Interstate 405 Construction, c1965

Looking west from the SW 1st Avenue overpass, construction crews are digging deep to excavate the I-405 freeway circa 1965. The Travelodge over on SW 4th is clearly visible here, as are other still extant buildings. You can see an aerial view of the overall area here.

A2005-001.774 Foothill Freeway I405 from SW 1st west 1965(City of Portland Archives)

14 thoughts on “Interstate 405 Construction, c1965

  1. Not so sad if you had to drive through the area before the freeways were connected and bypassed the downtown. Everyone we knew, were very excited, to not have to drive through the gridlock in downtown Portland because all the highways dumped into the city and just stopped in downtown.

    I recall just siting as the signals changed and barley being able to move and more cars squeezed from the highways merging into the downtown and everything just stopped.

    Maybe they could have done something different but back then it was a great improvement for the city.

  2. Let’s see:

    The freeway is a physical and psychological barrier that cut off the Northwest, Goose Hollow, and South Portland neighborhoods from Downtown, it has enabled the homeless to encamp under the giant viaduct along 15th/16th Avenues, it has deteriorated air quality in the immediate vicinity of the freeway, it has brought excessive noise, the narrow substandard sidewalks along the overpasses make it unpleasant to walk across the trench (and that’s if the connection even exists), there are very few safe bike connections across the trench, the substandard exit spacing between US 26 and I-5 (near PSU) encourage dangerous weaving and merging maneuvers and no doubt contribute to countless accidents and near-misses, the freeway is still heavily congested during peak periods, should I go on?

  3. Reza: Some of your claims are false. I am a daily walker and cycler and I cross from Goose Hollow into Downtown over Yamhill/Morrison just fine.

    This was not a perfect implementation at all (I-405 should have been farther out west just like 205 is further out east), but it is a vast improvement over Harbor Drive.

  4. Most of today’s traffic problems come from the huge increases in population in the Portland-Vancouver metro area. The 1960 Census shows a Portland population of 372,000. The 1980 Census showed a decline to 368,000. Then the explosion began. 1990 totaled 437,000. 2000 jumped to 529,000. 2010 up to 583,000. Add the Vancouver and suburban population increases to that! Those numbers guarantee large traffic blockages, cars and trucks idling for hours, and a few more uncounted homeless folks under the bridges, trestles and viaducts as well as public parks.

    Time to build more freeways or double the amount of lanes on the current routes.

  5. Most of the population explosion in the 90’s in Portland, was due to annexing east county and other parts into Portland. It is often overlooked if you just look at the numbers and don’t account for the city boundary changes. Population did grow but not as fast as the numbers seem to show in Portland. A lot of those people were already there, living outside Portland in the fast growing suburbs.

    I agree that population growth without added capacity, creates congestion.

  6. Freeways are unnecessary, I-405 in particular. Vancouver BC has been roughly the same size as Portland for over 100 years and has no freeways within its city limits at all. Not only does it function just fine without them, it is considered one of the most livable cities in the world. Freeways do nothing to enhance the urban environment, they simply make it easier for suburban commuters to get out of the central city quicker, to the detriment of the city itself.

  7. I believe Vancouver BC is on a Island and 95% of the population on the island, is in and around the main city.

    Unfortunately for Portland if you have kids, you have games on the east side, if you live on the west side, your friends and family usually all live in different parts of town. You may work near your job but your kids or spouse may work across town or your job takes you all over the area to serve your customers. We live in a area where people like to go to the mountains, beaches, and even downtown, along with many other places to recreate and visit with friends and the automobile has given us the freedom to do that.

    It is real easy to say we do not need freeways, but 97% of all trips in the Portland metro area are by automobile and the majority of the population do not live in downtown.

  8. For sure I meant Vancouver Washington, the city on the north bank of the Columbia River with a 2010 census population of 161,791.

  9. Eric are you serious? I was in Vancouver, BC back in ’03 for a concert and it was the WORST traffic I’ve ever seen anywhere. You’d sit for three or four light cycles and never move because every single street is only one lane each direction so if anyone was waiting to turn left, the whole city gridlocked.

    And for those who say freeways increase air pollution and burn more fuel, explain to me please how a car doing 55 MPH is more harmful to the environment than one sitting gridlocked and idling on a city street.

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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