NE Union & Columbia, 1937

The Union Avenue streetcar tracks come to their northern limit at NE Columbia Blvd before turning west to Williams Avenue in this 1937 photo. It was a very auto-centric location; Gasco, Shell and Texaco on the three visible corners, and the competing Interstate and Portland auto camps just up the road.

(City of Portland Archives)

5 thoughts on “NE Union & Columbia, 1937

  1. I like the guys working on the car at the Shell station there… is that an attendant cleaning the inside of the car windshield? Just crazy. And their sign out front advertising car stereos and no credit investigation… I guess some things don’t change.

  2. Having a hard time orienting myself to this photo – we’re looking north on Union? Did 99E take a left onto Columbia in order to join up with 99W at that time? If so, how did the now-grade-separated Columbia and Denver meet?

    I’m guessing this was prior to the construction of that 99E expressway-thing through the Delta Park area.

  3. If I’m reading this photo correctly, the trolley tracks continue north after they dip downgrade to cross a lengthy trestle over the Columbia Bottoms on their way over to the Interstate Bridge and eventually to Vancouver.

    By the way, thanks for a great blog and the wonderful large format photos. You’ve settled many mysteries for this old Portlander.

  4. Gasco was a unique Portland Company. Gasco Motor Fuel was originally produced by Portland Gas & Coke company and was bought by Shell oil in 1929. They produced Benzol as a by-product of their gas production, which made a superior motor fuel at a price less than Ethyl gas. Important in the depression era economy! Many people who had great influence in the Northwest were involved in Gasco at one time, including Morrison -Knudsen and Henry J. Kaiser.

  5. Sean G wrote; “And their sign out front advertising car stereos and no credit investigation… I guess some things don’t change.”

    Oh what is our world coming to ? Car stereos were many many decades in the future.

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