Art Deco Restoration

Construction is underway at the small Art Deco building located at 7631 NE Glisan Street. Restoration plans for this building started back at the beginning of 2020, but past permit issues caused work delays.

Constructed in 1940 as a dentist’s office, it’s the loan example of Art Deco architecture in the area. “The original owner was Herbert E. Craner, a Portland dentist, who practiced in this building for many years. When he died in 1957, his son Eugene took over the business.” Recounted Patricia Sanders, a local Montavilla historian.

Patrick Donaldson, the building’s owner, discover its dental history and found records of what Eugene Craner later did with the property. “His son, [Eugene], is the one that filled out the building application in 1983 to turn it into Montavilla Quality Pizza – a take-out pizza joint,” said Donaldson.

It turned out that the 1983 permit was the most recent one filed with the city before Donaldson started work. “That, in fact, was the last permit legally pulled on the space, despite the number of businesses that have occupied the building. I am still wrangling with the city to get a permit approved based on this old use.” Explained Donaldson, speaking a few months back.

Donaldson bought the building to become the new home of his architecture firm Harka Architecture. To accommodate his business, much of the interior and the entire roof will need rebuilding. The exterior walls are now extended up by a few feet, allowing space to install wood I-beams that will support a new roof.

A recent permit for the project will add an accessible ramp to the building and change occupancy classification from F1 to B. With the addition of the ramp and the new higher walls, the building’s appearance will vary slightly from its original form. However, much of its character seems to be intact.

This project differs from other similar updates on the street. It’s a restoration of a distinct architectural style performed by an architect for an architectural firm’s office. Acting as both a showpiece of architectural style and a classic building’s rehabilitation, much of its final look will be a statement about the new occupants and their respect for history.


Cover Image by Weston Ruter