W Burnside, SW 10th & Oak, 1939

The driver turning left from W. Burnside westbound onto SW 10th Avenue is running a red light, the north/south traffic clearly has the green light. Traffic on 10th was two-way at that time, it’s one-way northbound now. Note the 10th Avenue ramp to the Lovejoy ramp in the distance.

A2005-001.1053  W Burnside St, 10th Ave and SW Oak St looking north on 10th Ave 1939(City of Portland Archives)

15 thoughts on “W Burnside, SW 10th & Oak, 1939

  1. And there is what is now Powell’s, and the old Armory behind it. Much more interesting photo than those traffic engineering pictures usually are, assuming that’s what this is. Thanks.

  2. Fantastic photo! I ride my bike through this intersection every day. It’s great to see many of the buildings remain today. In the photo I think I see a bicyclist heading south near what appears to be Everett St. How cool!

  3. Good eye Brian. Yes, the Armory used to be twice its current size, taking the whole block between 10th and 11th / Couch & Davis.

    Here’s a section of a Sanborn fire map from 1908-09 which clearly shows the Armory’s configuration at that time.

    Portland Armory 1908-09

    For a time the still existing portion of the Armory was in use by the Blitz-Weinhard brewery as a warehouse. The half block where The Henry sits was a shipping and receiving yard/dock. Perhaps it was the brewery that tore down the southern half of the building.

  4. I think your left-turn description is incorrect. This photo is taken on 10th, looking north. The turning car is turning right from 10th onto Burnside headed west. The Nash building is Powell’s today and the small building on the right (fronted by Oak) is a pizza place (no longer Rocco’s).

  5. Disregard my above comment, I see now how the turning car can be (and probably is) turning as you described.

  6. I like this picture and what looks like a set of new signals, caught my eye

    “[Accidents] have been reduced by making Burnside a through street, with stop signs on Tenth and on Oak. …There are no light signals in operation.”
    Big picture of this intersection.
    Sunday Oregonian, Page 72, 5-15-1938

    “Busy Area to get 18 Traffic Lights”
    “On this boulevard the “progressive” system will be used so a motorist may travel with the signals at all times if he maintains a speed of 25 miles an hour. Otherwise he will have to stop at the signals.”
    Oregonian, Page 9 3-1-1989

    “New Controls Cut Mishaps
    Traffic Devices Reported Success”
    “All types of accidents have been cut 63% at West Burnside and Tenth avenue, while personal injury accidents have been eliminated.”
    Sunday Oregonian, Page 5, 10-22-1939

  7. What caught my eye is the boxcar on spot in front of the former Eoff Electric store and warehouse on the corner of 10th and Hoyt. That street trackage came out in the late 60’s or early 70’s but when I was driving for a freight company in the early 60’s we had to back around them to get into Eoff’s shipping bay.

  8. Great photo. Looks like Oak Street continued to Burnside instead of ending at 10th Ave today. More historic photos from Lower Pearl (south of Hoyt) would be great to see!

  9. I love this photo. It shows life. Also, it looks like the car turning left was probably sitting waiting in the middle of the intersection and the light just changed on him. I say so because the pickup closest is just past the line and the angle the turning vehicle is at.

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