (I remember stamps for the letters were 8 cents!), cleaning up, and painting. I had a blast – it was hot that summer and a group of us would head out to the river to swim on the weekends. I made a lot of friends, many of whom I still know and count as friends – we’ve kept in touch over the years.
I left Portland in the fall of 1971 to go to Los Angeles to work as Construction Chief on one of the ships that belonged to the Church of Scientology — I really enjoyed doing that as well. I spent over 10 years in LA doing various administrative jobs for the Church — it was incredibly rewarding to me personally.
I came back to live near Portland in about 1983, and I was here during the Crusade in 1986 — when we had many thousands of Scientologists come in from all over the world to show their support during a legal challenge. We marched around the courthouse and held rallies in the park blocks in downtown Portland. It made national news. We won the trial and the appeal.
By that time (Mid 80’s) there were two Scientology centers in Portland — a Celebrity Centre and a Church of Scientology. About two years ago they combined into one entity to better utilize the staff and to make it easier to deliver Scientology services to the local Scientologists. One of the results of that merger (in my humble opinion) is that it made it possible for them to buy this new building.
I’ve done Scientology services in Portland over many years — the staff have always been dedicated, willing, knowledgeable and helpful. It’s a joy to see the new building they will be able to move into as soon as renovations are done. It’s in great shape already but parts of it will need to be converted to course rooms, rooms for counseling, a small theater for films, etc. They’ve been “making do” with unsuitable quarters for a long time (decades!) — it will be awesome to have a new building in which to do our Scientology training.