17 thoughts on “Willamette River, 1935

  1. Yea! This sort of photo makes for some great delving into! I’m happy to see it and to be able to click on it to make it as large as possible. I see buildings I’ve come to know and love and lots that I know nothing about. Can’t wait for the “usual suspects” to chime in with their pertinent and wide-ranging info!

  2. Awesome picture! I love seeing the log rafts. Also the Swan Island airport (top left) and is that the battleship USS Oregon? What is kinda sad is the Schnitzer junkyard along the Willamette river and the resulting river pollution. I’m sure that people were already complaining, even in 1935.

  3. Schnitzer…I always remember how ugly that area looked…growing up in the Southwest part of Portland, it was always one of the very first things I saw comin’ into downtown…and I do remember that big billboard…on the North side of the viaduct/entrance to the Hawthorne Bridge…it was always fun to see what the new ad was going to be! No doubt a Foster & Stevens billboard!

  4. Great shot. I remember those log rafts floating down the river in the 60s. The pre-remodelled auditorium. It was down in that area east of St. Mary’s Academy where we saw the donkey pulling a wagon. c. 1966.

  5. Thinking that some parts of the old twin tower Journal Building could have been kept and integrated into the waterfront park. Farmer’s Market, Rose Festival events and parks offices, public concerts and gatherings… all on a rainy day year around?

  6. Yes, Mike g. I was sad to see the old Journal Building get torn down. It could’ve served a lot of different venues.

  7. Usual Suspect here( and I’m OLD so be respectful, please/thank you) . Great comments from y’all (I moved to Portland from Southern CA in 1939, WW II was about to happen and my father was a VIP in the US NAVY, ANYWAY, The photo that my daughter submitted (1930) was the same year I was born, and from 1939 to 1948 I lived in PDX (Gresham Hi,1948, the year of the big flood along the Columbia River and the city of Vanport ceased to exist being under about 16 ft of water). Pollution in all the rivers around Portland, I suspect, has been systemic due to its location and being a major port of trade since pioneer days (very interesting book written on this subject- The Bend of The River, probably out of print especially since the movie of the same name starring Robt Mitchem and Marilyn Monroe (NOT like the book) . The polluters in my memory have been Schnitzer Steel, various paper mills, Kaiser Swan Is shipyards, various slaughter houses, and of course, sweaty children (not mine) swimming in Blue Lake. That’s all for now, and make sure next time to check the age of your “usual suspects”. Old people tend to ramble….God bless

  8. You brought back some memories, Carl Bernik. We used to swim at Blue Lake back when it had wooden piers. I remember all of the tadpoles in the lake. I wasn’t around for the Vanport flood but I remember the river being especially high Christmas ’64 or ’65. I almost got stuck in quicksand near Russell Street. When our cross country team used to run across the river one team member decided he was going to jump off every bridge downtown. I remember how much he smelled when he got out. This was before they started cleaning up the river.

  9. The eastern approach to the Hawthorne Bridge was at grade level. Another VP post shows the ramps being finished in 1957.

    At least one of the Station L buildings south of the Hawthorne is being used today by OMSI.

    Didn’t realize how massive the Oregon Journal bldg. was, covering almost the whole stretch between Hawthorne and Morrison Bridges.

  10. At the very bottom-left of the photo, you can see a portion of a building that is part of the Zidell Marine Corporation complex. Based on the similarity of design, it appears that this building may still exist in an expanded form.

    Chris, that 1940s film was horrifying. Especially the scene with the two old gents fishing right next to an outflow pipe.

  11. I agree with you, Jim. The river was a cesspool. I believe it was that bad when my friend used to jump into it in the mid-60s. No wonder he stunk so badly. I remember that Charles Lindbergh came to town to bring attention to the pollution.

  12. Great photo. The comment/question about the builkding in the very bottom left corner: Commercial Iron Works occupied the site during WWII, building ships for the government. Zidell leased some land and a building from them, then bought the property from the railroad after the war. I don’t think the building in question is still there; but that is where Zidell has built barges for a few decades (the last one is being built now). Also of note: the area between Ross Island Bridge and Marquam Bridge (now), west side, had three shipyards during WWI; one of them cranked out a ship for the government every week and employed 8,500 people! I think the large dock and finger pier where the big log raft is tied up in the photo might be remnant of the WWI shipyard. I’ve seen a 1920’s photo looking south at that dock and beyond, with large, masted ships tied to the dock. Great stuff. Oh, and a rumor I heard is that pieces of the Oregon Journal Building were disposed of where Zidell and Schnitzer were/are as landfill.

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