21 thoughts on “Fairfield Hotel, 1969

  1. All men, check. Eclectic collection of horse prints, check. Bad portrait of JFK, check. No visitors after 10 PM, double check.

  2. Obviously taken within moments of the Fairfield picture posted on 10/21. If you look closely at the right of the picture, you can see the toys on display in the front window.
    In the 10/21 picture you can clearly the same gentleman with the dark hat. Nice juxtaposition.

  3. Another great picture of a real “home” for many people – maybe not what we would prefer, but so much better than living on the street for the elderly, infirm, or someone without a lot of money.
    The steam heat, a blanket on one of the chairs, the bird cage, even the corny horse pictures make it somewhat cozy. One man has his slippers on and another has crutches. Most importantly- they’re sitting and talking to each other – something so many older people are cut off from. These SROs (single room occupancy) weren’t perfect, but they really filled a housing void in a way we can’t seem to do now.

  4. so much to look at in this picture! it’s overwhelming! but my favorite has to be the budget photo of JFK… still on the wall 6 years post-assassination… i’m from massachusetts so i am used to seeing that back home…. fascinating to see it was the case in this random downtown hotel in oregon…. it’s easy to forget how many of portland’s pioneers were originally from new england…. and also that many of the original grand buildings in town were designed by architects in boston…

  5. I see three standing ashtrays in the lobby. I invite all to try “horses playing poker” on google. One last thing- No one alive when John F. Kennedy was assassinated will ever forget the day- I was in high school at the time and the school was closed and emptied our within an hour of the shooting.

  6. For decades the city has placed the homeless at that hotel. Typical old fashioned hotel with bathrooms down the hall. Only one room per floor has it’s own bathroom. Impossible to control the roaches as they come in from surrounding buildings.

  7. Housing that is absolutely not perfect, yet naturally affordable. Countless dollars spent to never fully replace what cents might have preserved.

  8. The lobby reminds me of many similar hotels (many a lot worse) that I delivered telegrams to while working as a bike messenger for Western Union in the 50’s.

  9. Upkeep costs can be high, but they are a lot lower than demolition and new construction. As a Meals on Wheels driver, I can tell you that there are at least 3 contemporary equivalents of the Single Residence Occupancy hotels downtown now- all with a similar clientele to the Fairfield, 1969…but without the lobby.

  10. Besides the JFK picture, the pictures on the back wall are interesting: cowboys, horses, cattle, deer, Western scenes — all themes probably familiar to these old pensioners. Yes, Charles Amato, I recall those days and judging by the appearance of the lobby, this was probably one of the better residence hotels.

  11. The floors have hexagonal tiles in the middle and square tiles for the border! Pretty intricate for an SRO lobby.

  12. “If you’re a writer you know the stories don’t come to you, you have to go looking for them. The old men in the lobby; that’s where the stories were.” Tom Waits

  13. Susan – I don’t see anyone sleeping on the floor, but I think I see two figures sitting on the chairs or bench, The photograph is unclear due to the darkness there.

    I helped an acquaintance move into the Fairfield. The lobby and the old original elevator are the best part. The rooms are modest but recently painted and at least half of them have views of Harvey Milk Boulevard/ Stark Street. He wanted to save money on rent at the Fairfield compared to the place he was living, and accepted the prospect of cockroaches.

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