17 thoughts on “Willamette River, 1948

  1. In addition to the flood waters, we can see construction of the underpass of Front Street and Barbur Blvd at the middle/left edge of photo and the abandoned Oregon Electric railway (bottom center) which parallels Macadam Ave, and would become I-5 freeway 10 years later.

  2. What a great view of the flooded waterfront! Near the top of the photo there’s the old Morrison Bridge swung open for a passing ship. And just to its left on the sea wall there’s the Portland Public Market Building (the Oregon Journal printing plant). The long narrow warehouse near the waterfront just north of Ross Island Bridge is Schnitzer’s Alaska Junk Co., and just to its southwest is the old Failing School (now the National University of Natural Medicine) is clearly visible. There are houseboats along the river and the ever-present log rafts alongside Ross Island are there. I don’t see Lair Hill Park and the Neighborhood House; perhaps that neighborhood is just out of the picture at the bottom of the photo. I imagine this aerial view was taken around the same time as the Vanport Flood (May ’48).

  3. PP and L’s Lincoln power plant sits up high enough that it likely was still running. They built a little dike thing so that fuel could still reach the plant.

  4. I can’t help but think about what will happen when this area floods again and all those highrises built in the area below OHSU served by the aerial tram will be swamped. I think, they really went way overboard with building in this area.

  5. The West Bank south of the Hawthorne Bridge has certainly changed over the years. And the road just above high water through there is Harbor Drive that was completed in 1943 and removed for Waterfront Park.
    What’s the large building between Hawthorne and the Schnitzer bldgs., forerunner of River Place?

  6. Directly across the Willamette River from the PP&L Lincoln power plant is the Portland General Electric (PGE) power station “L” which is now the site of OMSI, and adjacent to station “L” is Inman-Poulson lumber. Inman-Poulson & PGE had a decades long agreement that Inmam-Poulso would supply sawdust to fire station “L”, and PGE would in exchange supply the lumber mill with electrical power.

  7. Right there, front and center, is the Old SP RR right of way, abandoned sometime earlier…which eventually made its way toward Bertha Blvd and outward toward Beaverton…roughly the route of I-5 now….

  8. Mike, Elliott, or someone: What is the major thoroughfare at the left of the photo? It obviously becomes Harbor Dr. in the upper part of the photo, but what is it as it runs north-south and then switches to the southwest in the lower left of the photo? Is it Barbur Blvd., or is Barbur out of the photo to the left? I’m comparing this aerial to a 1940 map of the neighborhood, and it’s confusing. So much change in this South Portland ‘hood. Thanks!

  9. It looks like the Ross island Bridge/Harbor Drive/ Barbur Blvd interchanges are under construction in this photo. The tunnel from SB Naito (Harbor) to Barbur is just starting. Quite a change from the VP photos of the RI Bridge shown recently.

  10. Robin: what you see on the left side of the photo is Barbur Blvd. What Mike identified as the old Southern Pacific railroad right of way is actually the right of way of another electric railroad company, the Oregon Electric Railway. I-5 was eventually built over the OE between Multnomah Blvd. and downtown Portland. Barbur was built over the SP right of way between Bertha Blvd. and downtown.

  11. Actually, Tim, part of the main thoroughfare running up the left side of the photo is Barbur Blvd. However, about a third of the way up the photo, where the thoroughfare turns directly north, that’s the beginning of what is today called SW Naito Parkway, which apparently replaced (covered over) the old Front Street. Barbur Blvd. continues on in its NW direction out of the photo toward the Lair Hill Park neighborhood, which isn’t in the photo. I figured this out because as a kid I used to hang out at Lair Hill Park, the Neighborhood House (now Cedarwood Waldorf School at SW 2nd & Woods), and the Junior Museum. And perusing the 1948 photo in detail I couldn’t find Lair Hill Park in the photo. And I knew it’s right along Barbur Blvd. — but a part of Barbur that isn’t in this photo. So now I wonder when in the 1940s was Front St. widened and made into this major thoroughfare, and how many houses and businesses were removed in the process. Again, thanks for your help in clarifying this with your post.

Comments are closed.