17 thoughts on “SE 28th Avenue, 1937

  1. I lived at 2708 Clinton in the early 70’s, just 3 houses away from there. There was an ancient stream running under there, and it would run to the surface during the winter. Probably undermined the house.

  2. The front-page story from the April 13, 1937 Oregonian attributed the collapse to rain-soaked earth. “April’s showers dug a grave for this dwelling house yesterday.”

  3. tim’s comment reminds me of something i’ve long wondered: is there a map of portland’s former watercourses? i have several copies of viele’s water map of new york city, in which he shows all ponds, streams, springs and made land… you do not build in nyc without consulting it! there are a few portland maps i’ve found here and there that are more sketch-like than maps, but nothing comprehensive. a neighbor claims she worked on something like it for metro, but doesn’t know if it was ever finished.

    a map like that might have discouraged a homeowner from building on the lot in the picture!

  4. Ah, the legacy of our (now) underground streams.
    Looking at LIDAR imagery, you can see there is a natural, and likely formerly exposed, watercourse right there running ENE to WSW. That is a place where Clinton steepens, as well; possibly spring-fed. The structures there now look like they are slab-built.

  5. This whole section of S.E. was originally named ” Brookland ” for all the creeks and small streams running throughout the area and draining to the river. Developers, etc. changed the name to ” Brooklyn ” . Grew up on 29th & Brooklyn and during wet winters part of our backyard would sink in an East-West direction . A lifetime neighbor who lived on Woodward claimed as a kid he fished and caught crawdads where our backyard was before a stream was all culverted and re-directed underground to build houses in late 1910-early 1920’s era.

  6. i’ve seen the terrafluxus site, as well as that metro ‘hypothetical’ water map… useful, but not as comprehensive as i was hoping. i suspect the info is out there in pieces, and it hasn’t been put together in a single source – at least, not one without paywalls or proprietary software! i also assume i haven’t found the right person and/or bureau to query.

    another great nyc source was ‘springs and wells of manhattan and the bronx’ by smith; my son and i spent months tracking the site of each one, buried or not. there is still an iron pipe in a rock on the west side of central park with a tin cup attached! a neighbor said it last worked when she was a girl in the 50s, but had been connected to the city supply by then.

    stuff like that can really give you a feeling of how and WHY a city developed the way it did. also lets you know which building is likely to have a wet basement!

  7. In 2010 the city’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability published a “City of Portland Existing and Historic Stream Centerlines” map. I can’t find it on the city website now, but our neighborhood association has a copy of it (PDF) posted.

  8. On NE Sacramento St and 65th Ave near the bluff there is a manhole cover. You get near it and it sounds like a roaring stream. You look in and you would swear a water main had broken as the water is not sewer water. I suspected when I found it over 35 years ago it was a diverted stream. An online map puts a diverted steam in the same area.

  9. “Looks like all those houses are gone.”

    True, but I think that’s the same tree on the right now straddling the power lines.

  10. Houses are still there, across the street. You’re looking at the former “Dahlin Dental Lab”, where I worked in ’73. They owned the house across the street at 2708, and that’s where I lived till ’76 or so.

  11. The red Dietz Lanterns.
    Used to have a neighbor who collected them as a kid.
    Factory embossed “City of Portland” on their fount & Etched same on their red glass globe. He had dozens. A dozen or more “Bell System” lanterns too.

    As far as underground water,
    Recognising geology and being energetic fit new home owning youngster.
    Some years ago near 50 & Ivon, We dug a well in my detached garage for irrigation water.
    Sort of like “The Great Escape”. Getting rid of the cobble filled spoil proved a challenge.
    About 20′ down, It holds water thru all summer. During winter, its about 5-8′ down.

    Before someone chimes in with “water rights” or city ordinance, I don’t need to know or care legalities of it

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