24 thoughts on “Ross Island, 1941

  1. Some buildings I can spot that are still around today (on the right side upper quarter) are the Sacred Heart Catholic Church spire, and south of that, Winterhaven School.

    It’s unfortunate that the Oaks Amusement Park didn’t make it into the frame on the right.

    It appears that the houseboats along the river were once farther north nearer where Ross Island Cement Co. building is today; rather than nearer Oaks Park (or perhaps the line of houseboats always extended that far south).

  2. Over on the east side (right) I see the two huge gas storage towers, and just a couple blocks beyond them, when I zoom in, I see the 6-story firemen’s practice tower building. It was constructed of cement with lots of windows, and had a smoky, smudgy look about it. My family drove across that bridge countless times from the west side over to grandma’s on the east side. I also remember all the houseboats on the river.

  3. google.com/maps/place/Ross+Island/@45.4916004,-122.6538774,289a,35y,44.88t/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x54950a8aaab24821:0xc4d1a6665ff8536e!8m2!3d45.4859361!4d-122.6573146?hl=en&authuser=0

  4. Note how much smaller Ross Island is today in wploulorenziprince’s google view vs the left side of today’s VP photo. Dr. Pamplin hauled it all away to make concrete.

  5. There were actually 3 manufactured gas tanks or gas holder tanks there at this time. Hard to see them all though.

  6. Mike there are other VP photos that show the 3 gasometers (storage tanks) on the east side of the Ross Island bridge.

    VP photo on August 5, 2010 (1930 aerial view)
    VP photo on October 22, 2012 (1947 aerial view)

  7. Is that an enormous pile of sawdust just north of the Ross Island bridge? How high would we estimate that is?

  8. Chris,
    You might also note a large cloud of smoke obscuring part of the Hawthorne Bridge. PGE is at work turning that giant pile of sawdust into electricity. The generating plant was located where OMSI is today.

  9. Thanks, Ron, for pointing out what that ginormous sawdust pile was used for! Back in the day I always saw that huge pile from Harbor Drive or across the river on the west side and didn’t know why it was there. Decades later, now I know.

  10. Sawdust aka “hog fuel” by the old timers. My folks heated their house with same, as was common, up until the 1960 when natural gas came along.

  11. In the ’70’s, gravel was being mined with barge mounted cranes using clam shell buckets.I was watching them one day, and it appeared that the crane cable had a paint marker on it every 10′. If that was the case, the clam shell hit bottom at about 70′. Like an iceberg, most of the island was under water. A bucket load at a time, in decades, most of the island is gone.

  12. In front of the fire practice tower on Powell is the vehicle inspection building. To get new plates each year every car had to pass a safety inspection including alignment of steering and headlights, visible smoke, etc. I have an inspection card from my Dad. His car failed and it was only a year old. Apparently the program was not renewed after WW 2. Would be a good idea nowadays as cars are used much longer.

  13. Always interesting to take a boat into Ross Island Lagoon and watch the depth gauge pass the 100 foot mark.

  14. Igor,
    I believe that all transportation of gravel was done with barges. The clam shell cranes removed rough gravel from the island and placed it on a barge. When loaded, the barge was taken to a processing area in that clear area on the island in today’s VP photo. There is was sorted by size, and possibly crushed. The final step was washing to remove silt, which weakens concrete. The product was stockpiled there on the Island. Another clam shell crane then loaded the product onto another barge, which was transported to the concrete batch plant just north of the Ross Island Bridge. Another clam shell crane there unloaded the product into a silo at the batch plant. A lot of work just to get a yard of clean, concrete quality aggregate. It is possible that Ross Island Sand and Gravel sold aggregate to other concrete producers, but it appears that it all left the location on barges, at least in “modern” times.

  15. 1. Mr. Pamplin didn’t just “haul it all away,” Ross Island concrete built the city that we know today!
    2. “Like an iceberg, most of the island was under water.” WHAT? Reminds me of that eminent mind, Rep Hank Johnson – GA who once postulated that too many Marines posted on Guam could lead it to “capsize.” The video of the General responding in his testimony in committee is hilarious.

  16. Ol Geezer The state issues license plates. The Portland vehicle inspection station gave you a small inspection sticker that you displayed on your wind shield if you passed inspection.

  17. Back in the 1950s two identical Queen Anne-style mansions towered above the east end of the Ross Island Bridge.– the Poulsen House and the Inman House. They bracketed Powell Blvd. high on the bluffs above the river at the east end of the bridge. They aren’t readily visible in today’s aerial phot. But coming across the bridge from the west side, they stood out and were very impressive. The Inman House is long gone, but the Poulsen House (south side of Powell) is still there, towering above the bridge and river, with Portland’s skyline and west hills in the background,

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