When the Heathman Hotel reopened in 1984 after a two-year renovation restored it to its original grandeur, it was the first of a new breed of luxury boutique hotels in Portland.

This year the Southwest Broadway hotel is celebrating its 75th anniversary harking back to the day when the Oregon Journal newspaper lauded it for being 'as modern as human ingenuity and talent could possibly make it.'

Built by lumber baron George Heathman, the New Heathman, as it was called, for decades was host for KOIN radio broadcasts on its mezzanine. The Stevenson family bought the hotel in 1982, when its opulence had faded considerably.

Since 2000 it has been owned by the The Rim Corp. of Modesto, Calif., which recently renovated the lobby, tea court and mezzanine level and also installed high-speed Internet access.

Most of the hotel's guests are corporate business travelers, says Patti Highsmith, its director of sales. But it's also popular with entertainers and touring authors appearing up the street at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Its library has several hundred autographed books whose authors have been hotel guests.

The room rates reflect what a difference 75 years makes. A single with shower cost $2 a night when the Heathman opened. Now, nightly rates range from a low of $150 to $775 for the two-bedroom grand suite.

Ñ Jeanie Senior

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