Dánaso Rodríguez

Artists Rep’s $7 million gift

The "transformational" donation helps clear up the company's financial troubles and secure its future. For others, the impact could be big.

A white knight has arrived at Artists Repertory Theatre, and his or her name is Anonymous. Dámaso Rodríguez, artistic director and interim general manager of Portland’s second-biggest theater company, announced on Friday morning that the company has received a $7 million gift from an anonymous donor. “This transformational gift marks a turning point in our history,” Rodríguez wrote in a letter to supporters and subscribers.

The gift comes at a key point. Artists Rep recently announced plans to sell the lower half of its complex to a developer who would build a 20-story housing and retail tower on the site, which lies between the I-405 freeway loop and the Providence Park soccer stadium in Southwest Portland, just south of West Burnside Street. The once sleepy neighborhood has become a real estate hot spot.

Artists Rep’s current show is the world premiere of E.M. Lewis’s “Magellanica,” set in Antarctica. From left: Vin Shambry, Sara Hennessy, Allen Nause, Michael Mendelson, John San Nicolas, Joshua Weinstein, Barbie Wu, Eric Pargac. Photo: Russell J Young

Artists Rep plans to go through with that sale, Rodríguez said in his letter. “This gift gives us the stability to examine and consider this project from all angles and make the best decisions for Artists Rep throughout the process,” he wrote.