Topping-out ceremony at new Multnomah County courthouse


Iron Workers Local 29 member Chance Payne helps set the final beam in place.

By Mike Gutwig

Multnomah County held a “topping out” ceremony Nov. 9 to celebrate completion of most of the steel framework on its new Central Courthouse.

Crane operator Mike Robbins of Operating Engineers Local 701 gives the victory sign after placing iron beam on the 17th floor. Robbins works for Hoffman Structures Inc.

Members of Iron Workers Local 29 and Operating Engineers Local 701 hoisted an iron beam to the 17th floor of the building, currently under construction at 236 SW First Ave. in Portland, near the west end of the Hawthorne Bridge. The beam, painted white, bore signatures of many of the 500 construction workers on the project, along with their respective union locals, plus numerous Multnomah County employees, union officials, and other dignitaries. On top of the beam, by tradition, were an American flag to symbolize patriotism and an evergreen tree to symbolize permanence and the everlasting nature of the building.

The 325-foot tower will replace the outdated and overcrowded existing courthouse at 1021 S.W. Fourth Ave.  Completion is set for spring 2020.

At a cost of $325 million, the new courthouse will have 44 courtrooms; the Multnomah Law Library; Family Court Services, which provides mediation, counseling, and educational classes; CourtCare, a free, drop-in child-care service for low-income families who have business at the courthouse; and a coffee stand run by the Oregon Commission for the Blind.

The project is being built under a project labor agreement signed by Multnomah County, the Columbia Pacific Building Trades Council, and the Pacific NW Regional Council of Carpenters. The agreement contains aggressive goals for minority and women apprenticeship and journey level workers. Hoffman Construction is the general contractor.

Mike Pullen, communications coordinator for Multnomah County and a member of AFSCME Local 88, puts his autograph on the beam.

Jacob Trovillo and Curtis Crouch are part of the “raising-gang” — the workers who set the iron beam in place. They are members of Iron Workers Local 29 and work for Alliance Industrial Group (AIG).


  1. I love reading about Union Workers doing the job, doing the job right. So much to be proud to see. Yes you get it, I am UNION STRONG!!


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