Fire at Gateway Elks Club

At 2 a.m. on April 6th, Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) responded to a fire inside the former Elks Club at 711 NE 100th Avenue. The David Douglas School District owns the derelict building and planned to demolish the 1975-era community hall sometime this summer. Several past fires had caused damage to the building, preventing firefighters from entering the structure safely. Consiquentullay, crews employed a defensive fire attack strategy, working to contain the fire from outside. 

Image provided courtesy Portland Fire & Rescue

Although PF&R did not enter the burning structure, firefighters forced open exterior doors to ensure that the building was clear of occupants. Emergency workers reported no injuries due to this two-alarm fire. PF&R received reports of people running away from the abandoned building before crews arrived but did not observe it themselves. This fire generated a massive volume of smoke, and the collapsing structure posed a hazard for those working around the building. Crews extinguished the fire before noon, but PF&R staff remained on site to monitor the smoking rubble for flare-ups.

Photo by Greg Muhr, provided courtesy Portland Fire & Rescue

The David Douglas School District intended to demolish the 12,852-square-foot building since buying it in 2015. Over those intervening years, the building has suffered a fair amount of vandalism and has housed many squatters. This property will eventually support a new school, but that work is several years away and dependent on future funding. Demolition workers who intended to start work on this site before the fire must shift plans to deal with the new site conditions. However, the result will be the same, with the building removed and the basement filled in. Expect to see that work expedited as the remaining structure is potentially dangerous in its current condition.

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