The groundbreaking of the Portland Oregon Temple was on September 20, 1986 by Gordon B. Hinckley. The dedication of the Temple was on August 19-21 1989 also by Gordon B. Hinckley.
The Portland Oregon Temple is the 42nd Latter-Day Saints Temple in operation and it is the first Temple built in Oregon.
The land for the Portland Oregon Temple was purchased by The Church in the 1960’s for the purpose of building a Jr. College, but 20 years later it became the land of the Portland Oregon Temple instead.
James Bean, vice chairman of the temple committee said “I’ve been watching the things that have happened on this property for 20 years. I have felt the whispering of the Spirit, that it was intended to be preserved for special purposes, and I’ve seen the Lord soften the hearts of the people. . . To the point that the work is going forward uninhibited.”
Although the land was seemed to be preserved for the purpose of housing a Temple of the Lord, building the temple was not without opposition. There were at least 27 public hearing, eight lawsuits, and four petitions drives intended to stop development of the Temple. Local feelings softened after the initial opposition subsided.
Elder Bean said “Whenever temples are built there are challenges that come. The Saints are tested; it is almost as though the Lord wants the members to know how much they want a temple. It really isn’t easy.”
The floor plan of the Portland Temple was adapted from the Las Vegas Nevada Temple.
No windows are visible on the outside of the Portland Temple, but sunlight enters in many parts of the temple through white marble.
President Monson said this about the Portland Temple: “You wont find a better example of beautiful craftsmanship combined with the beautiful craftsmanship of the Lord—the lovely trees and vegetation— than here at the Portland Temple.
The Portland Temple has beautiful symbolism. The spires on the East of the Oregon Temple represent the Melchizedek Priesthood and the spires on the west side represent the Aaronic Priesthood.
The sun, moon and earth stones on the Portland Temple represent the kingdoms of glory.
President Ezra Taft Benson presided over three of the eleven dedicatory session and his counselor, Gordon B. Hinckley had the opportunity to perform the dedicatory prayer.
In February 2012 the Portland Oregon Temple got their own Visitors' Center. They opened their doors to the public in February and it was formally dedicated on June 9, 2013, by Bishop Gary E. Stevenson. The visitors' center is located next to the temple in a building that originally housed Distribution Services. When Distribution Services was relocated by a Deseret Book, it was decided that the building would be converted to a visitors' center.