by: Elizabeth Ussher Groff, White porch columns and white trim are part of the new, yet actually old, look of the Woodstock Community Center.

For the past fourteen years, the Woodstock Community Center has, to some people, looked like the quintessential old firehouse -- a gray building, accented with red pillars and a red door. It turns out that in the case of this building, originally built as a firehouse in 1928, the stereotype was not historically accurate. Fire engines may have always been red, but not firehouses!

A very old photo displayed in the lobby of the community center shows the original firehouse with wood shakes and white columns, door, and trim. It was the practiced eye of color consultant Shannon Baird who noticed the photo and, after some additional historical research, advised returning the building to its original colors - 'wood brown', with white accents.

Baird was there to consult, as a result of an effort by Lonnie Port, Chairperson of 'Friends of the Woodstock Community Center'. She had posted the need for a color specialist on the CNRG (Community Nonprofit Resource Group) Internet website, CNRG, a resource network for nonprofits in the Portland area, posted Port's request in their digest. The request was noticed by the Bosco-Milligan Foundation, an organization and museum on S.E. Grand Avenue dedicated to maintaining and preserving historic buildings in the Portland area.

Bosco-Milligan suggested Baird, who specializes in historic color restoration, and was the 2004 recipient of the Elizabeth Potter Award from the State of Oregon Historic Preservation Office.

As luck would have it, Baird reports that she has family history in the Woodstock Neighborhood. Her parents were Woodstock residents when she was born, and various family members lived in the neighborhood over the years. Although not currently a resident, Baird decided to contribute to her neighborhood of origin by offering her color consulting service as a gift to the Friends of the Woodstock Community Center.

After twenty years in the business, Baird pays attention to the finer details of paint colors. Knowing that in the 1920's it was common to paint exterior ceiling panels over front porches a shade of pale blue to replicate the sky, she suggested this color feature for the Center. The overhead stucco panels are now a subtle blue, making a transition from interior to exterior of the building.

Lonnie Port herself coordinated the painting project. Portland Parks and Recreation (PP and R) assumed financial responsibility for painting the building, under its three-year agreement for running the center with volunteer help from the FWCC group.

The Woodstock community has voiced its appreciation of the PP and R staff who were instrumental in expediting the new paint job. Lisa Turpel, Manager of Workforce and Community Alliances; Gary DeVore, Facilities Maintenance Supervisor; and Tim Hammock, Director of Mt. Scott and Woodstock Community Centers all provided administrative oversight. Paul Radmaker headed up the painting crew. After lead abatement was managed by PP and R, the paint job was completed by Central City Concern, painters on contract with PP and R.

So all that remains is for the public to appreciate the historic restoration. When in Woodstock, stop by to see the Center's new old look. The building is directly west of BiMart on 43rd Avenue, just north of Woodstock Boulevard.

Go to top