12 thoughts on “Union Stockyards, 1958

  1. Vlad the Union Meat Co. started the meat processing operation shown in this photo in the early 1900’s, that was later sold to Swift & Company.

  2. Vlad, I believe the low buildings on the left were the livestock holding pens and the multistory building is the slaughter house. The stock walked up the ramp on the south side of the slaughter house and entered on the top floor to meet their end. As the animals were processed their bodies descended on gravity operated conveyors to the lower levels and left the site in packages. This may seem gross, but most of us consume meat.

  3. A comment and questions: Was this the location of the huge P.I, Bldg. in the 1950s? I recall going with my parents to our first Portland Home Show sometime in the 1950s in the P.I. Bldg. Mom claimed she could still smell the animal stench. Also, was this the site of Oregon’s Centennial Expo in 1959? Another question for Vlad and Lou L-P: The Union Meat Co. was owned by Swift & Co. Is that the same Swift of Swift Couriers (trucking)? I notice in today’s Google view (Thanks, Ryan) that Swift Couriers has a location right there by the river. Just wondering.

  4. Those water towers were built like train trestles. Makes you wonder how they eventually brought them down. Cut and toppled? If so, was likely done while there was the space as in the photo. That flood was such a tragedy.

  5. Robin: The “PI” or Portland International Livestock Exposition is out of frame in this photo and was just East (to the left in the photo) of the stockyards & Swift plant. The PI ceased operations for awhile in Feb. 1942 when it was used as the assembly location for Japanese-Americans who were detained during World War 2, and yes this was the site of the 1959 Oregon Centennial Expo, this site has expanded over the years and is now called the Portland Expo Center. Swift & Co. was purchased in 2007 by JBS S.A., and the Swift & Co. website shows no locations in the Northwest. Swift Transportation (trucking) has a terminal in Troutdale near the airport.

  6. Stockyards are nearby but not same as the Expo Center.
    Beginning way before 1950s, The Pacific International Livestock Exposition (PILE) was held annually at Expo Center. Of course it would stink inside those buildings long after the show ended and animals moved on.
    Some might say the stench started during WW2. Japanese internment forces were using those buildings.

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