Law Firm Miller & Wagner Has Deep Roots in Oregon

The House that Whidden & Lewis Built

Office at Miller Wagner

The Joseph Sladen house, which Miller & Wagner currently operates out of, was designed by the prominent Portland architectural firm, Whidden & Lewis. It was originally built for Major Joseph Sladen in the late 1800s.

Whidden & Lewis designed a number of notable houses and commercial buildings that are on the National Register of Historic Places listing in Portland. The firm designed the Multnomah County Courthouse, Portland City Hall, the Wilcox Building, and the William & Annie MacMaster House, among others.

The Joseph Sladen Story

Sladen served as a Major in the Union Army. He received a Civil War Congressional Medal of Honor as a Private in the 33rd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry for Action in 1864. As stated in Making Peace with Cochise: The 1872 Journal of Captain Joseph Alton Sladen, he “voluntarily engaged in action at a critical moment and [his] personal example inspired the troops to repel the enemy.”

Sladen was Aide de Camp to General Oliver O. Howard during the Civil War. General Howard’s soldiers fought in the battles of Bull Run and Gettysburg, where Sladen was awarded the Medal of Honor for his involvement. As one of the founders of Howard University and the Freedman Society for the benefit of former slaves, Howard was later considered to be an activist for African Americans.

After the Civil War, President Ulysses S. Grant sent General Howard to find and make peace with Cochise, an Apache war chief who was attacking settlers throughout what is now the Southwestern United States. Sladen was recalled to active duty to accompany Howard on his search. They were led by a local guide with a small group of soldiers through the outback of Arizona. They located Cochise’s secret camp and persuaded him to move his followers to a reservation. Both Sladen and Howard wrote memoirs about the journey.

Finding Home in Oregon

Sladen moved to the Willamette Valley from the Midwest later in life to become the first Clerk of the Federal Courthouse in Downtown Portland, which is now known as the Pioneer Courthouse.

Whidden & Lewis built his house on NW Flanders Street in 1893. Sladen’s descendants thought the house in Northwest Portland had been razed until local history tour leaders Mike Ryerson and Tanya March discovered that only the street address was changed in 1930.

Miller & Wagner Celebrates its Roots

Miller & Wagner currently displays several digitized historic photos of the Sladen house as well as those of his family. The photos show the Sladen family in the dining room, on the front porch, and in the garden. The law firm also has an 1872 photo of Major Sladen in the U.S. Cavalry uniform he wore on the search for Cochise.

With decades in the field, Dave Miller and Bob Wagner have more medical malpractice litigation experience than any other Oregon law firm representing injured patients. As defense attorneys, they were hired by almost every medical malpractice insurance company in the area. They focus on representing patients in medical negligence cases and take pride in working with residents in both Oregon and Washington. Miller & Wagner currently has two locations in Oregon including the Joseph Sladen house and an office in Pacific City.