It is a sad day for architecture and history in Portland. Riverdale Grade School, which carries the pedigree of having beee designed by the two most acclaimed architects in the city's history (A.E. Doyle and Pietro Belluschi), and a school that generations of Portlanders have attended, is no more. In a blaze of bulldozing, Riverdale was leveled like Dresden in World War II. Today all that stands at the corner of Military Road and Breyman Avenue is a pile of rubble. (The pictures used here were provided by architectural historian Libby Farr, Ph.D.)
"It's a shame the children of Riverdale have been denied the opportunity to learn that preservation and building a sustainable future go hand-in-hand," wrote Steve Jewell of the Preserve Riverdale campaign in an email today. "Riverdale has become a 'throwaway' community, in stark contrast to our traditions and community values. Regrettably, the 'bigger and newer is better' crowd holds the upper hand and has now destroyed the iconic symbol of our community's values and traditions."
Jewell and friends are at least up to one last bit of protest. Back in 1988, many Riverdale community members purchased individually inscribed bricks to help raise funds for a restoration campaign. The school has pledged to use those bricks in the new school building subsequently being constructed, in order to honor the memory of the previous building. But preservation supporters have arranged with Riverdale to allow individuals who bought a brick back in 1988 to have the brick returned to them upon request, instead of having it used in the new school.