Portland Waterfront, circa 1940

The southeast Portland waterfront between the Ross Island and Hawthorne Bridges, circa 1940. Notice the huge piles of sawdust and the power plant that burned it south of the Hawthorne. The site is now occupied by OMSI.


City of Portland Archives, Oregon, A2010-001.169

City of Portland Archives, Oregon, A2010-001.169


View this image in Efiles by clicking here.

24 thoughts on “Portland Waterfront, circa 1940

  1. The old Inmam house is still there north of the Ross Island Bridge. The twin of the Poulsen house which is south of the bridge.

  2. At the upper right, you can see the new lighter-colored paving where they widened SE 7th, that we have seen in recent posts.

  3. In the summer of 1969 and again in 1970-71, I worked as a “grease monkey” at the PGE garage on the east side of the Willamette. I’m wondering if the long building just north of the station L power plant is that garage. It certainly looks similar to the one I worked in. Anyone have an opinion?

  4. And, for those of us who enjoy watching the TV show, “The Flash”, where aerial shots of Portland serve as the cityscape for the show’s Central City, this is the location of the Star Labs particle accelerator.

  5. We took the kids on the Santa Train this weekend. One of the volunteers from the Oregon Rail Heritage Center told us that when they were building the Center (which sits on part of the old Inman and Poulsen site) they had to drive pilings into the ground to support the building and the heavy locomotives stored inside because of the layers of sawdust built up over the decades.

  6. @Bo Sullivan:
    The Inman House was not a mirror image of the Poulson House. They shared the same footprint, though which meant that the corner turrets were juxtaposed from being on opposite sides of Powell. While very similar, they weren’t even identical twins. The Inman House had a covered balcony instead of a bay window on the second floor and there were variations in external adornments. Here is an image of the Inman House in its heyday courtesy of Portlandhistory.net:

  7. Stiefve, the years of sawdust was also the reason for the sagging and recent replacing of the Union Ave viaduct. I remember dozens of Inman-Poulson wood delivery wagons on the east side of the viaduct in the forties.

  8. The Ross Island bridge at that time had a sidewalk on each side, one was removed to add width to the traffic lanes. Assuming the sidewalk removed was 4′, each lane would have gained 12″. They appear now to be about 9′ so may have been originally 8′.

  9. Hey Nolan Johnson, word on the street is you took out The Karma Kids’ van on highway 30. My advice.. Make things right with him.

  10. What’s going on in the river under the west end of the Hawthorne Bridge. Four bollards under the movable section of the bridge…

  11. Doug,
    I could be wrong, but I suspect those were to protect the piers under the lift span from collisions. There are bollards on either side of the swing span of the Morrison Bridge too. Heavy river traffic (including log rafts) was much more common in 1940.

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