NE Union Avenue, 1929

A number man at NE Union Avenue (Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard) between E Burnside Street and NE Couch Street, looking northwest, 1929.


 NE Union Ave. [MLK Blvd] between E Burnside St. and NE Couch St. looking northwest, 1929: A2009-009.1766

NE Union Ave. [MLK Blvd] between E Burnside St. and NE Couch St. looking northwest, 1929: A2009-009.1766

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23 thoughts on “NE Union Avenue, 1929

  1. The first hood ornament right of the traffic light I believe is a Pierce Arrow. And I don’t think this is looking northwest. The lamp post has burnside and union signs on it. If you were north of burnside you’d have to be looking south to see it.

  2. The other possibility is that it’s looking northwest from Wentworth Subaru looking towards where they are building the burnside bridgehead

  3. I am always amazed at the clarity of the photographs! You can see an employee through the windows of the gas station with coveralls that say ROTO on the back!

  4. The hood ornament mentioned is a Packard of that era. Some sort of winged goddess proudly presenting… a tire.

  5. who is this number guy? Is it the same guy in all the pictures? What is he doing? Leslie

  6. I think the big sign that faces the Burnside bridge says Powers Furniture. I kind of remember that goose being in their logo. Now I’m wondering why a goose?

  7. In the left side of the photo, immediately to the left of the Roto Battery Service sign is what appears to be a scantily dressed woman. Does anyone else see this or am I just hallucinating?

  8. I remember in the ’60’s and ’70’s that Don Wunn music store occupied a terra-cotta roofed building – part of the structure in the left of the photo. Didn’t know it had been a car wash, but that style was sort of a landmark there.

  9. Here is an aerial view of the area from 10 years later. The garage to our immediate left, with the terra cotta roofing tiles later became the old Baloney Joe’s.

  10. Re Leslie Hutchinson question and “Numbers Man”: The above-referenced VP article from July 2014 fully explained the purpose and methods of the “Numbers Man,” and of course we have not yet found a name for him. However, I did manage to dig up a name for the man taking all of these photos for the city in a short Oregonian feature from 5 June 1931. The city’s official photographer at this time was one L. J. (expansions unknown) Bailey. In 1930 Bailey took approx. 5,000 5 x7 inch photos. “The principal purpose of these photos…is to assist the engineering staff in planning improvements and determining damages to property by street widening projects. They are also useful as evidence in damage suits brought against the city by property owners. Every house and every lot adjoining a street-widening project must be photographed according to Mr. Bailey’s instructions.” The article notes that Bailey’s unnamed assistant (“Numbers Man”?) also helped him do all blueprint production for city departments in the basement of City Hall.

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