20 thoughts on “N Broadway, circa 1937

  1. The underpasses led all the way under Broadway and Larrabee. They corner entrances were still there, and in use, in the 1960s when I used to go to Portland Buckaroo hockey games at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

  2. Oregonian October 5, 1966 page 29

    City To Close Subway Walks
    The pedestrian subway system at the intersection of N. Broadway and Interstate Ave. will be closed in February or March of next year, Commissioner of Public Works William A. Bowes told the City Council Tuesday
    Bowes said the subways, which service Memorial Coliseum, have been a sanitation and police enforcement problem ever since they were built. He said that a recent rash of molestations in the tunnels and purse snatches convinced police Chief Donald I. McNamara and City Traffic Engineer Donald Bergstrom that the facilities should be filled in and closed. “The only way to control the situation” the commissioner said “is to station a man down there around the clock.” In place of the subways, street grade level crossings, controlled by traffic signals will be installed. The council informally authorized purchased of the signals during their regular Tuesday conference.

    Oregonian April 20 1968 page 11

    City Seals Up Subway System
    Portland Department of Public Works will begin next week sealing up the pedestrian subway system at the intersection of N Broadway and Interstate.

  3. Thanks Dennis, good article. Funny how it took ’till the mid sixties to figure that out. They did keep people from getting run over but it was also a good place for crooks, etc. The photo shows that the stairway angle was actually pretty steep.

  4. When were the last “subways” closed? I remember vaguely crossing under S Kelly Ave using one, probably near SW Hooker, possibly in the late 70’s or early ’80’s.

  5. Thanks, mike. I have looked for the portals while driving more recently, and didn’t see them.

    I remember encountering a couple of residents in that subway back then, when homelessness was much less common than now. Unfortunately, it likely has many occupants today.

  6. Does the underpass at Jantzen Beach at I-5 qualify? My dentist in the early ’80’s was there and I would take the bus from Vancouver to JB and walk through it to his office for a 7AM appointment. Took only a couple early morning trips to convince me it would be better to go around.

  7. I encountered my first subway street crossing on my first trip to London in 1976. It was very damp and smelly (urine) down there and my wife and I moved through there as quickly as we could hoping we wouldn’t encounter anybody going the other way. A pretty weird feeling for California types.

  8. In the ’50’s the undergrounds, at the West end of the Ross Island bridge, was the place my Mother told me not go into because of ‘strangers’ you might meet. It was many years later that I did venture through the underground by Interstate-Coliseum because that is such hard intersection for pedestrians. No I’ll not go back.

Comments are closed.