Readers respond to Mormons leaving Oregon for Idaho and Utah

Last week’s tour of Portland’s most confusing job listings (“catch ghosts,” wwAugust 17th) drew many reactions. But one attribute by far attracted the most curiosity: an item pertaining to the emptying of the Portland Stake Tabernacle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Telling Saints already exists wwthe second most read story of the year. Maybe that’s because of the church bishop’s rationale for the closure: Mormons are fleeing Oregon. The numbers support his case. Church membership has declined 1.5 percent nationwide over the past two years. “They’re moving to Utah and Idaho,” says Bishop Dave Noble. Here’s what our readers had to say:

Brad Schmidt, via wweek.com: “If the published numbers are correct and Oregon has about 155,000 Mormons, almost all 1.5% of the Exodus would have to occur in the same geographic area to account for the lack of need for a 2,000-seat church. The church official’s explanation appears to be based on tropes currently being promoted by the political right and accepted as truism by those who don’t know any better. Isn’t it likely that a significant portion of the reduced need for chapels is due to Mormons who remain in Portland but simply don’t want to go to church anymore? This would be consistent with larger trends in the US away from organized religion.”

CK, via Twitter: “Just shocking that a conservative bunch would move to more conservative areas. Shocking and unexpected!”

Big cookie, over wweek.com: “LDS authorities keep detailed records, so I’m sure the migration figures are fairly accurate. It’s kind of a who cares story; right or wrong, Portland government values ​​are not consistent with traditional LDS values, so there will be some movement. I also find it interesting that there was no time frame associated with when the stake used to have 2,000 people in attendance. Members I know have not met in person for a reasonable amount of time during the pandemic. Finally, the growth of the LDS Church is trending from outside the United States. This reads like a real estate article to me ww trying to put a political twist on that.”

Joelle Foote, via Facebook: “They pay no taxes and their organization only owns $16 billion worth of land, not to mention the $100 billion in other investments. We need to start taxing all churches and religious organizations.”

Aggieotis, via Reddit: “Church plus parking lot is 43,082 square feet.

“It’s zoned as R5, which means you get four units per 5,000 square foot lot, or six units if you have ADA and affordable units. So you’re looking at eight to nine lots with four to six units. So 35 to 52 units tops. Or at least probably 17 units.

“For the land alone, they want $11.4 million, or $220,000 to $325,000 per unit for the dense four to six units per lot. And $670,000 per unit for something less ambitious. Or a whopping $1.4 million if everyone wants a lot for themselves.

“I think the price is a bit high given the zoning. Despite being in a prime location, unless they can work with the city to reallocate it, the price seems excessive. Could be a great co-op community if done right.”

thenerfviking, via Reddit: “Since a church took over Portland’s historic pro wrestling venue, my vote has been … for dedicating the building to the fine art of sweaty, greasy men doing sweaty, greasy man-hugs.”

FannysForAlgernon, via Reddit: “It’s a residential area, which is a shame. I would love to see this one become a McMenamins. It’s a bit small for their usual facility, but at least better than the little ones around Hawthorne.”

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