20 thoughts on “SE Ankeny Street, 1981

  1. That’s a hard-driven 1972 Datsun 510 Station Wagon parked at the curb.

    Here’s that tree in July 2007.

  2. The building’s address is 2348 S.E. Ankeny Street, and it now houses the Slide Inn — http://www.slideinnpdx.com/

    “The Southeast Portland neighborhood restaurant serves German and American food, not to mention brunch. It’s turned up in several “Portlandia” sketches, including the Season 8 episode featuring guest star Rachel Bloom going on a date.”

  3. This was Usher’s Grocery when I was very young. We shopped there and at a larger store on Burnside. This was so close that I could safely walk there and pick up needed items for my mom and spend a few penny’s on penny candy – a real treat.
    Nice memory, thanks.

  4. There are several mentions of 2348 SE Ankeny in the Historical Oregonian. In 1957 (9/18, p. 27) an apartment for rent was advertised, described as having 5 rooms, 2 bedrooms, and a range. (I’m assuming the apartment was above the store.)

    In 1965 (12/24, p. 11): “MASKED MAN ROBS GROCER: One shot was fired by a gunman who held up Usher’s Grocery, 2348 SE Ankeny St., Thursday night, after he took $150 from the cash register.

    “Saul Usher, owner of the store, said the man entered the grocery shortly before 7 pm and said, “You know what I want don’t you?” Usher, knowing what the man wanted, answered: “Go ahead and take it. I’m not going to try to stop you.” The man then took only bills.

    “Usher told police the man carried a small revolver which he fired once before leaving the store. Usher said the gunman wore dark rimmed glasses and a tan trenchcoat.”

    Two years later (7/8/1967 p.15): “ROBBERY THWARTED: A man was unsuccessful in his attempt to rob Usher’s Grocery, 2348 SE Ankeny Friday when the owner, Saul Usher, refused to hand over money from the cash register. The man displayed what Usher thought to be a toy gun.”

    And on March 23, 1981 (p. 16), the City Council agenda included “Reports – On application for Retail Malt Beverage license at 2348 SE Ankeny.”

  5. Our city used to have over 800 Mom n Pop grocery stores back in the day. I miss them. Somebody should organize the local historians around the city and catalog these old grocery stores.

  6. The family of Mr. Usher posted a comprehensive genealogy on the Ancestry database. Here are a few details:

    Solomon Saul Maurice Ushkatz Usher was born on October 10, 1910 in Eucastrinoslave, Russia, and died on April 27, 1975 in Multnomah County. He had a brother, Sam and a sister, Sarah. They arrived in the U.S.A. in 1923.

    Saul’s parents were Charles H. Ushkatz and Elka Ushkatz, and he was married to Fanny Fran Bernstein. A son, Robert Paul Ushkatz Usher was born in 1946 but died in 2012.

    The Oregonian (7/24/1975 p. 13) printed an obituary for his mother Elka Ushkatz, mentioning that she had lived in the Portland area since 1924, so we can assume Saul and his siblings also lived here from then on.

    I found nothing to explain the use of “Usher” for Saul’s surname, but it may have been adopted for simplicity or perhaps to blend in to the American culture more easily.

  7. Liz here are a few more details on Mr. Usher
    A 1940 petition for naturalization from 1940 shows that Solomon Ushkatz was living in Hanna, Alberta Canada and immigrated to the United States in 1924. Solomon Ushkatz left Vancouver BC and arrived in Seattle WA. inboard the SS Princess Charlotte on April 16, 1924.
    He married his wife in Portland on May 28, 1933, but at the time of his application for naturalization from June 1940 he was living at 279 Granada Ave. in San Francisco CA., and list his occupation as a “Cutter”.
    On December 16, 1940 in US District Court in San Francisco Solomon Ushkatz had his name changed to Saul Maurice Usher.

  8. Good work, Dennis! I’ve also done a little more looking. In the Ancestry database, I found his WWII draft card, stating that his age was 30 and his address was 85 Carl, San Francisco. His employer was Harrimore Co. at 130 Kearney in the same city. He was 5’7” and weighed 137 lbs, and his hair and eyes were brown.

    There is also a note about his burial in the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry. He was buried in the cemetery owned and operated by Congregation Neveh Shalom on Canyon Lane here in Portland.

    Intriguingly, there was a Canadian Saul Usher who also had a son named Robert. The Canadian Saul is the namesake of an annual “Saul Usher Lecture” at McGill University in Montreal, and was a key neonatal medical pioneer. Here’s a bit about this father and son – can you find any relationship between them and “our” Ushers?

    USHER, Dr. Robert. Dr. Robert Usher, son of the late Saul Usher and Bessie Echenberg died peacefully at home on May 25, 2006 in his seventy-seventh year.

  9. Liz thanks for the additional info. After reading your last post about his age being 30 on his WW II draft reg. made me think that when he arrived in Seattle from Canada in April 1924 he would have been 13 years old since he was born in October 1910. I looked for his fathers petition for naturalization and found that all family members were born in Russia, but it shows he was British Ntld. (naturalized British Citizen). and he had changed his first name in Canada or the UK from Tzala to Charles. In 1915 it looks like they may have arrived in Canada, showing a location of Winnipeg Canada. His fathers petition also shows he lived in Hanna Alberta Canada and arrived in Seattle from Vancouver BC on March 4, 1924 by CPR boat (Canadian Pacific Railroad operated small passenger liners like the one Saul arrived on) this would have been 1 1/2 months before 13 year old Saul Usher arrived in Seattle.
    US Census from 1940 shows Saul was a women’s garment “Cutter” for a wholesale suit & cloak business, and other sources show his father and brother were tailors.

  10. Jim W
    Just East of 28th on Burnside there has been a grocery store for many years, and today it is a Whole Foods, and before that it was a Thriftway store. I had a friend who lived about 3 blocks away and when I came over to visit his home he would often ask me to go buy some beer. (Yes we were of legal drinking age)

  11. Dennis
    When I moved to the neighborhood in the 80s there was a “dented can” discount grocery store where whole foods is now. I had the impression it had not be there long. I was curious what preceded it. I know back in the 20’s there was a Safeway where the Starbucks is now and a Piggly Wiggly where Music Millennium is now.

  12. Jim W.
    I took a look at news archives and saw an ad “Laurelhurst Thriftway” at 2825 E Burnside in 1985 and in 1987 there were ads for “Food-Value” at the same address, I don’t know when they changed.

  13. I think so – it was on the north side of the street – Woodyard Bros. And there was a 5 and 10 cent store (maybe a drug store) on the corner, seems like it was part of the grocery store, or at least there was interior access.
    • It was large enough that Santa was there.

  14. Thanks Judy Taylor! I just spent an hour reading about the Woodyard Bros. They converted the old streetcar barn at 2825 E Burnside to a supermarket in 1952. Prior to that they had a smaller grocery store on the corner, where Starbucks is now. The five & dime moved into that spot when the grocery store became a supermarket.

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