Oregon Historical Society photo
St. Michael the Archangel Church, built in 1901, is scheduled for a facelift.
Oregon Historical Society photo
St. Michael the Archangel Church, built in 1901, is scheduled for a facelift.
St. Michael the Archangel Church in Southwest Portland has launched a fundraising campaign for a $6 million seismic upgrade, restoration of its 1901 building, construction of a new administrative building, and expansion of the parish hall to better accommodate the many people who are fed at the parish every day.

“We want to ‘Restore the Heart of the City’ here — a heart severely harmed by the urban renewal of the 1950s and ‘60s, which displaced most of our parishioners as their homes were torn down for new urban buildings,” said Father James Mayo, pastor. “We hope to enlist foundational support, as well as support from the Italian community whose roots are here in this Italian national parish.”  

The Macdonald Fund donated $500,000 as a capstone gift, and Maybelle Clark Macdonald bequeathed a $500,000 gift at the time of her death.  

St. Michael’s history begins in 1851, when the first Mass was said in a small wooden chapel. The chapel, at NW Fifth and Couch, was Portland’s first Catholic church. It was moved in 1854 to SW Third and Stark. Within 20 years, the buildingwas moved again, this time to St. Michael’s present location at SW Fourth and Mill. In 1901, parishioners and neighbors dug the foundation and helped build the present church. Unlike the other churches of the period (except St. Patrick) the new church was made of brick and stone. Parishioners did much of the work themselves.