Before it became the Multnomah Theatre the theater was known as the Electric Theater until it was bought by Gus Salmond and managed by Ole Nelson. After their purchase, they built a completely new building constructed by the Bickner brothers for $16,000. It was a modern marvel for the suburb of Multnomah and the papers even said it matched the luxury and accommodations present in Portland. Under their management, they showcased travel films from around the world and Illustrated lectures indicating that they catered to a higher class crowd. The theater saw an increase in profits after their purchase and began the theater’s history with a strong start.
In 1914 the Multnomah was sold to Mr. McCredie and Mr. Phillips and they immediately began making architectural and internal improvements to the location. He added an addition to the theater that expanded its seating capacity as well as a new furnace for air conditioning for the winter and even a new projector in 1917. Program and events under McCredie’s management including charity fundraiser contests, events, and benefits which raised thousands of dollars for the community. His venture into the suburb of Multnomah was to escape the stingy censor boards that were present in Portland and hoped a location outside the city center would provide more freedom in the films he could show.
In 1927 the theater was bought by Bob White who was an important and influential theater owner across Portland whose most famous theater was the Bob White Theatre after himself. In 1928 there were two major developments in the theater under Bob White’s leadership. The first was that he sold the theater to be a part of the Universal Theater Circuit. They retained the name Multnomah but were owned by Universal and showed their films until the Paramount decision, which resulted in the Multnomah returning to independent operations. He also installed a sound system that helped modernize the theater and bring it into the new age of talking motion pictures.
The last known manager was Paul Forsythe who owned the Blue Mouse Theater in Portland and operated until 1954. The Multnomah fell victim to multiple fires and was ultimately condemned and unable to continue operations. Today the location is a gift store as well as a frozen yogurt shop. The Multnomah was integral to the suburb of Portland and was a gathering place where people could comfortably enjoy quality pictures