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Elevator added to historic St. Paul Lutheran Church

by: BARBARA SHERMAN - St. Paul Lutheran Church Pastor Don Richard on June 4 stands by a new addition housing an elevator, which was a few weeks before the elevator was expected to be up and running to transport people between the two floors of the 1930 church.As charming and venerable as historic buildings, including St. Paul Lutheran Church in Sherwood, may be, they must meet the demands of modern society, so sometimes alterations have to be made.

Thus, a small brick addition on the right side of the church entrance houses a newly installed elevator to transport parishioners and guests up to the church’s main level and down to the basement.

The German-speaking immigrants who settled in the area southwest of what is now the Pacific Highway/Tualatin-Sherwood Road/Roy Rogers Road intersection established farms and in 1878 built a wooden church and the cemetery that still exists today.

In 1905, they tore down the first church and built a larger one, and over the decades, a school, houses for the pastor and teacher, and other outbuildings were constructed. In fact, the land on which the current church, built in 1930, stands was donated by a church member, according to Pastor Don Richard.

The various church entities now occupy 11 acres along Roy Rogers Road, and the church has about 275 active members, said Richard, who has been the St. Paul pastor for four years.

“At least a year ago, we started planning for the elevator and doing fundraising to accommodate our aging congregation, and we broke ground Jan. 13,” Richard said. In addition to fundraising, the church borrowed money from the Lutheran Church Extension Fund “so the interest we pay will help another church somewhere else,” he added.

The congregation also had a little fun raising money, such as raffling off the first ride on the new elevator once it is approved for use.

The original church, surrounded by linden trees native to Germany, is made of cold bricks, which were not fired but dried naturally at the Krebbs family’s brickworks in Sherwood.

Since the bricks are no longer made, similar-looking ones were used, but there were roof tiles left over from the main church to use on the addition. Also, an arched window in the addition will have stained glass added to make it resemble the rest of the church.

A broad set of stairs leads to the church’s main entrance several feet above ground level, while the basement is mostly below ground except for the top few feet. The new addition includes a small lobby, and people can enter the elevator at ground level and travel up or down to where they want to go.

Richard pointed out that in addition to congregants using the church, outside guests come for weddings, funerals and other events.

The church was aiming for the elevator to be in use for the last service in June on the 30th, according to Richard.

“We’re excited about it,” he said. “It is long overdue. I may be using it myself someday.”

The church and school are located at 17500 S.W. Cedarview Way, Sherwood; for more information, visit stpaullcms.net or call 503-625-6648.



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