Lookout Elevation: Around 140 feet
Access: Drive to
In August of 1951, a devastating fire burned 2,400 acres, or 25 percent of Forest Park in Portland. Three emergency lookouts were established across the Multnomah River, St. Johns was one of the three.
In 1952, the Portland Parks Bureau with the assistance of Engine 32 of the Portland Fire Bureau had a second-floor window with a firefinder mounted on the exterior brick wall. It was established to watch Forest Park across the Willamette River to the west.
This building is still standing. A cupola that is on the roof may have been used for fire. The building is currently being used by the Portland Police Department. This historic building was originally the City Hall for St. Johns City built in 1907. In 1915 it became a fire station. The building was renovated in both 1964 and 1996.
In 1941, USGS survey parties used the building for survey purposes and described the building as a red brick with heavy gray trim used as a fire/police station in the St. Johns district of Portland. Also saying a flagpole is on opposite end from cupola which is surmounted by a fire bell.
In 1959, a survey party said the cupola and flagstaff had been removed from the building.
Renovations in 1964 or 1996 likely rebuilt the cupola since the cupola is back and a bit different than the original. It is not clear what the cupola was used for but the information provided on firelookout.com and Ron Kemnows website say the lookout was a second-floor window with a firefinder, not the cupola. More to come when available.
St. Johns Lookout Site
Building still standing in St. Johns in 2021
Cupola on top in 2021
The original cupola
As a city hall just after construction in 1907
As a city hall in 1909
As a fire station now with cupola on top
Historic shot with the fire station next to the entrance to the St. Johns Bridge
The building with ivy covering it
Location of the lookout site