Built for lumberman and philanthropist Simon Benson around the turn of the century, this once proud Victorian had sat vacant for decades until it was finally condemned by the Bureau of Buildings in 1991. The Benson House was slated for demolition to make room for a condominium tower when City Commissioner Gretchen Kafoury secured a $650,000 grant from the Portland Development Commission to relocate and save this landmark structure.
PDC contracted with Heritage Consulting Group to serve as project manager and historic rehabilitation consultants.
Through Heritage Consulting, Bob Naitoworked with PDC, PSU and the Friends of Simon Benson House to acquire and move the house to its new location on the PSU campus in January 2000.
Bob Naito’s work included incorporating and recruiting board members to the Friends of Simon Benson House; negotiating the purchase of the house; recruiting the architects who did the work pro bono; assisting with the selection of the contractor; and soliciting major donations including a $100,000 in-kind contribution from Home Depot.
Following an extensive rehabilitation of the structure including restoration of many of its historic features, the Simon Benson House reopened as the home of the PSU Alumni office and visitor’s center.
Location: Portland, Oregon
Owner: Portland State University
Project Manager: Bob Naito and John Tess
(Heritage Consulting Group)
Completion: December 2000
Project cost: $2 million
Program: Acquire, move to the PSU campus and rehabilitate the historic home of one of Portland’s first citizens.
Architect: SERA Architects AIA PC
General Contractor: P & C Construction Co.
Funding: Portland State University
Portland Development Commission
Friends of Simon Benson House