Known Years of Operation

Jan 1, 1922 - Jan 1, 1963

Number of Seats



Eugen Blazier, M. Pallay, Lesser Cohen, Julius Saxe, Sam Saxe, W. W. Ferguson

Additional Facts

  • Refurbished by Francis Jacobberger in 1922
  • Also known as the 3rd Ave Theater
  • Later became the Paris Theater

The Union Theater was reconstructed by Francis Jacobberger in 1922. The theater was built to seat 300 guest and was mainly used as a grind house. It showed off second-rate vaudeville in addition to moving pictures for many years. When Third Avenue was widened in 1930, the front 30 feet of the theater was cut off resulting in a change of the theater’s façade. It also picked up the nickname of the 3rd Avenue Theater around this time.1 In 1963 the theater ceased to be known as the Union Theater and became the Paris. From then it began it’s time as an X-rated video house.

The building of the Union Theater itself has seen many risqué operations in its day. The building officially closed down in October 2019 but before it saw its end it had seen a fair share of people. It is currently considered one of Portland’s many historical buildings and is located in Portland, Oregon’s Old Town Chinatown. The theater was constructed in 1890 and opened as a burlesque house. In 1922 it was renovated to operate as a cinema. Sixteen years after it became the Paris it became home to local drama groups before closing. It the reopened as a video-projection porno house until 2016. It then became a part of Portland’s night life and was utilized as a live venue and nightclub until it finally closed its doors in 2019.2

Paris Theater front
The Union Theater after it changed to the Paris Theater


During its time the Union Theater was a popular motion picture location in the Portland area. It regularly showed popular movies that were being premiered that year. The Union Theater even participated in national film events such as the Paramount Pictures Nationwide Anniversary Celebration.Since the building itself has been around since the 1890s when the 'Union Theater' title and ownership officially ceases is difficult to determine. This is because the history of the Paris Theater and the history of the Union Theater often overlap due to the shared history of the building itself.

Street view of the Union Theater
Street view of Union Theater


Works Cited

  • 1Lacher, Gary and Stone, Steve. Theaters of Portland. Arcadia Publishings, 2009.

  • 2Korfhage, Matthew. “Paris Theatre Pornhouse and Sex Club Will Become New Live Venue and Nightclub.” Willamette Week, 15 June 2016,

  • 3Oregon Daily Journal. "Paramount's 10th Anniversary." 05 March, 1922.

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