25 thoughts on “Downtown Portland, 1970

  1. If you look north of the First Interstate Building you can see the Georgia Pacific logo on the what is now the Standard Insurance building.

  2. It looks like the approaches to the Fremont Bridge are under construction in the distance, as well.

  3. I know nothing about construction but, if that’s part of a crane at the top of the building it looks very puny compared to the ones used today, that seem to be everywhere in Portland these days.

  4. First National Bank of Oregon opened the “First National Tower” in 1972, and changed their name to First Interstate Bank in 1981.

  5. The bank tower drew heavy criticism with initial design and upon completion. Many felt it dwarfed the city, esp the adjacent city hall, which one critic said was “thoroughly raped by ski-slide gigantism”. The tower, with its flared tail fins at the bottom was accused of both violating Portland’s skyline and blocking the views of Mt Hood from other buildings beyond its sightline. Equally bad, was the plan to demolish the original First National Bank building at 5th and Stark Street for a parking lot (fortunately, the building was saved). At the time, this was thought to be the complete doomsday package for the city. Well, we’re over it now. Who’s ready for the 35-story Ritz-Carlton?

  6. My mom hated that building because it blocked the view of Mt. Hood from some vantage point that she thought was significant.

  7. First National Tower timeline. Ground broken (8/22/69) Building topping off (1/25/71) Building dedication (5/25/1972)

  8. In 1972 I worked as a janitor while the interior of the building was being constructed, and I ended up with some swag that I still have: A paperweight made of the same stone (I believe Italian marble, but I might be wrong) that was used on the facade, and a deck of playing cards. Both the paper weight and the individual cards state, “First National Center.” The card deck sleeve states, “First National Bank of Oregon.”

  9. when i first visited, i couldn’t believe any city would allow a building to destroy a view like that from the rose garden. so glad to see our mayor carrying on the tradition by allowing the view of hood from salmon springs to be destroyed by an eastside building… why bother encouraging tourism when we’ve blocked the views? texas has extremely strict laws protecting views of the state capitol from obstruction. texas has stronger view corridor protections than we do – TEXAS!!!

  10. I’m having fun with the details in this photo. Views of The Goodnough Building (SW 5th & Yamhill), and Cole McElroy’s Ballroom (where the Portland Building is today. You can even see the Lovejoy Viaduct!

  11. modern buildings suck miss the old buildings in that area none of them are around today why dint the city of portland save them most of them where structuraly sound
    most of the older buildings down there where built in the 20s 30s 40s we did not keep any of them so stupid i hate urban renewal you are pure SCUM

  12. Can anyone tell me anything about the older 8/9-story brick apartment building just across the street (left) from the under-construction First Interstate Bank Bldg. in this photo? Also, the distinctive-looking pointed-roof building next to it with trees in-between the two buildings. In the 1950s mom and dad had an older gentleman friend who resided in that apt. building. He no longer drove and they would give him a ride home at night after lodge meetings. He was always dressed impeccably for Lodge night. He never invited us in, but disappeared through an ornate gate and doorway into the interior of that mysterious lantern-lit building. I imagined its hallways carpeted with Oriental rugs and festooned with glowing lamps and tapestries. I would love to know more about those two buildings. Are they still there? Just another warm memory from my Portland boyhood. (I haven’t lived in Portland since the late ’60s.)

  13. Robin the The building under construction is located at 1300 SW 5th, and the 2 building you are asking about are on SW 6th. The 9 story building is the Ambassador Apartment building (1207 SW 6th) which was built in 1923, and today they are condos. The building to the left is the University Club (1225 SW 6th) built in 1913.

  14. Dennis, Thanks for the information about these two buildings. Much appreciated! I’m glad such elegant buildings are still there.

  15. the Lovejoy Viaduct! is gone today i love old concrete structures why are we replacing every thing so with much scum !!! gets very irritating

  16. A guy I knew called the First National Bank Tower “A huge middle finger at Portland.” I agree. It was designed by an LA architect and it should be in LA.

  17. I find it mind-boggling that (computers being as large as they were in the late 1960s,) First National Bank planned for having an entire city block’s worth of computers and cooling for them, just for their own computational purposes

  18. I had at one time, maybe I still do, a 8 or 10 page color booklet that was included with the Sunday Oregonian to commorate the opening of the building. It was full of facts about the building and lots of cool pictures of the building’s interior as it looked when opened. Of course it was full of pictures of your typical well dressed early 70’s office workers. I lent it to the guy over at Lost Oregon (John?) to scan for his site but don’t know if he ever did. Or maybe I just gave it to him, which in hindsight I think is what happened.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s