Portland Aerial View, 1963

Here’s a pretty aerial view of Southwest and Southeast Portland along the Willamette in 1963. The Marquam Bridge was still under construction and both banks of the river were generally much more industrialized than they are now. Lots of good detail to soak up in this beauty.

A2004-001.1012 Marquam bridge under construction 1963(City of Portland Archives)

17 thoughts on “Portland Aerial View, 1963

  1. No I-5 either. It would have been nice to have played this out without I-5 skimming the east bank and taking a different route away from the urban center.

  2. Wonderful view! I remember the gas storage tanks over at Powell and 11th, one of the hi lights of the drive from Westmoreland to Lloyd Center.

  3. Never knew there was an overpass in the Waterfront Bowl/Riverplace hotel area. Was that to access Harbor Drive?

  4. I remember those days well. I was 13 and just beginning my discovery of the hometown. I-5 was being built at the same time as the Marquam Bridge. It was referred to as the Minnesota Freeway.

  5. Everyone we knew, could not wait for the new I-5 to be finished, because it would change our trips through the congestion and stop and go traffic in downtown, to an open free flowing freeway.

    Once it opened, it lived up to what we expected.

  6. Yes, when they opened they were free flowing freeways, 70 mph to boot. Nowadays it is a lot of times faster to travel the old stop and go streets than the freeways. Used to make it regularly from 39th on ramp to the Columbia Blvd exit in less than 6 min, 75 all the way at 3:45 in the afternoon.. .

  7. From 3/25/63 until 10/1/63 I was employed as a day shift hostler by Sites Truck Line at the old East Portland Terminal shown here at the foot of the Hawthorne Br. If this photo was taken between those dates and between the hours of 0600 and 1700 my normal hours I’m in this photo and my pick-up is parked in the shade under the west bound ramp to the Hawthorne. I guess I should have waved.

  8. Great picture. Interesting to think that portions of the iconic Journal building and a tower could have been opened up and incorporated into the Waterfront Park, ie, a dry Saturday or Farmer’s Market place, Rose Festival functions, semi-outdoor concerts, and of course a rooftop microbrew…..

  9. @Greg: was the speed limit 70 all the way through at that time, or was it still 50 in places like the bridge and the curves?

  10. Tad, you know I can’t exactly remember. I want to say the Marquam Bridge was 60 and the later Fremont Bridge was too. The Terwilliger curves were 70 as was the Tigard exit curves. We drove a lot faster in those days, I one time was in Seaside at 4pm and pulled up and parked at work on 39th & Tillamook. Regulary used to make it to my folks beach house in Lincoln City from the house on 31st & Siskyou in 105-110 min, rolling on the flats from Macminville to Sheridan at 100-110 mph in my 63 Rambler Classic or my Dad’s 1965 Rambler Ambassador. Last time I went that way it took me over 2 1\2 hrs. In the days before air conditioning when it got too hot in Portland we would regularly go to the beach house to spend the night and then drive back to Portland in time for my dad to go to work in almost the same amount of time it used to take me drive from work in Hillsboro to home in Portlland in the late 90’s. it was a different world back then.

  11. See just before the Gateway Fred Meyers exit, heading east before I-205 was built.

    Motorists Were Stopped by the State Police When They Exceeded the 55 Mile an Hour Limit on Highways Which Had a Previous Limit of 70. The Action Was Done to Conserve Fuel During the Crisis in the Pacific Northeast. This Is on 80 N East of Portland 12/1973

    Original Caption: Motorists Were Stopped by the State Police When They Exceeded the 55 Mile an Hour Limit on Highways Which Had a Previous Limit of 70. The Action Was Done to Conserve Fuel During the Crisis in the Pacific Northeast. This Is on 80 N East of Portland

  12. My comments refer to the time before this. I remember my dad driving his old 50 Ford 85 on old hwy 99 in the mid 50’s.

  13. Where were the gas storage tanks at 11th and Powell? I assume they were North of Powell. We’ve seen a shot of the DMV emissions station on the NW corner recently, and I don’t remember the tanks in that shot. Were they further West?

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