SW Barbur Blvd & Lowell, 1949

We’ve seen this location before in a photo from 1933. At that time the houses closest to SW Barbur Blvd at Lowell Street were being moved to make way for road construction. This photo shows the same perspective, with earlier houses long gone and further removal of hillside material, probably to construct the underpass to connect Harbor Drive with Barbur. It looks much the same today except for vegetation growth over the years.

A2005-005.55.3 SW Barbur Blvd West to houses 1949(City of Portland Archives)

SW Front & Alder, 1941

Scott Smith sent this fantastic photo, fantastic not only in the image of a long-forgotten Portland building (the city’s first brick building), but in the documentation that comes with it. I’ll let the two images tell the story. Ben Smith was Scott’s great-great uncle and the building was built by his great-great-great grandfather Joseph T. Young. Thanks again, Scott, for a real treasure!


youngscript(Scott Smith)

West Side Waterfront, 1948

Vanport City wasn’t the only flood worry in 1948 (see yesterday’s post). City crews seen here were busy sandbagging along Portland’s west side sea wall two days before the Vanport disaster. Downtown was spared but some areas on both sides of the river weren’t so lucky. Here’s what it looked like a little downriver at the Broadway Bridge.

(City of Portland Archives)

SW Columbia & 2nd, 1962

SW Columbia Street looking east to 2nd Avenue appeared borderline industrial back in 1962. The KOIN broadcasting studio on the right would move into a new high-rise tower a block to the west of this location (just to our right in this view) a couple of decades after this photo. The cornice of the Ladd Block can be seen beyond the Boyd’s coffee building on the left.

(City of Portland Archives)

Steel Bridge, 1952

This is a terrific 1952 aerial view of the Steel Bridge looking southwest across the river. It shows quite a bit of new ramp construction on the east side and gives a new perspective to this earlier post showing Harbor Drive approaches to the bridge, and the layout of nearby blocks, on the west side.

(City of Portland Archives)

Downtown and Riverfront Aerial, 1974

The area between SW Front and the river is undergoing massive changes in 1974 with the removal of Harbor Drive, construction of Tom McCall Waterfront Park and the eventual development of the Riverplace area in the lower right. A few more highrise buildings will sprout downtown in the coming years.

(City of Portland Archives)

SW Harbor Drive, 1954

Here’s another look at the long-gone-but-seldom-mourned Harbor Drive along Portland’s west side waterfront, this time looking north from the Hawthorne Bridge ramp. It’s a good view of how crammed the space was between the old Portland Public Market building and the seawall. The only thing still remaining from this scene is the seawall itself and the John Yeon-designed Portland Visitors Information Center from 1949. Even the Morrison Bridge in the background has been replaced.

(City of Portland Archives)