23 thoughts on “North Portland, 1919

  1. Interesting in that it appears that the map was printed on the back of some sort of newspaper because you can see printing throughout the map.

  2. The map appears to be on the reverse side of a letter sized handbill (prospectus) put out by “Kenton(?) Land Company”

  3. It actually appears to be on the back of a letter from the Kenwood Land Company in Kenton, to the Mayor and City Commissioners in Portland. I don’t have time to transcribe it right now, but perhaps another of our VP loyals will beat me to it.

  4. The map really hypes the land value of the Kenton area. I especially like how they show large vessels using the Columbia Slough. I can’t get in there with my 17’ boat.

  5. Columbia Slough was closed off from the Columbia River in later flood control projects. The Columbia used to flush it naturally and keep a deeper channel open. There was another entrance to the Columbia around Blue Lake area. The slough used to be dredged after it was closed in, but I don’t think it is anymore. In the 70’s I used to go up it in 14′ boat, even then it was touch and go in some areas and that was almost 50 years ago. Today we are seeing the result of 90-100 years of siltation. It will eventually turn to marshland and then land if the siltation continues.

  6. The rail tunnel from Swan Island to Columbia Blvd. is on this map. I can’t tell if the track that crosses the peninsula where the ‘cut’ is now was actually already trenched in 1919.

  7. Donna: Great observation. The St John’s RR cut was completed in 1908 and the North Portland Peninsula RR Tunnel in 1911.

  8. I think its Multnomah Drainage District what manages the Slough.
    Its maintained somewhat, Mostly I see them in the canal with their small barge and walking excavator or cutting back trees.
    Primarily it keeps stormwater draining out from all the industrial land along the river. Otherwise dozens of culverts thru, or pumping stations along the river dike would need to exist.

  9. Susan: even today, the eastern end of NE Killingsworth is part of the “Portland Bypass” of US Route 30. That signage continues as it merges into Sandy Boulevard, which was the former alignment US30 proper until the route was co-signed onto the city’s shiny new Interstate freeways.

    US30 continued on that way to Troutdale and the now-Historic Columbia River Highway. It would still be a contiguous route deep into the Gorge, but irony demands that I84 sever it, just north of Edgefield. What I’d give for at least a pedestrian bridge to close that gap, and a chance to ride as far as The Dalles on (pretty much) the old road.

  10. Edge Lord, Thank you for the dates! I grew up on the peninsula when it was relatively undeveloped. My grandfather had a bit of land adjacent to ‘the cut’ where he kept a cow, chickens, a nice sized orchard, kitchen gardens, and my horse. At one time it was easy to ride horseback out toward Smith Lake and explore all that undeveloped land between home and the Columbia slough. We once found an old homestead foundation nearly obliterated with blackberry brambles, but a couple of domestic rose bushes had held their own all those years after the home was vacated. I didn’t have sense enough to get some cuttings to take home.

  11. Where did they take the soil from the “cut”? Anybody know? I’m thinking part of it went to an area off of North Sumner St. around Greeley cause some of the houses in that area sit way up off the street.

  12. For anyone who wishes to read about the St Johns cut author John Speirs has a 4 part story at stjohnsreview.com Click on issue archive and then the year 2015.
    Part 1 (March 25, 2016) Part 2 (April 8, 2016) Part 3 (April 22, 2016) Part 4 (May 9, 2016)

  13. Lou, thanks for that link to the apartments and their prices!! It would be fun to track down those places and see if any of them are still viable rentals, and what they charge now!

  14. On the industrial map, an island at the mouth of the Willamette next to Pearcy Island has a racist name.

  15. “For anyone who wishes to read about the St Johns cut author John Speirs has a 4 part story at stjohnsreview.com”
    I’ve only read two of the series and I’m outraged at how St. Johns was treated by Portland! Not only did Portland finagle the annexation of St Johns, by pushing through the Harriman and Hill railroad agenda to build ‘the cut’ & the tunnel, St Johns lost its independence as a self-contained prosperous economic community.
    Over the decades the peninsula became Portland’s solid and effluent waste ‘dumping ground’ . I understand the need for housing during WWII, but St Johns also became the low income/government subsidized housing area after the war. Landlord investors in those apartment complexes certainly did not live in St Johns. Lot’s of serious problems emerged. Where once sheep, horses & cows were pastured and small businesses flourished, warrens of cheap housing poorly managed and policed became a breeding ground for ignorance and hopelessness. By the 1970’s, those complexes became a war zone. Ugh!
    Kind of echoes the assault on Standing Rock by the Big Boys running things from their pristine estates anywhere but here.

  16. @ Elliott – Actually both the small islands have names they wouldn’t be given today but it’s all right, they’re both gone now.

  17. Kenwood Land Company

    His Honor the Mayor and
    City Commissioners,
    Portland, Oregon

    At the earnest appeal of the residents of
    this district, we ___ to submit for your consideration
    for Park purposes, the large Block of land bordered by
    Lombard St. & Patton Avenue, Russet___h Sts.,
    in Kenton, consisting of twenty_____________nat-
    ural Park for $12,000.00. This___________ all im-

    We feel the favorable __________________
    given this tract when it is __________________this
    district, the center of industry_________of the____
    employed therein, is making ye______________
    long the time will have passed w_____________
    will be available as a breaching(?)_____________

    There is at present no Park_________
    mile of Kenton and as there has been _____
    district in past few years a vast tax________
    feel that should also be a factor in ________
    making a selection.

    Thanking you in advance for your consider-

    Yours very respectfully,
    Kenwood Land Co.

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