Balch Gulch Trash Rack, 1950

Workers setting forms for the foundation of the Balch Gulch Trash Rack, 1950. At this point in Macleay Park, the free flowing creek is diverted into a sewer pipe.

 

City of Portland (OR) Archives, A2000-025.2391.

 

View this image in Efiles by clicking here.

18 thoughts on “Balch Gulch Trash Rack, 1950

  1. The older car in the background makes one question the date.
    BTW… Balch Creek was at one time in the mid 1800’s one of the sources for drinking water for the city

  2. Are you sure this is 1950? The vehicle in the background is clearly 1920’s. I would suggest it is from 1930.

  3. The water pump looks more post WW2 than 1930.s. And I have regularly owned and driven cars and trucks that were 20-40 years daily for most of my life. My cars now are 21 years old for the newest and 30 for the oldest.

  4. Everything I reference seems to indicate the thirties. It would seem to make no sense to build the sewer overflow in the 20’s, 30’s and then wait 20 plus years to put in the rack.

  5. It looks like there was an original trash rack that was just wood and wire, to be replaced by the new one with concrete foundations. I’d guess the wooden one dated to 1932.

  6. What a respectful bunch .. one of the last civil places on the internet.

    There are a few details that say 1950, if you zoom in. The truck and trailer in the extreme upper right. The pump on the ground by the worker doesn’t look like 30’s era machinery. Then there’s the speed and grain of the film, the photography looks more like post WW2, to my non-expert eye.
    And I’ll bet it wasn’t odd to see that vintage of car driving around in ’50!

  7. The rack was originally built in 1922 but was woefully undersized and failed in less than a decade. A larger, stouter rack was built in 1931. It was rehabbed in the Fall of 1950 when this picture was taken. Heavy storm flows damaged the rack in 1956. It was modified and enlarged sometime between then and 1970 when the sewer it protects was rebuilt and enlarged for the 3rd time. It will be rehabbed again in the next few years.

  8. The year 1950 looks about right to me. Severe shortages of metal and even concrete for civilian construction projects during WWII caused many such projects to be delayed until after the war. Also no new car production during WWII, so older cars had to be kept running (if you could get the gas with wartime gas rationing) ’til after VJ Day. New car production didn’t really pickup until 1947, but it was the booming economy of the early 1950s that really drove up new car production. As a little kid around 1950 I remember seeing many of these old cars around town, but they had practically disappeared from the streets and roads by 1956 or so — except for souped-up jobs driven by teenagers!

  9. Yeah I e-mailed the city and the reply was “the engineers tell me around 1950”. I didn’t feel good with my earlier post about it being built in the 30’s mainly because of that motor pump etc.

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