12 thoughts on “Guilds Lake , circa 1920

  1. Metro was recently considering sending Portland’s garbage to the Covanta Incinerator in Brooks but decided not to.

  2. The issue of where to send waste perplexes (I wanted to use different words) me. McMinnville’s garbage is being sent out of area and; yet, our landfill takes refuse from the metro area. Our garbage rates have increased due to the increased costs of shipping. Waste Management executives and stock holders are pleased with this situation. 🙀

  3. I propose leaving the politics of the present out of this discussion. Let’s focus on the history in these photos.

  4. This seems to be fairly modern-looking building for 1920, yet appears to be in neglected condition with broken/missing window. Was it already old by then, or is the photo actually from a later date?

  5. I agree with Todd on setting current politics aside. Vintage politics was tangled enough to bring in the present.

  6. The site of this incinerator was at NW 25th and Nicolai on a lot of approx. 14 acres. The bldg. and new furnaces were erected in 1910 amid much controversy over bids and contractors and political patronage. The plant here replaced an earlier garbage “crematory” that could no longer keep up. This new plant finally went into operation in 1911 and was remodeled again in 1927. In the late teens and 20s, the city boasted about the alleged beauty of the flowers and other landscaping on this plant site; a lawn and circular flower bed are shown in the ca. 1920 VP photo. By the 1930’s to 1940’s the facility was pretty much falling apart, and the refuse workload was taken over gradually by new incinerators in SE Portland and St. John’s. In 1936 only one furnace was in operation to handle old checks and other papers from downtown banks. The city turned the unused portions of the plant site into landfill. The city authorized sale of the site in 1945, and by 1946 the West Coast Freight Lines co. took over the original plant property, remodeling the old incinerator bldg. shown here into a 3-story office building and building a new truck terminal at at cost of $1 mln. I wonder if the remnants of this converted incinerator bldg. still stand? Source: Oregonian.

  7. @Richard C. – I looked over sat-photos of NW 25th and Nicolai and can’t find any building that looks anything like size of the one pictured. I’m betting it was torn down at some point. It would help if we knew the precise location relative to the corner.

  8. @Brian, @Steven: Thanks for checking. I too can’t see anything resembling the old incinerator building on the sat or street view photos. Without wading too deep into city directories or phone books I’m not so sure “West Coast Freight Lines” ever followed through on their plans to build on that property or to renovate the old structure. Maybe it was bought and torn down by Columbia steelworks or some other industrial buyer. No great loss I suppose, but still an interesting relic of Portland’s public works history.

  9. I think the Nicolai location of the entry to the incinerator is roughly the location of the metal recycler, CalBag, 2495 NW Nicolai. I think that the architect for the building may have been Richard Sundeleaf, who designed a number of similar looking industrial-type buildings in NW Portland in the late 40’s (the Powell’s building at NW 29th and Industrial, for example, 1949-1950), that timing kinda goes with the vanishing of the incinerator.
    The incinerator was on the lake-bed slope, which is 100 to 200 feet north of Nicolai at that point. If one is on Nicolai headed west, turn right on 26th, and head down the slope past the big green building on the right, ’til the view to the NW opens and one can see the general area of the incinerator. I agree, there’s likely not much left… if anything at all… of the incinerator. At least not on the surface, there’s likely lots beneath the top layers of soil.

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