SE Milwaukie & Powell, 1939

A terrific 1939 photo of a city vehicle inspection station at the northeast corner of SE Milwaukie Avenue & Powell Blvd. Incredibly, the building and all the other major buildings visible are still with us today, although the church is now without its steeple.

A2009-009.910 SE Powell & Milwaukie 1939(City of Portland Archives)

17 thoughts on “SE Milwaukie & Powell, 1939

  1. A friend and I plan on putting a geocache at the fire station. I took some pictures of the side of the building and the tower last week when we were getting a tour of the grounds at the fire station

  2. According to Don Nelson’s East Portland book, it was for safety checks – lights, turn signals, brakes, etc.

    And get this – you had to go thru the inspection every six months!

  3. I didn’t dig far enough to find out when the city’s vehicle safety inspection program began.

    Challenges to the effectiveness, conduct, rigor of enforcement, and even the constitutionality of the program in the late 1940’s apparently led to it’s dissolution in 1948 or 1949.

    In the decades that followed, periodic ttempts by some legislators to establish compulsory statewide vehicle safety inspection never got much traction.

  4. Far left: corner of the Ford Motor plant…later Metropolitan Printing and Bindford & Mort book publishing. They published the Portland (and other) telephone directories for a number of years.

  5. Elliott was Correct. This was a safety check and after passing you displayed a sticker in the lower corner of the windshield.

  6. Many eastern states have (or used to have) similar mandatory yearly vehicle inspections. Nowadays, we would do better with yearly inspections and test of the drivers, many of whom don’t know or seem to have forgotten many driving regulations. But the state says they can’t afford to retest people after that first test at age 18!

  7. Heh. Check out the “‘Swastika’ Brand” ad in the second row of the document Karl Anderson linked to. A good example of the popular fascination with the ancient swastika symbol in Western societies prior to its eventual negative association with Hitler and Nazism.

  8. Swastika Bakery used to be north of Powells Books a block or two,,, I remember seeing its photo here on Vintage some time ago.
    Its swastika logo was high up & visible well into the 80s.
    Odd I dont remember anyone in our ‘all tolerant city’ complaining about it,

    Even so, there are several swastika motif buildings around Portland already.
    The Mult. Courthouse and Meier & Frank come to mind…

  9. In the 1960’s the fire station practice tower had a large canvas-strap style safety net attached to the south side of the building and this was elevated about 6 or 8 feet from the asphalt parking lot with cables and springs which held it all tightly in place. From a post that extended out from the roof of the tower was a thick nylon rope that waggled down to the surface of the net. As 10 year old boy’s we would play on the net for hours, are until one of the smiling firemen would chased us off. The older boy’s would climb the rope to the second story up from the surface of the net to the open windows frames and then jump into the net with a plop. Many bumps and bruises from this big adventure.
    Loads of fun!

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