History

By Lynn Munson

The Shogren building, located at 1235 SE Grand Avenue, was built in 1924 by my mother’s aunts; May and Ann Shogren.  May and Ann traveled to Oregon with their family in the late 1800’s via the transcontinental railroad.   They became famed dressmakers for well healed clients throughout the Western United States.   During the 1920’s, they grew their dressmaking business in a multi-story building located in Portland’s Downtown West side area.  They employed a large number of skilled dressmakers and were the third largest employers of women in Oregon, following behind teachers and nurses.  Much information and many of their dresses can be seen at the Portland Historical Society and on the website here.

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The building on Grand Avenue was home to a variety of different types of businesses from the time it was built.  Located in the Central Eastside, which was primarily occupied by businesses engaged in manufacturing, wholesale distribution and retail establishment.  The last tenant to occupy the building prior to our major renovation in 2003, was Willamette’s Custom Wheel Service, who closed their business in 2002 after nearly 30 years in business.

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After completing our renovation, we have enjoyed excellent long-term occupancy with tenants such as SURFACE, Glacier Window and Door, California Closets, Genze motor scooters, and Ceilume who manufacture and distribute drop ceilings.

By Lynn K. Munson

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