By Jack Rubinger

For those of you who’ve been wondering why the Dairy Queen on Division across from Franklin High School has gone dark, we got the scoop talking to Fred Braden, Executive Director, Dairy Queen of the Pacific Northwest and city planners.  

Braden explained that plans for a major remodel and a radical redesign began in 2017 on the 20,000 square foot site, including modifications to the drive through. 

He’s hoping to re-open the Dairy Queen in Q1 of 2020. 

“This is a quintessential walk-up Dairy Queen in a wonderful area and there are few walk-ups remaining in the United States. 

“The Division Street location has a lot of history with our group. It was one of the first stores opened in Oregon,” said Braden. “Right now we’re dealing with things like asbestos removal.” 

Don and Dorothy Williams were the operators of the location for more than forty years prior to the closure and Braden stated that some of the employees have been moved to other locations owned by the operator.  

City planners describe the project as a new construction project that has three active permits. 

According to Emily Volpert, the City of Portland’s Community Outreach & Information Specialist, the Dairy Queen at 5605 SE Division St. permits include a Demolition Permit 239458 (issued in 2019), Commercial Building Permit 210965 (submitted in 2018, re-activated in 2019) and Urban Forestry Street Tree Planting Permit 129640 (issued in 2019).  

Plans call for the demolition of an existing commercial building, and the construction of a two-story restaurant with the main floor to include a kitchen area, restrooms, interior and outdoor dining, a second floor to include dining, a break area, an office and new landscaping.  

“I don’t know of any unique obstacles that this project will need to overcome – just compliance with the applicable State and City codes in the Commercial Mixed Use 2 zone. 

“Right now, they have the demolition permit approved. The re-activated building permit is under review,” Volpert said.