Louis, Theodore, and Adolph Nicolai moved to Portland to begin a sawmill. They did well for themselves, and invested in this half-block building. In addition to serving as a hotel, this building has also housed a bar, brothel, billiards hall, and most notoriously, a cracker factory.
The cast-iron columns are more than 16 feet tall, with blank-faced women's heads bolted on about 12 feet up. If you enjoy this type of traditional ornamentation, be sure to look at the Davis Street side of the hotel. The building was renovated in 1968, and given a seismic upgrade in 2004 (SERA Architects).
Nearby is One Pacific Square (220 NW 2nd Avenue, 1983, Campbell, Yost & Grube). This squat, hexagonal, and slightly odd tower was designed to be an entirely reflective surface for its surroundings in all directions.