Ron Gluth, whose father operated Beaumont Hardware, 4303 N. E. Fremont St., from 1948 to 1970, said that during the 1950s, Beaumont had at least five gas stations.
According to Alameda resident Jim Brown, two gas stations were once located on opposite corners at the intersection of Northeast Fremont Street and Northeast 24th Avenue.
Marcia Butenschoen, who grew up in Alameda, recalled buying gas at the Standard station located on the northwest corner of that intersection. “In the mid-1960s, gas cost less than 25 cents per gallon,” she said. “Standard was always more expensive then Shell.”
When these gas stations and others in Northeast Portland closed, entrepreneurs found new uses for old buildings, converting them to restaurants, coffee shops or retail businesses.
In 1983, when her lease was about to expire in a building that now houses Americana Frame, 4223 N.E. Fremont St., Sue Mautz decided to buy the gas station that had closed across the street. She recalled that an owner of a gas station on the coast offered to remove the pumps from property that once housed a Mobil and then Gas Town USA station. Mautz’s partner and remodel contractor, John Otterbin transformed the space, retaining several original architectural features. Mautz initially leased part of the former station to two other businesses, Alameda Wallpaper and Sweeney’s Coffee, but by 1993, Mautz claimed the entire building for The Arrangement, 4210 N.E. Fremont St.
The original bays now hold racks of greeting cards and stationery. Clothing and accessories are artfully arranged on shelves that Otterbin built in 1980. Outside, Mautz added landscaping where trees and shrubs didn’t exist, and brick posts with lanterns, which once guided customers to gas pumps, today hold decorative planters.
Perry’s on Fremont
Mautz’s retail neighbors, Anna and Bill Perry, owned Hamburger Patties, 4239 N.E. Fremont St. In 1983, the Perrys approached Joe Weston who owned the property located at the northeast corner of Fremont Street and Northeast 24th Avenue that once housed a Shell gas station. In spring 1984, a contractor removed the tanks from the front part of Perry’s on Fremont.
“The only part of the building we were able to save was the back end which housed the bar area (former lube room), dish room, prep and baking area,” said Anna Perry by email. They expanded the space for a restaurant which they opened in October 1984, with local customers parading in costume on Northeast Fremont Street from Hamburger Patties to Perry’s in Alameda.
Perry said a Standard gas station on the northwest corner of Fremont Street and Northeast 24th Avenue was decommissioned and the building removed in 1983, leaving a gravel lot. Realizing they’d need parking for their restaurant, the Perrys bought the property from Standard’s owners who declared the land had been properly cleaned up and no leaks were detected from the tanks.
In 2013, when the Perrys retired and sold the restaurant, new DEQ standards required testing because of the property’s original use. According to Anna, the cost was nearly $25,000. In 2015, the former restaurant became home to ChildRoots: Fremont Center, a daycare and preschool.
Wholesome Blends – An Espresso & Juice Bar
In 2002, when native Oregonian and former member of the Oregon legislature, Scott Graham, opened Wholesome Blends, 4615 N.E. Sandy Blvd., he negotiated a long-term lease of the building. The former gas station, built in 1947, was subsequently used for a Pizza Hut, laundry drop-off and pick-up, and a dog-grooming business, according to Graham.
“When five tanks on the property were removed in 1997, the owner was required to obtain EPA certification,” said Graham. Property owners can face onerous and expensive clean-up processes for potentially contaminated sites.
Graham believes the city should invest in these properties to ensure these buildings are re-purposed rather than abandoned, contributing to neighborhood blight.
“Back in the day, there were a number of gas stations located on the north side of Sandy Boulevard, providing easy access for drivers to pull in, gas up and drive downtown,” said Graham. He cited Majestic Cleaners, 3801 N.E. Sandy Blvd., and a Goodwill donation express, 2311 N.E. Sandy Blvd., as two good examples of re-purposed stations.
Albina Community Bank
Remodeled in 2005, Albina Community Bank, 5636 N.E. Sandy Blvd., had formerly been an Exxon Gas Station, according to Roseway resident Ted Carlston. Bonnie LaDoe, who lived in Roseway for nearly 50 years, discovered old photos showing a house had once been located on the land where the Albina bank sits today.
Note: Sue Mautz has been writing advertising checks to the Hollywood Star for more than 30 years, so you’d think we’d know how to spell her name correctly. It’s been corrected in this online version, but was spelled as “Mauck” throughout the version that ran in our print edition. (We also misspelled two other names in the story.) Apologies to Sue and the hardworking team at The Arrangement in Beaumont Village. We’ll get it right next time!