Dr. John D. Marshall Building Used In 1970s To Provide Healthcare For Blacks Accepted Into National Register

The former Dr. John D. Marshall Building, a historic establishment in Portland, Oregon, was accepted into the National Register of Historic Places, the official catalog of landmark places that include districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that represent a significant part of American history. 

According to KATU News, U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer and other local leaders gathered together on July 11, 2023, to celebrate the induction of the North Portland building into the National Register. “We mark a historic legacy that is just not overlooked but systematically forgotten, and with your help, we’re taking a step to remedy that,” Blumenauer said. “And I could not be more pleased to be here today to celebrate this moment.”

KGW reported that the building, which was transformed into a funeral home, was nominated by the city of Portland and the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office. The building’s owners, Bernie and Bobbie Foster, accepted a plaque during the ceremony that recognized the building named after Marshall, who practiced medicine and was known as one of the few Black doctors in the area during the 1950s. 

The location, off of North Williams Avenue and Northeast Sacramento Street, provided Black doctors and professionals a facility to extend healthcare services to the Black community. Dentist Dr. Samuel J. Brown, pharmacist Dr. Richard Neal, and lawyer Aaron Brown all leased small offices in the building. Dr. Marshall provided health services from the building’s main suite. 

“I am very thankful,” said John Marshall, the eldest son of Dr. Marshall. “I think it shows that the community has a lot of resilience. More recognition is needed to give examples for others to continue that in the future.”
The facility served as Portland’s Black Panther Party’s way to provide medical and dental services to Black Portlanders throughout the 1970s.

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