I found out late last night that Ace Hotel group co-founder Alex Calderwood has died. The hotel put up a statement on its blog, which is as simple as they come:

Yesterday Alex Calderwood passed away.

Alex was our teacher, mentor, guru and most importantly our dear friend.

We will miss him.

Cause of death has not been officially disclosed, but there's talk that drug use may have been a factor (Calderwood, who was 45, was open about the fact that he'd struggled with drug abuse, including having spent time in rehab). I am not positive that I ever met Calderwood, but the Ace has certainly been an important force and source of support for the city's creative community, as it is/will be in Seattle, New York, L.A., Palm Springs, London, Panama, and wherever else it chooses to expand. It's always been so much more than a hotel, and I credit its arrival with turning an under-used corner of downtown Portland around, spurning along what's now a vibrant enough neighborhood to warrant a silly name like "the West End."

  • Patrick McMullan