HAPPY VALLEY — Visible to thousands of Interstate 205 motorists daily, the iconic cross atop a church here remains as the building and surrounding property falls under new ownership.
After deciding three years ago to sell, the nondenominational New Hope Church sold its 126,000-square-foot facility and 11-acre campus for $13.25 million to Our Lady of La Vang, a Portland Vietnamese-speaking Catholic congregation, effective June 1.
In the midst of COVID-19 and limits on gatherings, New Hope has moved all its services online and is now searching for a new location in the southeast part of the metro area.
New Hope has been a local fixture for decades. Founded by Pastor Dale Galloway, its first services were held at the 82nd St. Drive-in Theater in 1972. It built eventually at 11731 S.E. Stevens Road, moving into the north section of the current church in 1981, then the sanctuary. The building was expanded in 1987 with the addition of a larger sanctuary and children’s department.
But with a smaller congregation in recent years, New Hope determined the building and campus were no longer the right fit. It was more than New Hope needed, and maintenance was a constant struggle.
However, the building and property is a good fit for the fast-growing Our Lady of Lavang, a 5,000-member congregation that had been bursting at the seams at its former site in northeast Portland. Already doing nine masses per Sunday, there was no more room for growth and was faced with turning people away who wanted to attend.
“The New Hope Church campus becoming available was truly a Godsend,” said Archbishoip Alexander Sample of the Catholic Archdiocese of Portland.
New Hope was excited to sell to another church, keeping the highly visible cross, said Executive Pastor Michael Stern. “It was our hope that this building and property would contninue to be used by a church for worship and community outreach,” he said.
John Rosensteel, New Hope’s lead pastor, said New Hope is a “healthy and growing” congregation that didn’t have to sell, but chose to “so we can focus our efforts on sharing the love of Christ and helping people follow Him.” He said the building sale frees up the church and its funds to that end.
For more about the move, go to newhopepdx.org or its Facebook site.