The Hillsboro-based Hindu Educational and Cultural Society of America hopes to break ground on an authentic Indian temple outside North Plains as soon as March or April, the nonprofit’s founder said Monday.
The organization runs the Portland Balaji Temple, which currently rents space on Northwest Aloclek Drive in the Cornelius Pass Business Park.
Washington County officials confirmed that in a sale recorded in January, the organization bought land on Glencoe Road just south of its intersection with the Sunset Highway. The listed sale price was $1,050,000, but Sundarrajan Rajagopal, the temple’s founder, said the organization paid a total of $1.3 million.
The seller was listed as the “Gary W. Collins Living Trust.”
“We raised the funds with our community people,” Rajagopal said. “And a lot of the community people have come forward and tried to help us…because they know the temple is going good.”
The 11.5-acre property lies next to a gas station, and a small house that used to be there is now gone, Rajagopal said. Construction of the new facilities will occur over multiple phases, he added.
The organization first hopes to build a “community hall” of at least 10,000 square feet. The authentic Indian-style temple, which could measure as large as 15,000 square feet, would come later.
“They’ll make it very big,” Rajagopal said. The temple’s current location is sometimes cramped for its congregation of over 1,000 people from all across the Portland area and beyond. Many, Rajagopal said, are employees at nearby Washington County businesses like Intel and Nike.
But it’s not only Indians that the temple hopes to serve.
“We are inviting all community people who want to learn about Hinduism,” Rajagopal said. He added that the organization also wants to “build for the homeless people.”
“We want to support them to stay the night,” he said. “We have a plan for that, also. We want to help the community.”
The temple, founded in 2010, recently hosted more than 200 people for a Diwali celebration. Washington County is also home to Beaverton-based India International Church, which is primarily composed of Indian immigrants of various Christian faiths.
— Luke Hammill