N Interstate Avenue, 1958

The future site of the Memorial Coliseum in 1958. N Interstate Avenue and the east end of the Steel Bridge are visible as well.


City of Portland Archives, Oregon, A2010-002.454

City of Portland Archives, Oregon, A2010-002.454


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11 thoughts on “N Interstate Avenue, 1958

  1. This might be an interesting photo to look at, but don’t forget that sometimes history is ugly: “I owned a house on North Commercial Street. Bought it in 1941. It was the first house I ever owned. I had it fixed up real nice, too— a new garage, a refinished basement. Then some white men showed up at my door in and told me that I’d have to sell my house and leave the neighborhood. I wasn’t the only one. They told all the neighbors that we’d have to move. See they used what’s called the law of “eminent domain” to move all of the folks out of the neighborhood. They told us our houses were run down and “blighted.” That’s what they called it, “blighted.” Like it was diseased or dying. Then they build something for the “greater good” of the community.” Here’s how it happens, how a neighborhood disappears: First, banks refuse to give black homeowners loans to fix up their home, then the city comes in and says the homes are run down. Then the city tears down all of our houses and builds Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, the Memorial Coliseum and the school district office. They bulldozed 300 homes and businesses in the black community over by Williams and Vancouver Avenues. It’s been over 40 years and I still miss my neighborhood.” -Thelma Glover

  2. No signs of the I-5 freeway yet. In 1958, did they know they were going to carve Minnesota Ave into the freeway? More homes were lost there too.

  3. I completely agree with Stanley, that this pattern in the photo shouldn’t be forgotten.

    Along with the veterans, part of the ‘Memorial’ in the coliseum should also be for the community that was lost to create it.

  4. Sorry Stanley-I think I hit the thumbs down button by mistake. I always had such fond memories of the Coliseum. I thank you for sharing your history-it makes me sad to know that so many people’s lives were disrupted.

  5. Joan and Stanley — I am now interpreting the thumbs ups on Stanley’s post as “thanks for sharing” and the thumbs down as “I’m sad that this happened.” I didn’t “vote” when I first read it this morning because I wasn’t sure how it would be read, but will now go back and do a thumbs up in hopes Stanley knows it means “thanks.”

  6. PBS recently aired a story about the Portland Jazz Scene and they said a lot of the jazz clubs and places that African American jazz artists stayed while in town were wiped out for the Memorial Coliseum project.

  7. If you look at the stub of Holladay St. that has been cut off by construction of the ramps to the Steel Bridge (visible just above the silos with a car parked on it) you can see the center strip is a different color (especially closer to the silos) and if you look really closely you can just make out rails. Holladay was the approach to the original Steel Bridge and this is the brick strip holding the old street car tracks that used to cross the old bridge. A piece of them can still be seen there today wearing through the overlaid asphalt.

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