12 thoughts on “Steel Bridge, 1948

  1. On Mon, Jun 21, 2021 at 8:01 AM Vintage Portland wrote:

    > Vintage Portland posted: ” A temporary dike for flood control under the > west end of the Steel Bridge, 1948. City of Portland (OR) Archives, > A1999-004.1041. View this image in Efiles by clicking here. ” >

  2. If you know what you are looking at, the cut off end of that Western Union cable is accessable to see under the Steel Bridge Broadway ramp. That cable retired years ago. As much as practical of that cable was removed to scrap.

  3. In the background you can see the Portland Gas and Coke gas holder tank or Gasometer. ODOT HQ region 1 building is there now.

  4. It looks like work was about to get underway on this bright, summer Tuesday morning but first, some sort of pow wow is underway between suited types and laborer management. The man in the dark suit and hat scanning the worksite is a commonplace occurrence in many photographs on VP. What is not common though, is to see a woman in business attire on a job site. The woman pictured here wearing the light-colored summer suit and capris looks to be the one in charge (or at least she has the most presence). She’s holding a handbag against herself in her folded arms (a classic “protective” pose sometimes affected by people when they feel threatened.

    Pairs of workers are seeing chatting in both the foreground & background of the photo.

    The imposing industrial elements of this era have all been removed from this landscape now and all that remains is the bridge structure itself.

  5. June 1, 1948, was the day after the Vanport Flood on the Columbia River just north of Portland, which displaced thousands of people and killed 15 Vanport residents. The Willamette was also running very high that Spring day. I wonder if that has anything to do with the activity in this photo? In those days the W.U. cable connecting Portland to the rest of the world and the Steel Bridge bringing important transcontinental railroads into Portland were vital components to Portland’s growth and prosperity.

  6. I’m pretty sure that’s Dorothy McCullough Lee who was a City Commissioner from August 26, 1943 to December 1948, and was later elected as Mayor of Portland.

  7. Susan, I think that is Dorothy McCullough Lee in the photo. If so, she had just won the primary election days before (May 21, 1948) over corrupt Mayor Earl Riley, which led to her being installed as Mayor in January 1949. I’ve just never seen a photo of her wearing Capri (or any other short) pants before! She was looked upon as quite a heroic figure by many Portland women, and since she had just won the primary to “clean up Portland,” maybe she felt she should show up at the work site to illustrate her hands-on attitude. She was the 2nd woman to serve as Mayor of a major U.S. city.

  8. Wow, Robin Thompson, so this was the day after the Vanport flood… that was a great catch…it didn’t even cross my mind. Thank you.

  9. I believe that she is also wearing either Saddle Shoes or high heeled sandals with white socks.

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