Oregon Journal Building Demolition, 1969

VP fan Jim D. sent this photo of the 1933 Portland Public Market/Oregon Journal building being demolished in 1969. The building sat between Front Avenue and Harbor Drive, stretching between SW Morrison and Salmon Streets. Thanks Jim!

(Jim D.)

25 thoughts on “Oregon Journal Building Demolition, 1969

  1. Alot of strange things going on in this photo. The antlers and bathtub on wheels. Cars parked right next to the building as its tower is knocked down, or torn off. And on the top of the tower being torn down, why is the Journal lettering backwards, starting from right with J, then O. So folks could read it in their rearview mirrors while driving south on Harbor?

  2. Tomk, the lettering on the top of the tower being torn down said “KPOJ” — the radio station call sign for AM 1330 which used to stand for Portland Oregon Journal. KPOJ become KUPL in the 70’s according to Wikipedia (the current KPOJ used to be KGW)

    You can see the the sign in this earlier VP post.

  3. Bathtub is a strange one for sure.

    Its kind of funny. I heard some talk a few months back about trying to do a public/farmers market that was covered between the morrison and hawthorne bridges, and that’s what the Journal building originally was

    What’s even more interesting is seeing the streetcar lines going in at Broadway and Larabee and continuing up Broadway.

    Portland comes up with a good idea in the early part of the 20th century, we destroy it in the late part, and lo-and-behold were rebuilding it in the early part of the 21st century.

  4. It is kind of sad we are talking about putting in a new farmers market, mostly subsidized by the taxpayers, because the supporters of the farmers market would never pay what it really costs to build it. It is also a big mistake to be rebuilding all the streetcars lines, for the same reason.

    The old streetcar lines were abandoned because they were going broke and the automobile provided door to door service that most people preferred.

  5. Yes but now our dense city with its purposely small blocks can’t handle all the car traffic from our explosive population growth. Paying for more streetcar lines means slowing the growth of the amount of cars on the road, especially during rush hour. This keeps the streets safer and allows us to keep the walkable / bikeable charm of our city. I am more than happy to help pay for that. If we didn’t, we’d have to widen roads and highways and we’d end up with lots of Harbor Drives.
    I’ve lived in the South, they can keep that sort of sprawl. I’d rather have transit options.

  6. PS, this also affects the city’s friendliness and sense of community because we have the opportunity to interact with our neighbors while we are traveling. We aren’t boxed up by ourselves in our cars while we are going from door to door.
    It also makes it easier for small businesses to survive because people move around the city more while catching public transit, they don’t have to make special trips to go to niche places.
    Transit is about more than just getting from place to place.

  7. Chris freeman is thinking, however, with the California sprawl is hitting Portland, it’s hard to predict traffic. I remember when I started driving, how I-5 wouldn’t be jammed real bad, even in peak hours. Many have gone to bikes or mass transit. I often wondered why Bud Clark picked MAX, verses a subway system, servicing both East Portland and the Downtown area. NYC worked well with tunnels, both for traffic and the subway system, but maybe at the time the cost would have been prohibitive, as we people here in Oregon are sort of the “rebels” of the west coast.

    *Sigh* all that being said, we need to find a system to where people can commute, without serious hold ups.

  8. I’m going to guess that the bathtub is from a bathtub race,
    something that was not that unusual in the sixties.
    and I wonder if the antlers are from a tavern.
    …just guessing.

  9. @Chris Freeman,
    you say “Transit is about more than just getting from place to place” and imply that folks would just love to ride the trains and buses while chatting with each other. My only question to you is, have you ever actually been on a train or bus ANYWHERE?! That particular utopian fantasy is simply that, and bears no relation to how humans actually interact when randomly thrown together.
    Sorry to get so off-topic, but that argument-for-community always strikes me as ,uh, unrealistic I guess. Communities exist because people WANT to be together, not because government builds outdated infrastructure with money taken from individuals (who make up communities) through taxes. Just sayin…

  10. Brian,

    Community is there, you just have to be a part of it. Smiling, waving and talking with people. That is what Portland has. If you chose to be closed off, don’t blame the community.

  11. I personally get on mass transit quit a bit for no reason. Just to travel around the city and talk.

  12. We have traffic problems in the city because of the density mandates. The more people you add to a small area the higher the congestion you will have in that area. Transit and bike market share is growing at the same rate as auto use, but their are a lot more autos.

    I have lived here for many decades and was a full time bike rider for many years long before it was the thing to do. It was much easier to get around Portland when the city had lower densities and less congestion. I remember when we did not have I-5, I 205, I-405 the Mt Hood freeway and I 84 ended at Grand.


    We only live on less than 3% of the state of Oregon when you add up all the streets, houses, building and cities.

    Sprawl is a myth made up by the density planners contractors, developers and rail supporters that want taxpayer subsidies for their projects.

    But their promises of livability ( whatever that is) does not reflect reality.

  13. A 1968 item in The Oregonian referenced the “Red Balloon” art gallery and studio at 1023 SW Front. That’s probably the partial sign on the far left. There was a plumbing and electrical supply shop next door at 1017 SW Front for a number of years; that could account for the bathtub display on the sidewalk.

  14. Dan, Thanks for bringing this thread back to the ground (or sidewalk in this case)! Great, but sad photo of another Portland landmark I miss….

  15. I have nothing against trolley lines. When I was a child, you could go, then, any place a bus goes now. They were electric, and cleaner but they had the same problem that buses have now, you can’t get here from thereness”” and some places you can’t get at all. Not to mention trying to travel with a weeks shopping on a bus or train along with two or three kids. Or lugging the dog to the vet. I DO wish we had the public market back. I live in east county and they have Saturday markets but you have to go to them on Sat and you have to go in the 4 or 5 hours they are open. Here we are, a west coast city, on a major river, only 100 miles from the ocean, a major port, and we cannot get 1/2 the things you find in Seattle or San Francisco. Why not? You ever try to buy any fish other than the 5 or 6 kinds that are in every store we have?

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  18. Why would there be cars parked right there at the side of the building that is being demolished? That is the first thing I noticed when I seen the picture. Something is ‘off’ about that.

  19. I was nine when my Grandfather’s company Atlas Building wreckers demolished this building, my mom took us out of school that day so we could watch the tower come down, the cars parked on the street appear closer than they actually were. also the tower ended up on the roof and not on the ground below as it appears in the photo.

  20. A family member was a part of this job, Pat Lowe, and the company Atlas Building Wreckers had set aside that tub apparently for salvageable purposes. Bricks, timbers, windows, scrap metal and really anything salvaged on demolition jobs is recycled or repurposed to make profit. That is why demolition teams bid on a building, they are estimating the lowest amount they would need to buy the building for them to be able to make a profit of the scrap metal and salvaged items

    . With a line of demolition workers in my family, things like that bathtub, fancy crown molding, fancy brick, outside decorative pillars have always been brought home to decorate our own place. My mom hated it, but it was always so cool to see what my dad would bring home. Also my dad is in the comments, John, and was there when he was 9. Dad, was this what started your interest in demolition? So cool!

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