Portland Aerial Panorama, 1965

Portland stretches out from the west side to Mt. Hood in the distance in this nice 1965 aerial photo. It was a dynamic time for the city; I-5 was under construction in Northeast and North Portland and Lloyd Center and the Memorial Coliseum were recently completed. On the west side, the South Auditorium Urban Renewal District had leveled South Portland but demolition had not yet begun for I-405. The Marquam Bridge piers take shape crossing the Willamette.

A2005-001.813 Portland aerial view of portion of region 1965(City of Portland Archives)

13 thoughts on “Portland Aerial Panorama, 1965

  1. I’m not sure 1965 is right here. In this previous post (with the date Nov. 1964 written on the photo) the Marquam is much further along than in the shot above, where only the piers have been completed.. Considering the bridge opened in 1966, I’d guess that by 1965 there would be much more of the superstructure and ramps built by 1965 which would argue that the other photo’s date of late 64 is much more realistic and likely to be correct than this one.

  2. An interesting snapshot of time, after the houses of the south auditorium urban renewal district had all been razed but before anything new had been constructed. I wonder what it would have been like to walk through that desolate landscape during this period of time. A foundation here and there, a scrap of picket fence and a few remaining 100 year old trees, soon to be covered in concrete

  3. Actually demolition had started on I-405 at this time. A few blocks from the South Auditorium area to about 12th skirting the hills appear to be rubble as the bulldozers prepare to swing north between 13th and 14th.

  4. Also you can see the “shoeflys” are in place for the Front and 1st Avenue overpasses over 405.

    Great pic, I’d love to see a higher-res image.

  5. Not long after this photo, PSU would commence their own urban renewal project, leveling the remaining blocks south of Mill St. This probably ran concurrently with the construction of I-405

  6. Ian: PSU could not have had it’s own urban renewal district south of SW Mill. Only the city can create an Urban Renewal District. A PSU urban renewal project? The south auditorium project boundaries went to SW Authur south of SW Mill.

  7. While I can’t speak to the accuracy of this information, this is an excerpt from “A Brief History of Urban Renewal in Portland, Oregon” found here:


    In 1958, Portland State College (PSC), reacting to special urban renewal monies set aside for universities, contacted PDC to seek
    urban renewal funding for the acquisition of additional land for the campus. Six years later, a feasibility study was completed and the project was approved for funding by the Portland Planning Commission and City Council. The application was then forwarded on to HUD and also approved. Without protest, the City Council approved the demolition of all buildings, PORTLAND STATE UNIVERSITY CAMPUS except university structures, in the project area.
    The PDC planned to relocate 117 families, 835 single people, and 52 businesses. The urban renewal activities included site improvements and re-designing and landscaping the south park blocks. Several non-university buildings – Ione Plaza and Park Plaza apartments, the Campus Christian Center, and the Division of Continuing Education headquarters – were never acquired due to expense.
    The only concern voiced by the residents was over the demolition of apartment buildings. Some were concerned that the elderly and students would be competing for housing in the area. In response to this finding, a group of Portland State College students suggested keeping some vacant apartments for student housing. The student group, then called Portland Student Services, Inc. (now College Housing Northwest), was given the responsibility of managing 440 student housing units on campus.
    As part of the campus plan, the re-creation of the South Park Blocks cost $700,000 and involved a face lift of six blocks located between S.W. Park and Ninth avenues and S.W. Mill and College streets. The park was rehabilitated to create a more usable and viable area for the student campus and residents. The park blocks were improved by adding over 50 percent more grass, an additional 107 trees, lighting, new diagonal walkways and benches.
    The Portland State Urban Renewal Project turned out to be an early object lesson for Portland in the ambiguous impact urban renew- al projects could have on the nature and character of the city. As Gordon B. Dodds, the school’s historian put it, “a mixed blessing.” In his book, The College That Would Not Die, he stated dismay among many about the loss of the “traditional” campus “…There was a range of lodgings… The local fraternities had their own quarters… The thirsty gathered at the Montgomery Gardens and the Chocolate Moose… The all-time favorite coffee shop was Bianca’s, whose warm and colorful owner endured several moves as the campus expanded.”
    Yet, without urban renewal, Dodds muses, it seems impossible a university could have emerged. There was no land for a campus any- where else in the metropolitan community to be acquired at a price the state board [of higher education] could pay. The original land on the Park Blocks could never contain the buildings necessary for a growing college, let alone the university that would arise in the future. Only expansion within the area surrounding Park Blocks, and only expansion with the aid of the federal government, was possible. Portland State would either grow or wither downtown.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s