WELCOMING SPEECH OF OUR NEW LODGE
APRIL 15, 2015
By Kurt Baker – Exalted Ruler
Portland Lodge #142 was the gem of our state. Established in 1890 Lodge #142 started just 22 years after the birth of our order. Sponsored by Sacramento Lodge #6, they were the 142nd Lodge in the country and the first in Oregon to open their doors. Portland saw many changes. They moved 7 items over their 125-year history. Starting at 4th & Yamhill, then 6th & Morrison, 7th & Stark, 11th & Alder, 16th & Morrison, 41st NE Halsey, and at NE Columbia Blvd. Membership had its ups and downs as well. During the Great Depression the vibrant 3800-member Lodge was reduced to 450. But our brothers did not quit. They gathered their resources and in 1933 relocated to the 16th and Morrison location and built a new Lodge. By 1950 they were recognized as having the largest membership in the nation. Throughout the 60’s Portland Lodge #142 kept the honor as having one of the best Lodges in the country. But as with most Lodges, the 80’s and 90’s were devastating on membership. The recessions, the changes in drinking laws, and the introduction of the computer caused people to stop joining fraternal organizations. Portland Lodge was no exception. The officers and members began to map out their next move. Portland Lodge #142, the greatest Lodge in Oregon, was about to start a new beginning.
A dozen members from Portland #142 and Oregon City #1189 petitioned Grand Lodge to start a chapter in Milwaukie. Lodge #2032 started in 1957 in Henry Mullins garage in downtown Milwaukie. The first Lodge was located in a WWII administration building in the Kellogg Park area. In 1963 land was purchased on McLoughlin Blvd. from the Busch Family and the Lodge building was moved to the front of the property while construction began. In 1967 the current Lodge room, bowling alleys, sports bar and basketball court were added and the now called Annex Building was moved down below and put on a foundation. Membership grew to almost 6000. As with Portland, membership started declining beginning in the late 70’s. The Lodge lost between 100-450 members every year. Membership was getting older, people stopped joining and in 2011 all but 3 officers resigned, died or retired. The Lodge only had $20,000 in the bank, promise grants were coming due. The membership voted to sell the building. But our brothers and sisters did not quit. They fixed and painted the building, opened the pool, got out the word of who we are and what we do through membership drives and haunted houses. They created new and fun events and brought in younger members and their families. Today they can proudly say that the Lodge is growing. They’ve had 3 years of plus membership they’ve lowered the average member age; they have money in the bank.
So here we are, the merging of two Lodges. Both Portland Lodge #142 and Milwaukie Lodge #2032 no longer exist. In their place is a new larger Lodge. Grand Lodge has permitted us to keep Portland’s number 142, but the name will change to represent both Lodges: Milwaukie-Portland. Welcome to your new beginning. Welcome to your new Lodge.
The traditions and routines of our past do not exist because we are a new Lodge with no history. What does exist are the laws of our order and the oath we took that binds us together. With a lot of hard work and a little luck, we will be successful.
Welcome to the new age of Elkdom. Welcome to Milwaukie Portland Lodge #142.
It’s going to be a great year.