Working in the Custom House in Portland, Oregon is a truly unique and special experience for native Oregonians. Back in the early 2000's as the Pearl District was finding it's identity, industrial warehouses were quickly converting into residential lofts, creative agencies were setting up shop, and restaurants and breweries were hopping. Everything was transforming, with the exception of the Custom House.
For years, we all speculated if the Custom House would become a trendy hotel, a school, or maybe even an artist space. How could this beautiful, Italian Renaissance Revival building stand vacant for decades? Then, in 2017, something magical happened. WeWork moved in.
As you walk into the open courtyard from the Park Blocks, you feel as if you're walking into the late 19th century. Once inside, an elegant, curved staircase greets you from the lobby and zigzags both to the left and right as it ascends up four floors. It would be the perfect "Prom Photo" staircase.
The Custom House is on the Historic Registry, so many of the original materials and ornamentation of the building are still in tact. Even the bathrooms feel historic! WeWork also kept the original vaults and transformed them into cozy phone booths and meeting spaces. Yes, the phonebooths are windowless and don't have the best air circulation, but it's a cool ice breaker when you explain to your client that you're taking the call from a vault! Brownie points if you can locate the vault with the over-sized, napping sleeping bag.
Cool Fact: The Custom House was on TV! The TV show, Grimm, used the exterior of the building for their "Portland Police Precinct".