This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 28, 2004 2:31 PM. The previous post in this blog was Mission Accomplished II. The next post in this blog is How to eliminate a hornet's nest. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Monday, June 28, 2004

The way we were

If you're like me, and you like old photos of Portland, head on over to this site and click around. A fellow by the name of Thomas Robinson has got some interesting images, like the one above, looking north along the Willamette River waterfront from well south of the Morrison Bridge.

I think the photo was meant to show that there was a flood, but check out what Naito Parkway (Front Avenue) looked like before it was ripped out for Tom McCall Park!

Comments (13)

So then are you excited about urban renewal now Jack? Or are you waxing nostalgic for days when we focused on building roads rather than improved livability?


Jack, the street in the foreground is actually SW Harbor Drive. It is the one that was taken out to make way for Waterfront Park. Before that, SW Front Avenue was a relatively minor street. Front was widened to pick up some of the slack from Harbor Drive, and some of the rest of the traffic went to the Stadium Freeway (I-405).

I'm guessing this picture was from the flood of 1964, as it had to have been taken after the New Morrison Bridge was built in 1958 and before Harbor Drive was removed in 1974. (The city council first called for closing Harbor Drive in November 1971, when Terry Schrunk was mayor, but it didn't get closed until Goldschmidt was in office.)

Note the Oregon Journal building in the left, with the call letters of its affiliated radio station, KPOJ, on the tower. The "POJ" stood for Portland Oregon Journal. The station later went to separate ownership and became KPOK, 1330 AM. It's morphed once or twice since then.

Ernie Bonner posted two photos of the area, one showing the spaghetti of ramps that connected Harbor Drive to downtown, and another showing the Journal Building when it was the Public Market Building in the 1930s. They're at http://www.pdxplan.org/photos.html.

Actually, the "urban renewal" freaks at City Hall are about to screw up Tom McCall Park. It won't be as bad as this picture, but it will be a letdown from the beautiful, long expanses of green grass that we have now.

It would be interesting to see how the conversion of Front Avenue was financed.

BTW, behemoth condo towers and aerial trams to the West Hills don't do jack for my livability...

Isaac, that Bonner site is swell. Is someone going to preserve it now that he's gone?

i think waterfront park is ok now but it could be easily improved with some cleaning and by simply keeping all these obnoxious carnivals off of it so the grass doesn't get killed every summer.

I don't know what's going to happen to Ernie's site. My guess is that his wife or others interested in planning will keep it open, but that not much new material will get added to it. Ernie had done scores of interviews with Portland planning participants, but hadn't transcribed all of them, so he had a lot of material that he had planned to put up on the site, but that isn't there yet, and may never be.

If someone else isn't going to preserve that site, a group of us ought to.

See this Communique item regarding related information about preserving Bonner's legacy.

Also, for what it's worth although City COuncil okayed the design report for changes to Waterfront Park, I don't believe it's anything close to a done deal. Since it's all at a very preliminary stage, the changes have not yet gotten much attention, but they will if and when it comes time to actually pursue them, and I don't think they will go over very well.

Or at least opposition to them will be one of the things I will once again foist upon my readership when the subject comes up again.

I'm in for helping to preserve Ernie's site. I had a modest involvement in planning in the 1980s and a little connection to the field when Ernie was active, and would like to see his work remembered.

The best bet for tackling such a thing would be to see what Chet Orlof knows about what is or isn't planned for that website. Also, at the tail end of The Oregonian article I reference in the link I offered above, there is this:

The family says a memorial service will be held in a few weeks. Donations to continue Metro 7, Bonner's nonprofit umbrella for his Portland history project, will be accepted.

So I suspect that perhaps the website is going to be maintained through that nonprofit.

The ghost of the Mt. Tabor trolly lives on - IN THE TRAM PLAN :0

If we're good, maybe we'll get a trolly on the eastside.

I also agree with the first commenter that these pictures illustrate how badly Portland used to suck, and how much cooler we are with condo buildings and light rail.

That's Harbor Drive.
Front Avenue (Naito Pkwy) was just to the West (on the other side of the Journal Bldg.).


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The way we were:

» Into The Photographic Wayback Machine from The One True b!X's PORTLAND COMMUNIQUE
Synchronicity is a wonderful thing. Earlier today, Jack Bogdanski posted a reference to a collection of historical photographs of Portland. On the photographic site itself, you can find the various Portland pages by going to this page and scrolling dow... [Read More]

Clicky Web Analytics