Two months after converting the Little Chapel of the Chimes into the Chapel Pub, the McMenamin brothers have agreed to purchase another north Portland icon.
The restaurateurs signed an agreement with the North Portland nonprofit group Ethos Music Center this week to buy the Masonic Temple, at 5308 N. Commercial Ave., next to the Chapel Pub.
Charles Lewis, executive director of Ethos Music Center, said the sale is "a very positive move for Ethos" and that the McMenamins will allow his group to use the building several times a year "once the renovations are complete." In the meantime, Ethos can utilize another McMenamins property, the Crystal Ballroom, for their community events.
Ethos will use the funds from the sale to renovate its headquarters at 10 N. Killingsworth St.
Originally built in 1923, the Masonic Temple has been boarded up since a 1981 fire made it uninhabitable.
The Portland Public School District purchased the building in 1987, but lacking the funds to renovate the temple, put it back on the market in 2003.
Ethos was one of two nonprofits selected to bid on the building. As the only nonprofit wanting to save the building from demolition, the school district sold Ethos the building for $320,000 in 2003. After completely vetting the renovation costs, Ethos decided that its limited funds would best be used elsewhere. In the meantime, the McMenamins had purchased the Little Chapel of the Chimes and converted it into the Chapel Pub restaurant. Lewis said the brothers jumped on the idea of purchasing the Masonic Temple property for community event space and for possible office expansion.
The McMenamins are supportive of Ethos Music Center and will conduct an instrument drive for the nonprofit to celebrate the new acquisition.
During the month of May, donors can drop off musical instruments for Ethos at any McMenamins establishment and get a receipt for their tax-deductible donation.
Ethos Still a Big Part of North Portland
Ethos is not without its own building. Shortly after purchasing the Masonic Temple in 2003, Ethos also purchased a 7,500-square-foot building on North Killingsworth Street.
Ethos' new headquarters features an 80-person recital hall with a live video feed to community access channels, a new café and waiting area featuring Stumptown Coffee, a dozen classrooms, and office space for Ethos' full time staff members.
The philanthropic community has endorsed Ethos' Masonic Temple sale. "We applaud Ethos' decision to sell the building," said Doug Stamm, executive director of the Meyer Memorial Trust. "It makes good sense for the organization at this time, and we're very pleased the organization will still be able to use the facility after it is renovated. Being agile and flexible in a changing environment is a sign of a strong nonprofit, and we look forward to supporting Ethos in the future in furthering its important work."
Ethos is planning an open house at its headquarters on May 19, to celebrate the building sale and to kick off a month-long instrument drive that will conclude at the Crystal Ballroom on June 21 with a benefit for Ethos sponsored by the Portland Mercury and McMenamins. More information about Ethos' open house and benefit concert will be posted on www.ethos.org in the near future.