Eastbank Freeway Construction, 1962

This nifty aerial view shows the I-5 Eastbank Freeway construction through inner North  and Northeast Portland in 1962. In the upper right corner are NE Weidler and Broadway going east-west and Vancouver Avenue snaking across the construction on a temporary overpass. This view is to the southeast and another view of the same area can be seen here.

(City of Portland Archives)

16 thoughts on “Eastbank Freeway Construction, 1962

  1. I can remember as a kid watching them build the ‘Minnesota Freeway’. I thought it was going straight to Minnesota.

  2. Chuck…you’re not the only one who thought that…of course, I also wondered why they called it (or nicknamed it) 80-N and not 80-E…or even 80-W…after all, it WAS going East/West…NOT North/South!

  3. I-80N was a spur of the cross-continental I-80 that started at Salt Lake City and came to Portland. The main branch I-80 continued to San Francisco.

  4. Some of us like to think the main branch came to Portland and the spur actually went to San Francisco!

  5. Back before the Interstates were built and completed, driving from Chicago to Portland required the traveler to spend time driving US 20, US 26, and US 30 at certain times. Sometimes these routes “traveled together”. For short distances, one physical road shared 2 route designations before splitting apart and continuing on by itself. Current day if you went east on I-84 it would turn into I-80 in eastern Utah, and you would probably see some parts of i-80 marked both as i-80 and US 30. These are spots where the pre-interstate US 30 rides right under the interstate. The Banfield Expressway was named for T.H. Banfield, a former Oregon State Highway Commissioner. The ‘Banfield Expy” designation and “Minnesota Freeway” are local “nickname”s for part of I-84 and/or I-5. In the Chicago area certain parts of the interstates are named for former US Presidents, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan. All of these named highways are marked with their Interstate Highway numbers, I90, I-94, I-290 and I-88.

  6. When I was a kid, I always wondered why they changed it from the Banfield to I-84, I found it confusing and never thought it would catch on!

  7. I-80N meant the north branch of I-80 but the numbering convention changed in 1977 ( from Wikipedia) and discouraged highway numbers with directional suffixes like N. So it was changed to I-84 Even numbered interstate freeways run east-west odd numbered Interstates run north-south like I-5 . 3 numbered Interstates like I-205 and I-405 are bypass freeways of north-south running interstates for example I-205 is a bypass of I-5 . I believe the state of Oregon follows the same rules of odd numbers for N S and even numbers for E W like High 43 and Highway 99 and Highway 26.

  8. It was known locally as the Minnesota freeway because N Minnesota avenue was what was there before they dug the trench that they built I-5 in through North Portland at least for a good stretch of the freeway.

  9. NativePDX…

    I still say “Banfield” and I’m still guilty of saying “Union Avenue” but as far as “never catching on”, one name that NEVER caught on was The “Baldock” Freeway! For some reason, “Baldock” just faded away and I-5 South became the common reference name. I grew up listening to that never-ending noise of the I-5 South freeway being constructed and thought it would never end…and then, when it finally did, I got to hear the sound of freeway traffic 24 hours a day! Oy! It was literally, right outside my bedroom window! The cars were one thing, but because of the area known as “The Terwilliger Curves” the constant sound of trucks changing gears was really annoying, especially in the wee hours of the morning! And before anybody asks… Robert H. “Sam” Baldock, was an Oregon State Highway Engineer in the 30’s & 40’s. He was also a good friend of Thomas Banfield…both men were connected to the Oregon State Highway Commission way back when!

  10. The US 30 Bypass ( Lombard–Killingsworth– Portland Highway) and US 30 Business routes through Portland add to the confusion.

  11. I still call it the Banfield too and we lived next to it as a kid. Back then, it didn’t run 24/7 and you could easily walk across it all times of the day, because the traffic was a small fraction of what it is today. But so was the population and most everything east of 82nd was farms and open space.

    My grandmother would tell my Dad, “why do you want to live way out there, there is nothing out there”

    I also still use “The Paramont Theater”, I don’t think the new name will catch on, it just is not as classy.

  12. Wasn’t the theater called Portland before it was called Paramount?

    Funny how names like Banfield and Sunset stuck around but Baldock, Minnesota and Salem freeway (and Stadium?) didn’t. And who’s ever heard of the Veterans Memorial Freeway?

    I submitted a problem report to Google about the “US 30 in Nebraska” problem; they are aware of it but say it’s a difficult one to fix for some reason…

    @Robert – interesting link, thanks for posting it. I see they agree with me that the Flint Ave overpass is unnecessary… 🙂

  13. Some of the above comments inspired me to go to my files. In 1962 I was a young driver for Consolidated Freightways. CF was in no ways a charitable employer with very ridged work rules especially regarding routing and woe to the driver that strayed off route. We were payed by the mile.

    The earliest straight to Chicago trip I ever made for them was in March of ’62 and I kept the trip sheet. I had been to Chicago previously but this was a very rare straight shot. The trip sheet includes the routing and I will quote it exactly as it appears.


    For fulfilling the instructions, my co-driver and I received the munificent sum of $142.14 apiece. The one way trip payed 2197 miles plus 3.25 hrs work time and we clocked in in Chi 49.5 hrs out of PTL. Pretty good time, for those days, must have been a light load and decent weather.

    The “freeway” ended at Troutdale and that was all the 4 lane until Lincoln NE to Omaha city limits and then 2 lane to I55 in the Chicago burbs.

    The trip home featured “class A”, likely bombs, we picked up in Joliet and turned over to another carrier at Secoma WA destined for Bangor WA and the far east.

  14. I recall the building of the Gorge freeway and we could not wait to use it, instead of the Columbia river gorge highway. Sure it was pretty, but we were going to Baker to visit my uncle and grandparents. It was a long drive for a kid.

    As a kid, we often thought the car was going to fall off the road into the gorge.

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