(Alumni Assoc. Offices/Visitor's Center; a.k.a. the Witch House)
SERA Architects, circa 1900
One of PSU's newest buildings is also its oldest. This once sadly neglected, two-and-a-half-story Queen Anne-style home was formerly located at 11th Avenue. Simon Benson lived here for twelve years, and afterwards, the home was a reminder of the former majestic residential character of this area. But by the late 20th century, neglect had led a local columnist to describe it as looking like "a boarded-up meth lab."
* Philanthropist and businessman Simon Benson (nÃ© Bergersen) donated Multnomah Falls to the city of Portland in 1915.
The Benson House became a cause cÃ©lÃ¨bre when robbers stole several leaded-glass windows from the home. The attention paid to the recovery of the windows brought higher visibility to the rescue project for the house itself, a rescue that ended with the house changing addresses.
The Benson's new lease on life began in 2000 with a four-block move in a windstorm to Portland State University. The champagne-and-cheese crowd on hand to cheer the home's move may have irked Simon Benson, a man who frowned on public drinking. The exacting renovation (pro bono!) that followed included the replacement of the original rocks from the previous site around the Benson's foundation.
* City code mandates that the third floor of this public building be off-limits because there is only one door accessing it. The door is locked and the floor empty.
Just south of the Benson are the Blackstone Apartments (1930, 1831 SW Park Avenue, Elmer E. Feig). An Egyptian motif denotes this distinguished four-story apartment building of variegated brick with cast-stone decorations - note the pharaohs at the entry. The building shares features with Feig's Morland Apartment building near Lloyd Center.Less Text