Willamette River, circa 1918

Looking north towards the old Morrison Bridge, with the old Burnside Bridge and the Steel Bridge in the background, circa 1918.


City of Portland (OR) Archives, A2004-002.577.


View this image in Efiles by clicking here.

10 thoughts on “Willamette River, circa 1918

  1. It looks like the same photo that was posted as “Willamette River, 1915” in the “Related” link above.

  2. Fascinating photo of the old working waterfronts on both sides of the river and the bridges. Messy, but very interesting!

  3. The Morrison bridge and the Burnside bridge in this photo were both swing span bridges that permitted larger vessels to pass. The Morrison was replaced in the 50’s and the Burnside was replaces in the 20’s.

  4. It’s hard to ascertain the month or time of year in which this photo taken, but 1918 was the year the Spanish Flu pandemic struck Portland.

    “On October 3, Private James McNeese, a young soldier on his way from Camp Lewis, Washington to the cavalry officers’ training camp at Leon Springs, Texas arrived in Portland. Despite feeling fine the day before, McNeese suddenly felt very ill, and made the wise choice to stop at the Portland city hospital to be examined. Doctors there quickly determined he had the dreaded “Spanish” influenza, and immediately sent him by ambulance to the military hospital at the nearby Vancouver Barracks, just across the Columbia River in Washington. It was the first reported case of the epidemic strain of influenza to appear in Portland.”

    “Washington High School in Portland, located at SE 14th and Stark. During the epidemic, Washington High, like the rest of the city’s schools, was closed.”
    University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine.

    I would have liked to have walked along the waterfront in these days – a rough area with lots of atmosphere and local color. I like the boats tied up along the river. Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco in the early 1960 still looked “quaint” more authentic, with smaller individually owned fishing boats and ruddy faced fishermen mending nets in view of passersby.

  5. Liz this is the same photo, but the related version is much better. If you look you will see that the streetcars on the bridge are in the same position in both photos, as well as the boats and log rafts. The description on the front of today’s photo leads me to believe that it is a postcard using the related photo image.

  6. If you look hard you can see the Portland Gas and Coke Manufactured gas holder tank there in old town–where ODOT region 1 HQ building now is.

  7. @mike,
    A modern gas storage device near the St Johns Bridge. It stores liquified natural gas at high pressure and low temperature.

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