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Paris Theatre, formerly Third Avenue Theatre and also known as Paris Theater or Ray's Paris Theatre,[1] is an historic building in Portland, Oregon's Old Town Chinatown neighborhood, in the United States. The theatre was constructed in 1890 and opened as a burlesque house. It was later converted to a cinema, then a club and music venue, before serving as an adult movie theater until 2016. The building is now a live venue and nightclub.

Paris Theatre
Paris Theatre (8732863425).jpg
The theater's front exterior in 2013
Paris Theatre is located in Portland, Oregon
Paris Theatre
Paris Theatre
Location in Portland, Oregon
Former namesThird Avenue Theatre
Address6 Southwest Third Avenue
LocationPortland, Oregon, United States
Coordinates45°31′22″N 122°40′24″W / 45.52288°N 122.67320°W / 45.52288; -122.67320Coordinates: 45°31′22″N 122°40′24″W / 45.52288°N 122.67320°W / 45.52288; -122.67320
  • Chris Lenahan
  • Michael Sun
  • Brad McCray
Opened1890 (1890)



Paris Theatre, located at 6 Southwest Third Avenue at the intersection of Third and West Burnside Street in downtown Portland's Old Town Chinatown neighborhood, operates as a venue and nightclub.[2] The building was completed in 1890 and opened as a burlesque house under the name Third Avenue Theatre.[3]

The venue was later renamed Paris Theatre and converted to a movie cinema. It was listed in Film Daily from at least 1941 to 1950. The cinema screened the 1972 pornographic film Deep Throat for four years.[3]

By 2003, the building served as a nightclub and music venue.[3]

Adult movie theaterEdit

The theater and adjacent storefronts at Southwest Third Avenue and West Burnside Street in 2014

In 2007, Ray Billings, owner of Jefferson Theatre, closed that venue and relocated his adult movie theater operation to the Paris.[1][3][4]

Cinema Treasures said the building's exterior featured a red marquee with "Theatre" written vertically and "Paris" appearing horizontally across the bottom. An additional four-panel marquee was displayed above the front entrance. The theater screened heterosexual adult films on one large screen and gay pornography on a smaller screen.[3] It featured a stage where guests could engage in sexual activities in front of a crowd, along with a "perky exam table" and a "voyeuristic bedroom".[1] The venue was open 24 hours to patrons age 18 or older; as of 2007, entry cost $8.[5]

In 2007, Willamette Week included the Paris in its list of Portland sites "Where Ghosts Wouldn't Be Caught Dead". The paper said of the venue, "Unfortunately, the Paris Theater ... hosts a bunch of winos, users and sleazy old guys the same age as your dad (or granddad), with their pants around their ankles and greasy cum rags in hand. A deformed zombie may be slightly more grotesque, but at least he won't flash you."[5] In 2013, the same publication provided the following description of the theater and its clientele:

Despite the many couples offerings, a recent visit finds a smattering of middle-aged men watching a massive projection of tattooed teenage girls being sloppily choked and slapped in the face. The men in the seats have their pants on and look nervous. The men standing in the aisles do not have their pants on, and look very comfortable. As you enter, all faces—translucent in the pale pink flicker of the theater—look away from the interlocking figures on the screen and gaze hopefully, instead, on you. Perhaps you will be something new. Perhaps you will be interesting.[1]

In 2016, Willamette Week referred to the Paris as "an adult movie theater, sex club and safe space for public masturbators", and a "shining beacon to furtive men hiding their faces from the Voodoo Doughnut line".[2]

Current useEdit

The Paris was an adult movie theater until 2016, when new owners Chris Lenahan, Michael Sun, and Brad McCray converted the space into a live venue and nightclub. Their plan is to host weekend dance parties and return the venue to its old appearance, which includes front exterior improvements and returning the marquee.[2] As of June 2016, the gay theater and dungeons were removed to open up the space, and a new bar was under construction. The projection room was being converted to a sound booth and seating was put into storage.[2]

The Paris Theatre was completely remodeled in 2016, when new owners Chris Lenahan, Michael Sun, and Brad McCray converted the space into a live venue and nightclub. The improvements to the theatre included the installation of a state of the art sound and lighting system, a twenty-three foot P2.5 LED Wall that serves as a movie screen for films and live television, brand new seating/flooring and a new outdoor patio. The Paris regularly hosts dance parties, live music acts (local and touring), stand up comedy, independent movie viewings, live sports games, wedding receptions, company parties and private events. The owners also returned the venue to its old appearance: which includes front exterior improvements, as well as refurbishing the historical marquee and Paris Theatre sign.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Korfhage, Matthew (July 3, 2013). "Capture or Asylum". Willamette Week. Portland, Oregon: City of Roses Newspapers. Archived from the original on July 6, 2013. Retrieved February 14, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Korfhage, Matthew (June 15, 2016). "Paris Theatre Pornhouse and Sex Club Will Become New Live Venue and Nightclub". Willamette Week. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Paris Theatre". Cinema Treasures. Retrieved February 14, 2015.
  4. ^ Jaquiss, Nigel (May 9, 2007). "Raw deal: The city is paying millions to get out of the porn business". Willamette Week. Portland, Oregon: City of Roses Newspapers. Retrieved February 14, 2015.
  5. ^ a b O'Connor, Michael (October 31, 2007). "Where Ghosts Wouldn't Be Caught Dead". Willamette Week. Portland, Oregon: City of Roses Newspapers. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
  6. ^[unreliable source?]

External linksEdit