A fantastic aerial photo from circa 1938 showing old South Portland, from today’s Riverplace area and PSU campus through Duniway Park and the Veteran’s Hospital in the distance. The large industrial complex at lower center is the old Smith & Watson Iron Works, makers of cast iron architectural pieces for many of Portland’s early commercial buildings, as well as fire hydrants that can be found today.
A fantastic view of Southwest and Northwest Portland showing the route of the future Stadium Freeway. A block-wide swath between SW 13th and 14th would be leveled and excavated, and another swath between 15th and 16th in Northwest Portland would eventually fall on the path to the future Fremont Bridge.
NE Weidler Street takes a small shoo-fly to the south while the permanent overpass over the Eastbank Freeway is being built in 1962. This view looks east on a landscape that no longer exists. You can see the overpass in the upper-right of this aerial view of the construction area.
Portland stretches out from the west side to Mt. Hood in the distance in this nice 1965 aerial photo. It was a dynamic time for the city; I-5 was under construction in Northeast and North Portland and Lloyd Center and the Memorial Coliseum were recently completed. On the west side, the South Auditorium Urban Renewal District had leveled South Portland but demolition had not yet begun for I-405. The Marquam Bridge piers take shape crossing the Willamette.
It’s almost hard to imagine today’s Riverplace and South Waterfront areas looked like this almost a half century ago. Construction of the west end of the Marquam Bridge passed over property that had seen highly industrial riverfront activity since Portland’s founding over a hundred years prior to this. The area once covered by Alaska Steel is still largely undeveloped but the SW Moody Project and TriMet’s light rail line signal further development.
Here are two views of the Minnesota Freeway (I-5) construction through North Portland in 1964. Both are taken from the N. Going Street overpass; the top one looks north towards N. Alberta Street and the bottom one looks south towards N. Skidmore. Many of the homes left standing in these photos can still be found today.