6 thoughts on “City Hall, 1939

  1. Maybe the photo date should be 1940, probably in the spring of that year. The inscription on the hood of this possibly 1939 Chevrolet sedan advertises the dates of the Rose Festival scheduled for June 5-8 1940. Earl Riley was a city commissioner (in charge of the civil service, licensing, etc.) from about 1931 to January 1941, when he officially assumed office (for the first time) as mayor. In the spring through the fall of 1940 he was busy campaigning for the mayor’s office in the 1940 elections, which he won against Frank Hilton. And he was often acting mayor while Mayor Carson was out of town. So, this sort of looks like some sort of photo op-campaign stunt centered around promoting the Rose Festival in 1940. Or maybe the car painted with Oregon scenes was intended to showcase some local advertising or auto painting business that contributed to the Rose Festival promotion season??

  2. Mayor Earl Riley was a colorful person. Charges of corruption during his career as Mayor were not the end of Portlander’s suspicions about him. He purchased a Packard dealership in the late 1940’s known as Earl Riley Packard located at 20th and West Burnside St. Rumors of running the local Mafia out of a back room of his Packard dealership persisted till it closed at which time he was hired on a sales person across the street at Bernard Cadillac. Rumors still continued that Mafia dealings were then controlled by Riley from the Bernard dealership.
    I was in the 10th grade in 1965 when I purchased a 1953 Packard Clipper that was sold new at Earl Riley Packard. I looked in the phone book and got his number and called him. We talked about 5 minutes about his Packard dealership and I mentioned the Packard I purchased. He passed away that year.
    Earl Riley’s Packard dealership did furnish Packard convertibles for Rose Festival functions for a number of years.

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