The Echo Theatre opened in 1910 as a silent movie house. It was one of several businesses in The Frances Building, a two story brick commercial structure on the corner of 37th Ave. and Hawthorne Blvd., which is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
When "talkies" arrived at the newer Bagdad Theater across the street, it became a dance hall. From 1929 to 1954 Eastside Van and Store occupied the space. It then remained empty until 1969 when Plumbing & Electric Supply moved in for four years, followed by another plumbing supply company, Republic Enterprises.
In 1984 Do Jump Movement Theater acquired a long term lease on the space to serve as its resident studio and theater. During the next five years, with donated financial support from commissions, trusts and charitable foundations, and with the help of many volunteers, the theater underwent two major renovations. It is now a 3,000 square foot performance space with a weight bearing grid for lighting and aerial work, a computerized lighting system, a four channel sound system and a flexible seating system with an average capacity of 165.
In 1989 the Board of Directors decided to call this new performing arts center by its original 1910 name: The Echo Theatre. Today it serves the community in three capacities:
The Echo Theatre has become a primary alternative performance space in the greater Portland area. It is an activity magnet for the southeast community and residential district, and has built a diverse and dedicated following of art enthusiasts. Created in 1977, Do Jump has become the oldest living arts organization of its size in the city of Portland.