Downtown and Riverfront Aerial, 1974

The area between SW Front and the river is undergoing massive changes in 1974 with the removal of Harbor Drive, construction of Tom McCall Waterfront Park and the eventual development of the Riverplace area in the lower right. A few more highrise buildings will sprout downtown in the coming years.

(City of Portland Archives)

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11 Responses to “Downtown and Riverfront Aerial, 1974”

  1. NativePDX Says:

    The removal of Harbor drive was only possible because of the construction of I-5 and I-405 and the Fremont and Marquam bridges.

    I always get a kick out of people telling me how great it was to remove Harbor drive to build a park, while Ignoring I-405 and I-5!

  2. Jim Says:

    The original plan was to keep Harbor Drive and build the Mt. Hood Freeway in addition to the I-5 and I-405. A nice summary of Portland freeway history can be found here:

    http://www.preservenet.com/freeways/FreewaysHarbor.html

    The article’s best quote (IMO) is from Portland traffic engineer, Don Bergstrom: “They closed Harbor Drive today and there wasn’t a ripple.”

  3. NativePDX Says:

    I’m a bit confused by this quote in the link you provided

    “Retail business in downtown also declined drastically after the Lloyd Center (a suburban-style shopping mall in a neighborhood just a few miles from downtown) opened in 1960, and business kept declining as more malls opened in suburban Washington and Clackamas counties. Downtown had few restaurants or events that attracted people to downtown in the evening.”

    I wonder where they were measuring from, because Lloyd Center has always been next to or near downtown. I love how mall are to blame when most of them just provided what shoppers wanted. Easy parking and close to where the shoppers wanted to shop because the population had moved the the burbs.

    While downtown Portland made parking more difficult and traffic was often pretty bad.

    Why drive 7 miles to downtown, when a mall may be only 3 or 4 miles away, with plenty of parking and easy access.

  4. Jim K Says:

    NativePDX-Here’s a little something that I sent to Vintage Portland back in October of 2010…maybe it’ll help a bit:

    Back in 1960, Lloyd Center was considered way out of town…imagine that…waaaaay out of town…too far to drive,

    But I can remember all the hub-bub about the Lloyd Center and how we were the first ones in the country to build anything like it, and how crazy everybody thought we all were… putting all those stores together like that, way out here in a state people STILL can’t pronounce right! Yeah…well, they didn’t laugh long, did they?

    Okay, it may have been a bit cold in the winter time, but so was downtown, so that excuse didn’t really last very long. As we used to say-That excuse didn’t hold water! Then they came up with that great slogan: “It Never Rains at the Lloyd Center!”

    It was also the concept of free parking that attracted a lot of people…no meter maids…and you could stay as long as you wanted, shop as long as you wanted and didn’t have to worry about your car…well…you kinda had to remember WHERE you parked your car! (Was it inside or outside, main level or underground and how on earth did I get myself to the inside of the mall in the first place?! And now, how do I get out?) Oh well, if you forgot, it was still fun…I learned a whole lot of new swear words from my mother there, looking for our car! She denies every @$*+!*ng word!

    Still, a lot of good memories…it also makes for a great game…how many stores can you name and where were they located? And I ALWAYS forget that it was Nordstrom BEST, but I usually get ‘em by remembering places like Aden & Josi and Leed’s. Aden & Josi was THE place for guys to shop for clothes and Leed’s was #1 for women’s shoes, and that was next to the Lerner’s Shop.

    Still, like I said…a lot of good memories…and a lot of trips to Morrow’s!

    Jim K
    Portland

    (The mall opened August 1, 1960 in its original 100-store, open-aired configuration.)

  5. Roxanne Says:

    I seem to remember that Lloyd Center had an automat (food place) near the basement section of either Penny’s or Meier & Frank? that my great aunt took me to. I remember being impressed by the beautiful (to me) bowls of jewel like Jell-O cubes and slices of pie behind little sliding glass doors. I don’t know how long it was there but would have been not long after it was built? Or maybe it was someplace else and I am just confused. I know my father used to buy all his tobacco from Leonard’s Pipe Shop. And I ate at the restaurant that was at the west end of the skating rink, was a sort of balcony style inside and you could sit on the upper portion and see the skating rink while you ate. And they had cool Christmas stuff. One year they had actual reindeer in a little pen located on the east end of the skating rink on the street level floor. I remember also the air shafts that ran up from the underground parking and were designed to look like pools, with cast metal herons or cranes and lilly pads, etc, but if you looked down into the “water” it was just an open grid where air gooshed up from below (and smelled like exhaust). I have some photos of LC under construction (from the upper floor of a bldg) and in the background, you can see the sort of Russian looking turret on the house from previous posts that was over on 15th, the Marcus Delahunt mansion.

  6. Roxanne Says:

    Some place in that construction are in the lower right of the photo, there was a Federal Prison bldg that was there until the 1970’s. It was built about the Civil War area and stopped being used as a prison when they built OSP down south in the 1890’s or something like that, but very few people know there was a federal prison right “downtown” at one time.

  7. Roxanne Says:

    “The construction of the Territorial Prison was plagued with problems and escaping prisoners. Construction of the prison began in January of 1854. One of the major problems of the Portland site was that two lots of land had been purchased for the prison, but they were on opposite sides of Front Street. The City of Portland refused to close or reroute that portion of Front Street. The Portland site was abandoned in 1866 and all prisoners were moved to the new prison in Salem.”

    http://www.oregon.gov/DOC/OPS/PRISON/osp_history2.shtml

  8. Douge Martin Says:

    Anyone ever wondered why the streetcar line going up from Riverplace climbs up over a hump then goes down again to the Harrison stop? It’s because of the underpass under Harbor Drive, that you can see just above the trees in this photo. That underpass is still buried under there, and the streetcar line has to climb over it. It reappeared briefly while they were constructing the streetcar line down into the South Waterfront.

  9. nativePDX Says:

    Jim K

    I was very young when Lloyd Center was built, but sense we lived, way out past 82nd and Portland ended around 82nd. We considered a trip to Lloyd Center or down town a trip to Portland.

    It was about a 6 or 7 minute trip to down town then on I-84. I’m still not sure why that would be considered miles out of town.

    The great thing about the Lloyd center then, is traffic was nonexistent. Unlike today. I also recall if it was not around Christmas, parking was pretty good and you could often pull up next to where you wanted to be.

    My favorite place was watching the donuts being made near the ice ring and the toy and hobby store. Some times I would be allowed to buy a doughnut, and eat it too!

  10. Junior Says:

    My old apartment is in the bottom right corner of this picture (031 SW Caruthers St. Apt. E) the building is gone now, but that was a great building while it lasted. I wish I had more photos and history of the place! It’s the sixth building in from the bottom right corner, next to what is now Front Ave./Naito Parkway.

  11. Kirk J. Poole ("Since '62!") Says:

    They didn’t waste any time tearing up the asphalt, did they? I suspect this is more like ’75 or ’76.

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