Today’s photograph was taken at the intersection of Union Ave (MLK) and Washington St. The men in the middle of the intersection are repairing the sewer. In the background you can see “H. Smith Produce,” and “Whitely and Clark Co.” stores.
Looking west on SW Washington through its intersection with 3rd Avenue, we can see that streetcar and horse traffic were the main (or maybe only) modes of transportation in downtown Portland in 1910. The Dekum and Spalding Buildings straddle Washington in the foreground, while the Perkins Hotel at 5th Avenue can be identified by its pyramidal roof.
The 1870 Corbett Building was the first fully cast-iron fronted building in the city. It was also the only building to have its cast-iron pieces come from Baltimore, shipped around Cape Horn. Demolished two years after this photo, it was on SW 1st Avenue between Alder and Washington.
SW 5th Avenue was very busy place where it crossed Washington Street in this 1949 photo. Pedestrians, autos, buses and streetcars all vie for space. Other than the wooden “no left turn” sign in the middle of the intersection, there don’t appear to be any traffic controls. Both streets were two-way at the time, further complicating things.
Near-completion of the Spalding Building at SW 3rd and Washington is a reason to highlight Portland real estate in The Oregonian in 1910. The illustration of the “heart of the New Portland” gives a terrific snapshot of the makeup of downtown at that time.
(The Oregonian. Retrieved from http://infoweb.newsbank.com)