19 thoughts on “Harbor Drive, 1949

  1. Harbor Wall was long since complete, but the river was still an active sanitary/industrial sewer. What was this land doing for 20 years?

  2. The is a interesting Image captured of the beginning in the mid twentieth century transformation of the cities “Living Room”.

  3. Portland Gas and Cokes Gas holder tank there by the bridge. Later the site of Northwest Naturals HQ building. Now the site of ODOT region 1 HQ.

  4. Harbor Drive, a heavily-traveled semi-freeway along the west side of the Willamette River in the 1950s. It was an always-busy main thoroughfare in downtown Portland when I was a kid. At one point as you passed the twin-towered Oregon Journal Bldg. along the westside waterfront you could look right into the building’s large windows facing Harbor Drive and see the huge rotary web presses printing the latest edition. Very exciting! I always looked while Dad kept his eyes on the busy road.

  5. The VP photo on January 6, 2021 shows that in 1941 the buildings in the area where this road construction is happening had been removed. My comment from 2021 detailed that in 1943 this area was a transportation hub for shipyard workers on the Willamette river and Vancouver WA. Two surplus ferries had been purchased from San Francisco and were used to transport workers to Oregon Shipyard in St Johns and the Swan Island Shipyard, with the ferries leaving from the foot of NW Davis Street. Vancouver Shipyard workers traveled by a train that left from the foot of NW Everett Street. Newspaper stories from this time wrote about the ferries and train, but I don’t believe I have seen any photos of the transportation hub. Perhaps VP archives has some photos.

  6. Dennis, Thanks for supplying this information about how the shipyard workers got to work. I always wondered. My Mom, who worked downtown in the Pittock Block during the war years, always talked about how busy and crowded the busses were in those days with all the shipyard workers coming and going on and off shift.

  7. As a bit of extra trivia related to the transportation hub on the Willamette during WW II, there was also ferry service to Kaiser shipyard in Vancouver using barges instead of ferry boats.

    Oregonian April 1942
    Towboat Concern Buys River Tract
    Purchase of about 85 acres of land by Russell Towboat & Moorage Co. from Anna B. Johnson for use as a parking area and ferry dock on the south shore of the Columbia river, opposite the Kaiser Vancouver shipyard, was reported Friday at the Multnomah county courthouse.
    The land lies between Columbia Edgewater Country club and Sunderland road. About 20 acres of it is to be used for parking area. A waiting room is to be erected for workmen, who will be ferried across the river on covered barges, which are to be fitted up for carrying 600 men per trip. The barges will be pushed by tugs, and the service is to be started in June, according to present plans.

    Later stories reported that a contract was awarded to extend Sunderland Rd. from NE Columbia blvd. to the ferry terminal on the Columbia River.
    Henry Kaiser also had buses constructed to carry workers to shipyards and ferry terminals, but these were not traditional buses, but were semi trucks with passenger trailers that could transport 110 to 145 people.

  8. Dennis, good old American ingenuity at work to solve immediate problems. Something we have sadly lost in today’s world. If in WW2 we were doing things as we do today. the ferry service would still be under study in 1946.

  9. Thanks Dennis for casting some light on the strange layout of Sunderland Rd. I have spent a lot of time in that area while riding my bike between I-5 and the Troutdale area. In the area where the parking lot for Kaiser workers probably was, Sunderland is only about 10 feet west of NE 33rd and is used mostly by bicyclists. Further south, Sunderland reappears from under NE 33rd as that road heads SSE and Sunderland goes straight south. It sounds like Sunderland was constructed north of Columbia Blvd was a quick solution to transport Kaiser workers to the barge docks at the Columbia River. At some later time NE 33rd replaced Sunderland as the thoroughfare between Columbia Blvd and Marine Drive.

  10. The transportation hub explains all the cars, the ferry, the Broadway up, the traffic on the Steel–I agree Ron, looks like our current maritime museum at work. Even the truck in motion looks ready to shuttle thirty workers somewhere.

    Being a bridge lift operator must have been a lot busier and way more stressful in those days.

  11. Dennis, when I joined the Army 1969 the transportation used to move us raw recruits, from in processing to our Basic Combat Training units was by the same semi and trailer with no seating just standing. we called them Sardine cans .

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