Vista Ridge Tunnel Construction, 1969

The eastbound tunnel through Vista Ridge is complete and carrying traffic in this 1969 aerial photo. The westbound tunnel would be completed the following year. This is the city-side view, looking west.

A2004-001.1059  Vista tunnel under construction 1969(City of Portland Archives)

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20 Responses to “Vista Ridge Tunnel Construction, 1969”

  1. Dearl Says:

    I wonder what it was like for the people living in those houses while they were doing the blasting to make the tunnels.

  2. silvertonbobbie Says:

    I lived in a house above that tunnel on Mill St. Terrace it is to the right but not quite in the picture. My neighbors told me that while the blasting and other construction was going on they had a larger than average rat population in the area. This was just before I moved there.

  3. Laura Says:

    I can’t even imagine how traffic must’ve flown into the city without that tunnel. Then again, Beaverton must’ve been much smaller back then.

  4. Chuck Says:

    Beaverton was a lot smaller then. Maybe 10,000 people. One had to take the very congested highway that goes under ‘suicide bridge’ to get to Washington County & the beach.T he tunnels were a very welcome addition.

  5. Brian Says:

    Speaking of the Vista Tunnel, there’s an article today from the Oregonian on Oregonlive today that mentions the apparently now non-working antenna wire that used to provide radio reception in the tunnel. It seems nobody in ODOT knows much about it anymore and the author is asking for info from anyone who might know something about it. Also, there are a few more photos of the newly completed tunnel from both sides.

  6. Jared Says:

    People couldn’t live without radio reception for the 5 seconds it takes you to drive through the tunnel??

  7. Greg Says:

    Laura, I can remember in the early 50’s going to my grandparents farm in Reedville(Witch Hazel) which my dad had grown up on. It was fronted by TV Hwy. Once you got past the West Hills going west it was farmland. If the TV had not been settled and producing great quantities of grain the miners of the California Gold Rush would have starved to death. Old Canyon Road was built to haul the grain to the waterfront of Portland to be shipped out.

  8. Linda Raab Says:

    My G G grandfather settled in the Sylvan area (then called Mt. Zion) in 1872. He had a dairy and would take the milk into Portland every day by wagon down the corduroy planked Canyon Creek Rd. I remember traveling down Canyon road as a kid in the early 60’s to go to Beaver baseball games and with my dad when he took mom to work at St. V’s. Although building the tunnel and widening the highway in recent years has benefited many commuters, it totally destroyed the last bit of my family’s homestead after being there for four generations. I guess that’s the sacrifice a few make for the good of many… By the way, Dan, I commend you for all the hard work you put into this site and appreciate the enthusiasm with which you share our city’s rich history. Thank-you!

  9. Elliott Says:

    One thing about the tunnels that younger people and newer transplants might not know: Used to be as you were driving east thru the tunnels and coming out of the portal, there was a great view of Mt. Hood with the city spread out below.

    Then they built the KOIN Center which blocks the view. If it had been 10 stories shorter, the view would not have been blocked.

    This episode caused the city to implement height limits within certain view corridors. I think the first one implemented was of Mt. Hood from the Rose Test Garden. The height limits for this are what limit taller buildings through the north central part of downtown.

  10. Jill-O Says:

    I love what I learn from this site! Thanks Elliott for the info about height limits/view corridors and thanks Linda for mentioning corduroy roads (I had to Google it – uses logs instead of hewn planks)!

  11. Linda Raab Says:

    @ Jill-O, I second your sentiments about the amount of information/learning one gains from this site, especially the reminiscences from some of the “older” bloggers. I’ve learned more about this city than during my 52 years of living here! So, to any one who has shared their knowledge and/or experiences,Thank-you.

  12. Nativepdx Says:

    The tunnel was a big improvement to our commute across town or to the coast. The Banfield Freeway no longer ended at Union and Grand and we did not have to drive over to the Steel bridge then onto Harbor drive and work our way through downtown and under the Vista Bridge to the Sunset.

    http://tinyurl.com/7jw89z9

    http://tinyurl.com/k69y4j7

  13. rumblefish Says:

    Linda: Isn’t there a Raab Street up on the top of Sylvan? I know I’ve seen that up there somewhere.

  14. Jim Says:

    While not entirely relevant to the tunnels (or Portland, specifically), I thought the vintage and auto enthusiasts would find this article of interest. I certainly enjoyed it.

  15. Tad Says:

    I’m always amazed how few trees there are in these old photos…

  16. nativepdx Says:

    Jim, that was outstanding, thanks.

  17. Greg Says:

    Jim, I also enjoyed it. Goes to show how easily a person can be fooled visually.

  18. Linda Raab Says:

    rumblefish: Yes. Raab Rd. turns to the west off of Scholls Ferry Rd. at Sylvan. It was named after my family since we have lived there for so many years. It was part of the original Canyon Rd. which got cut into segments by the construction and straightening of the “new” Canyon Rd. There’s a stamp in the concrete of Raab Rd. dated Sept. 1915.

  19. doug Says:

    Thank for posting this. I clearly remember when the tunnels were built and this photo really takes me back to my childhood.

  20. Dwayne Says:

    Maybe an odd question, but is there a way to buy a print from the archives of this photo?

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