Our wedding venue was originally built as a vegetable packing house in the early 1900s. Celery and produce would be loaded into the refrigerated railcars on the railroad tracks that run on the back side of the building. At that time, Troutdale, Oregon was known as the celery growing capital of the world due to its rich and fertile soil. The wooden beams that are in the building are the original wooden beams from when the structure was first built.
After that, the history of the building is a little murky, not much is known about the years between its vegetable packing days and when it was opened and refurbished in the late 1980s as an antique store and later, an art gallery owned by Junki Yoshida in 1996. Most of the history has been lost to time and the records of the building are vague at best. We do see from the historic photos that the building was almost twice as long. The owner that purchased the building to open the antique store did a lot of remodeling. It was at this time that the top floor was added which is our present-day bridal suite. That owner also added the hardwood floors that you will find on the main floor of the venue. These hardwood floors came from the old Jantzen Beach boardwalk in Portland. Care was taken to straighten out each nail, so the original nails could be used when the boards were refurbished for The Troutdale House floors.
Between 2001 and 2003, the property changed hands again and became Liberator Brewing. This is when the large bar was installed and a full, functioning kitchen was added. Both of these are fully refurbished and are in use today.
The property sat vacant until October 2007, when the building and property was leased from Mr. Yoshida, but later purchased by Laura and Martin Burlus to fulfill a lifelong dream that Laura had, ever since she was a nine year old flower girl at her older sister’s wedding. It was at that point in time that Laura fell in love with everything wedding – but the driving force behind making that leap of faith to open a wedding venue came from assisting her husband, Martin, who was a wedding photographer. They would often visit all of these different wedding venues and Laura would see how most of the venues would nickel and dime their clients; charging $400 to turn on dancing lights or $75 to use a step ladder. Laura didn’t like that, she wanted to give couples a place where they felt like they were more than just a number in the wedding machine or a walking checkbook. She wanted to hear their love stories and give them a place where they could celebrate and have a stress-free event. It was important to Laura that everything be transparent and included in the cost, there would be no hidden fees. Everything was upfront and listed for the couple to see and make a decision on what works best for them. It would be a venue where couples could bring in their own food or hire their own caterers and bring in their own alcohol, and they wouldn’t be charged for opening a bottle. While this business model is more commonplace nowadays, it was virtually nonexistent when Laura envisioned her wedding venue.
This idea grew and blossomed into The Troutdale House and after eight months of hard work from family and friends to get everything ready, the venue opened for business on May 1st, 2008 with the first event being a vow renewal for Martin and Laura.
Since that fateful day in 2008, the venue has continued to grow and evolve. As business steadily increased, renovations were done, always with the same goal in mind of creating a beautiful and unique space where couples could come together with their family and friends and celebrate. Some projects were bigger than others – in 2014 large mirrors were added behind the bar, creating a classy space that is jaw-droppingly beautiful. Around this same time, renovations were taking place on the lower level of the venue to add in the wine cellar and Victorian room.
In 2017, ground broke on a new ceremony site on the East side of the building. This area is now known as the lodge and boasts a 20-foot high, pitched roof, overhead gas heaters, and a gas fireplace, creating an area reminiscent of a ski lodge, for all that crave that lodge look, but don’t crave the lodge budget.
2021 brought us the cover over the wisteria courtyard, turning a beautiful and magnificent area into something that is now available to all of our couples year-round. Gas heaters were added in several months after the completion of the cover and the space hosts beautiful ceremonies, no matter the season.
The Troutdale House has grown over the last, almost two decades into a popular wedding and event venue. But the core values have remained the same. Laura still loves to hear the stories of how our couples met and proposed when she gives them a tour and the goal of providing a stress-free day for all of our clients still remains at the forefront of our minds. Our couples are more than just a number and name on a calendar. We still welcome all the phone calls, emails, and questions that our clients may have, because we are invested in each and every person that chooses us for their wedding day.
Professional and personal references, Troutdale Historical Society, Images of America - Troutdale - book by Julie Stewart
The transcontinental rail link at Troutdale allowed local farmers to ship produce all over the nation. Shipping produce on refrigerated cars helped many local families in Troutdale to survive the Depression. The vegetable packing house is seen on the right side next to the train.