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A last look at the very historic Mela Building

BUILDING MAKES WAY FOR BRIDGE
by: David F. Ashton This view looks west from the former third-floor reception office of a law firm, looking straight through the tunnel-like undercarriage of the Sellwood Bridge.

With the Mela Building - the iconic structure through which an east-side support pillar for the current Sellwood Bridge was built - scheduled for demolition starting in July, to clear the way for the construction of the new Sellwood Bridge, THE BEE asked for one last look before it was destroyed.

This, the last remaining building that once housed the East Side Lumber Company up through the 1920s, was purchased by Multnomah County to make way for Sellwood Bridge construction.

As a portion of the historic lumber mill that pre-dated the bridge, it was qualified for listing on the National Historic Register - as pointed out in an article a few years ago by Eileen Fitzsimons in THE BEE. But no effort to list it was made.

The fact that the county didn't have the money to buy the land the bridge was built upon, back in the 1920's, explains why that pillar was thrust through a private building that the county did not own.

The last of the tenants in what has long been an office building was gone, when, in June, Mike Pullen - Multnomah County's spokesman for the Sellwood Bridge project - let us in for this last look.

The 19th Century timbers with which it was built will be carefully salvaged, as much as possible during the deconstruction, assures Pullen.