Partial History of the City Block the Church sits on
In 1926, the church purchased the property on
NE 7th and Clackamas. In 1927 our present church building was built.
In 1946, Pastor Linus Johnson was trying to persuade the Temple Trustee board to purchase the two houses that were located behind the church on the South West corner of the block, (#4 & #5). The church was reluctant to pursue this endeavor. Some said that the church should not be in the real estate business. During this time the Lloyd Corporation was buying up properties from the Willamette River to NE 15th Avenue. They were in the process of tearing down the homes they acquired and had a nine-hole golf course that started on the north side of Benson High School to the other side of Sullivan's Gulch. The building at the corner of NE 11th and Irving was the clubhouse at the time. The Trustee Board of the church referred to the golf course as "Lloyd's Cow Pasture."
Dr. Johnson went to Sweden in the summer of that year and told his son Earl, to remind Mr. Compton, who owned lot #4 not to do anything in the way of making a deal on his property until he returned from Sweden.
Property #5, was owned by Multnomah School of the Bible and was used as a boarding house. It is interesting to note that the Mulnomah School of the Bible began in an old building just a block and a half from Temple on Multnomah Street. That is why it is called "Multnomah School". They benefited from the Lloyd Corporation buying their property. This enabled them to buy into a larger campus on 82nd & Glisan Street. Because of their proximity to Temple during those early years, they often had their graduation exercises in out church auditorium. A number of our church members attended the school when the school was our neighbor. Helen Carlson was the instructor in Missions. Josephine Neal and her sister also were active in the school.
The church owned the vacant lot #6 on which was built the the three floor addition and Day Care Center. Before the addition was built it when it was an empty lot our class had socials or fire sides during the summer when Ray & Evelyn Lott were leaders of our group. Some Sunday School classes were also held outside on the lawn. I remember that Dave Carlson had the duty of mowing the grass and trimming the hedge around it when his parents were the janitors.
Both properties were sold that summer. The Lloyd Corporation had their bank purchase them. Upon returning from Sweden and finding out what happened was disappointing for Dr. Johnson. Later that year, Dr. Johnson had Oregon Baptist Retirement Home purchase #2 lot. He sold his home on Fremont Street and moved in this house, next to the church. so that the church wouldn't loose it.
Mr. Bennett, who at that time was a Portland City Commissioner had purchased lot #3 when a Japanese couple that owned it was repatriated at the beginning of WW II. The house was built a few feet over on the lot of#2, so there was a cloud on the title. Dr Johnson would not sell these few feet of real estate to Mr. Bennett. Instead he talked Stanley Christiansen into buying #3 for about $7,000.00. That gave the church about 100 X 100, the corner we now own, where the addition was built in 1962, stands which includes the gym, church offices, day care play yard and staff parking. The other two lots could have been purchased at that time for less that $24,000.00.
Some time after the church bought a home on NE 24th and used that for a parsonage. Dr .Johnson and family moved to the 24th Avenue residence and Mr. and Mrs. (Freda) Martin Wennermark and Bernie, then moved in to the house next to the church from the apartment on the 2nd floor of the church, which was located in the Northwest corner of the building. When the Wennermark's left the house at 1319, the youth Pastor, Herbert and Irene Lawrentz moved in for a while until it was torn down. Rev. Dave Danielson was the Senior Pastor at that time. The Wennermark's then moved to a home they built on NE 36th and Holman.
Earl Johnson related that when he got out of the Navy, his parents lived at the 1319 address, lot #2. He then entered the University of Oregon. During this time the church purchased the parsonage at 2810 NE 24th Avenue. When he graduated from The University of Oregon in 1949; they were living on 24th Avenue.
A few years later the church purchased a house on the North West corner of Sixth and Clackamas and used it for a youth house. It was known as the Chi Alpha House. After the church had possession of it, it went through a drastic remodel, which was done mostly by volunteer labor by church members and friends. Supervision and most of the labor were done by Dave Parker and Terry Hollister and the Temple High School Group. The church used it in a youth house capacity for approximately five years.
Mrs. Stanley Christiansen (Viola) owned the lot next (on the north side) to the youth house. Between the Lloyd Corporation, Portland General Electric, Viola, and the church, negotiated the trade of these two lots for the remaining two lots that Dr. Johnson was trying to acquire. The Church presently owns the entire block that the church building is situated on. The last two lots, #4, #5 are at present, a parking lot for church members. During the week the church leases a majority of the parking spaces to the Ashforth Pacific Corporation, formerly known as the Lloyd Corporation. The Ashforth Pacific Corporation provides upkeep on the tarmac as well as striping at Temple's expense.
We at Temple are most fortunate and blessed to have had the leadership and guidance of Dr. Linus Johnson. He was truly a man of God. He gave his heart and soul into the work of the Lord!
This article was submitted by Earl Johnson on April 2, 2003.