Preservationists say windows at former Portland Korean Church are worth saving. Are they Povey Brothers glass?

Preservationists say windows at former Portland Korean Church are worth saving. Are they Povey Brothers glass?

The pending demolition of the former Portland Korean Church brought preservationists to downtown Portland to see Tuesday’s fire damage.

Among their questions: Can any of the stained-glass windows still intact above the doors to the 118-year-old building be saved? And are the windows, which feature opalescent glass, products of the famed Povey Brothers Art Glass Studio, the Portland-based company known as “Tiffany of the Northwest.”“?

German-speaking congregants built what originally was known as First Evangelical Church in 1905. Architect Henry Dittrich designed the building, three stories at Southwest 10th Avenue and Clay Street, said Val Ballestrem, education manager with Portland’s Architectural Heritage Center.

Less is known about the windows of the Gothic-style building.

Ballestrem, who catalogs examples of Povey glass, said no documentation exists to say definitively whether the windows are the work of the Povey brothers. They often didn’t sign their work, much of which appeared in Portland homes and churches, starting in 1888.

The presence of opalescent glass, a common feature of Povey windows, is a clue but not proof that they may be from the brothers, he said.

“In any case, they’re really nice,” said Ballestrem, who approached the owner of the church property, Beaverton and Lake Oswego dentist Hadi Nouredine, on Thursday and encouraged him to preserve the windows if possible.

The Portland Fire & Rescue Bureau planned to demolish the burned building Thursday, one day after announcing an arrest in the suspected arsonbut the agency postponed the demolition until Friday morning.

The building housed a Korean congregation starting in 1978; The group sold the property in 2015, and it’s been vacant at least since then.

Ballestrem hopes that when the ruined 35-foot steeple comes down, the windows beneath it don’t break.

“We want everyone involved to be safe,” he said, “but we hope in the process of the demolition that a piece or two is salvaged to be able to help tell the story of that building later on.”

The best example of Povey glass decorates Portland’s First Christian Church, two blocks east of the former Portland Korean Church on Southwest Park Avenue, Ballestrem said.

— Beth Slovic; [email protected]; 503-221-8551

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