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History of St. Pius X

St. Pius X Old Church - Title Image

A Brief History of St. Pius X in Portland, Oregon

St. Pius X Parish began as the Cedar Mill Mission in 1953 in the then sparsely populated area of Washington County known as Cedar Mill. The Mission had no church or other building to call its own and Mass was conducted at the Leedy Grange Hall on Saltzman Road. On May 29, 1954, though still borrowing space from the Grange, the Cedar Mill Mission was renamed the St. Pius X Mission in honor of the canonization of Pope Pius X which was announced in Rome on that day. 

During the summer of 1954, the original church (now called the "old church" or Youth Center) was completed on a six-acre site fronting Saltzman Road. The first Mass was held on August 15, 1954. Priests from the Cathedral in downtown Portland took turns coming out to the building to say Mass until the summer of 1955. On June 10, 1955, the Mission was ended and the Parish of St. Pius X was established with Father Joseph M. McMahon appointed as the first Pastor. In the following years, the Parish acquired acreage from adjacent landowners and expanded to its present eleven-acre campus. 

In the fall of 1960, nineteen first and second graders began their school year in a makeshift classroom in the church. The principal of the tiny school was Sister Josepha of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon.


Four years of temporary arrangements for the tiny but growing school followed before the first section of the present school building was built. Archbishop Howard dedicated St. Pius X School on April 23, 1964. 

Since its first days, the St. Pius X Parish has been growing. In 1957, the parish had 200 registered families. Today the Parish has 1,600 registered families. The new church was completed in 1980 and was dedicated by Archbishop Cornelius Power on the anniversary date of the canonization of St. Pius X. The Community Center was completed in 1999 and was dedicated by Archbishop John Vlazny. The Smoluch Gymnasium and renovations to McMahon Hall and the Education Center were completed in 2011. Remodel and updates of the school and campus buildings were completed in 2018.

For a parish that began as a small mission less than 70 years ago, St. Pius X has accomplished a great deal. These accomplishments are the results of the vision and hard work of our pastors and parishioners who had the imagination and faith to dedicate themselves to the work of building a vibrant community in Christ. St. Pius X Parish in Portland Oregon is a very good place to call home, and this website is your guide on the internet to welcome you home. 

The Original Church

St. Pius X - Original Church Exterier

Historical Tidbits

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