Today, crews began tearing down the fire-damaged building located at 408 SE 79th Ave. Once the home of Portland Garment Factory, the building suffered complete devastation at the hands of an arsonist. Much of the wood structure burned away in the fire, leaving the unreinforced masonry walls ready to collapse. Demolition experts are addressing the tallest sections of the building first, working their way down and forward.
The fire broke out in the early morning of April 19th and burned for hours. Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) responded to reports of a fire around 3:30 AM. The two-story commercial building is surrounded on both sides by parking lots, preventing the fire from spreading. On April 20th PF&R filed a Dangerous Building report stating that the “exterior walls [are] at risk of collapse.” Soon residents observed the back wall’s separation from the southern side of the building.
The full extent of the demolition process is unknown and may only address hazardous sections of the structure. Built 90 years ago for the Montavilla ice factory, the building underwent many alterations over the decades. Compared to the back two-story portion, the single-story part of the building is constructed out of concrete and suffered only minor structural damage during the fire. However, the cost of salvaging half the building could be unjustified and challenging to reuse.
Look for continued demolition of the building over the next few weeks. The final repurposing of the property is likely years away and may be dependent on a future tenant’s ambitions.
UPDATE – Added demolition progress pictures. May 20th, 2021.
UPDATE – Added demolition progress pictures. May 21st, 2021. Back wall is halfway demolished.
UPDATE – May 24th, 2021. Heavy equipment is onsite and working its way into the buildings core. Demolition will progress more quickly in the coming days.
UPDATE – Added demolition progress pictures. May 26th, 2021
UPDATE – Added demolition progress pictures. May 27th, 2021
UPDATE – Added demolition progress pictures. May 28th, 2021