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Friday, July 14, 2006

Death of a landmark

An alert reader notes that the old Corno's Market on SE MLK has come down to make way for progress -- first a big hole in the ground for the Big Pipe extension, and then no doubt some nice condos for saps from California. No, wait -- I mean "mixed use" development: small condos, medium-sized condos, big condos and a Starbucks.

Anyway, here are one "before" and two "after" shots that she sends along:

Nothing much was happening on that property for many years now, but I'll still miss it. It was left to rot purposely, in another example of demolition by neglect. The soul of the central east side is now clearly up for grabs.

Comments (1)

Probably be a new MAX station...with some "art" and a Starbucks no doubt.

Posted by: Jon at July 14, 2006 07:50 AM

Sigh. That'll be missed.

Posted by: Alan DeWitt at July 14, 2006 08:35 AM

The title "Death of a Landmark" is actually off a bit. That "Landmark" has been dead quite a while now (as you point out). More appropo would have been "Plug finally pulled on Brain Dead Landmark".

Maybe, instead of a Starbucks underneath the CondoVilla, we could have an upscale, yuppyfied Organic Produce Market, where those condo-dwelling Vegan-DINKs could buy their Organic veggies at $5 each? On the windows we could have colorful pictures of produce that matches the old style look, only new and improved.

Now, THAT is Progress for the Progressives.

Posted by: Harry at July 14, 2006 09:33 AM

The building was interesting, but that Belmont/MLK area is like skid row at night. I wouldn't mind central eastside redevelopment but the city always gets ripped off.

Part of it is just incompetent well-intentioned people negotiating big deals. Another part is simple public looting where city employees negotiate sweethart deals with developers in exchange for higher paying jobs working for the same developers.

Portland can probably afford this dynamic, but it's sad to think of how much better the city could be with more effective government.

Posted by: same ol same ol at July 14, 2006 09:51 AM

Don't forget though that the great thing about Cornos was buying the produce conveniently on your way out of downtown. You still have that a block away at that other grocer supply place (I think its Sheridan Fruit).

I'm not going to miss the business, just the sign and the convenience.

Posted by: DarePDX at July 14, 2006 02:29 PM

Sam the Tram will have Sheridan Fruit on the run pretty soon. The handwriting is on the wall.

Posted by: Jack Bog at July 14, 2006 02:52 PM

"I'm not going to miss the business, just the sign and the convenience"
I sure will miss the Cornos sign but not the store. Corno's was very popular back in the 70's (Katherine Hepburn shopped there once I heard) and I think the popularity went to the owners head. I remember going in there once back in the 70's to ask for some boxes for moving and he wanted to charge me for them! After that I only went to Sheridan Fruit and I was glad they survived long enough for Corno's to go under. Back in the 70's Produce Row was a hippie version of the Pearl as I remember it. A homegrown form of urban renewal that attracted new businesses but without losing the old neighborhood utilizing old warehouse space for the wonderful Euphoria Tavern which had some great live music and a big space for dancing. I heard John Fahey play there once, and I heard a rumor that Linda Ronstadt once went there after giving a concert at the Memorial Coliseum and got up to sing. You could eat at the Produce Row cafe which had lots of beers on tap and a wonderful salt water aquarium. There was once a lot of places like that around town.

Posted by: tom at July 14, 2006 03:01 PM

Nowadays: Starbucks, Urban Outfitters, and Clarklewis. Yuck.

Posted by: Jack Bog at July 14, 2006 03:06 PM

i don;t remember euphoria (before my time?) but I aways loved Parchman Farms on SE 12th, just south of Hawthorne. What a great place for live jazz, and gone now....

Posted by: Lily at July 14, 2006 11:49 PM

I was John Corno's data processing manager back in 1984. He put in the second IBM system/36 that was installed in Portland. It was cutting edge back then. In addition to the store, there was a huge basement which included cold storage, salad prep rooms and fruit basket assembly rooms. In the middle of the whole thing Corno had built himself a luxury apartment... that's right.. in the middle of the basement. It was top cabin, like everything else John did. When you were in it you wouldn't have imagined you were in a basement below a grocery store.

Posted by: Dave Lister at July 17, 2006 02:06 PM

[Posted as indicated; restored later.]

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