The Slabtown building will soon be no more.
The 94-year-old brick building will soon be razed to make room for a massive complex of 153 studio apartments along Northwest 16th Avenue, as first noted by a local tear-down blog, Portland Chronicle.
For more than a year, the building has stood as an increasingly desecrated tomb.
Punk rock venue and vegan hang Slabtown—long home to both Portland garage rock, skee ball, all ages shows and a vending machine selling guitar strings— closed November 1, 2014, the Day of the Dead.
Since then, the empty building was raided by police after apparently being used as the chop shop for an organized bike theft ring.
In September 2015, police were allowed into the building to find "an extremely organized and entrenched chop shop: dozens of frames, baskets of parts such as cast-off water bottle holders and bike lights, and even a bike painting station were amongst the ill-gotten loot found at the former bar."
Slabtown also caught fire.
Its basement ceiling burned in December 2015, causing a two-alarm blaze whose cause remains unknown.
But if the building survived the police, and it survived the fire, it can't stop the inexorable march of progress.
Koz is a developer that specializes in "micro-housing," low-budget studios built for extreme economy. They look something like this:
To be fair, 153 people is probably way more than were ever squatting in Slabtown's basement at any one time.
Here's an account of Slabtown's final day:
“A world was ending. Some wept openly, one woman danced the worm so hard she thinks she might have shattered her knee, and the next night at least two people had sex in the basement. We’ve all got our own ways of grieving.
The Day of the Dead, Nov. 1, was the last night of Slabtown, a cavernous punk-rock and pinball bar that sat in the shadow of the I-405 overpass for nearly a half century. When it closed, it was the last independent all-ages rock club on Portland’s westside. For some, it was more of a home than the place where they actually slept that night.
“One guy did two hours of karaoke all on his own,” says Doug Rogers, the last of many owners of Slabtown, of the final evening. “There were people sitting in chairs unable to move, people crying. It was intense.”
Bands played on a small stage in a dim room, each one singing cover songs of bands who’d lost a member to overdose, suicide or heart defect. Sad Horse covered Nirvana, and the Gnash did Elliott Smith. It was an elegy sung in the words of the dead.”
Feel free to put roses on Slabtown’s grave while it lasts. Because it won’t last long.
After that, only the music video for “Bohemian Like You”—shot on the premises—will serve as its monument.
Ah, Slabtown! Ah, humanity!