Portland Then & Now

Old photos of Portland, rephotographed in 2012/2013 by The Oregonian. We’ll be posting new photos weekly throughout the summer. To submit your own photo, message us on Facebook.

  1. Seen in the mid 1940s, this is The Oregonian building that stood for decades at Southwest Sixth Avenue and Alder Street. The nine-story building (the clock tower added another three stories to the prominent structure) was built in 1892. 

    In 1948, the newspaper moved to its present location; a full-block building bounded by Southwest Broadway, Sixth Ave, Jefferson and Columbia streets.  The building was designed by Pietro Belluschi. The block was previously home to the William S. Ladd mansion, which had been demolished around 1925.

    The old building remained vacant from 1948 until it was torn down in 1950.  The clock, made by E. Howard & Co. of Boston stopped at 12:30 p.m. Friday, July 30, 1948.

    A parking garage now stands where it once stood.

    Published Aug 28, 2013   ♥ 15
  2. Original caption published February 5, 1978:

    Blight Removal? A proposed city of Portland project would remove all buildings on four blocks including this one at Northeast Union Avenue and Skidmore Street, for development aimed at bringing jobs to the depressed Albina area. The Neighborhood is divided on the project.

    On March 24, 1978, Nordstrom dropped plans to build a distribution center on the site, citing neighborhood opposition.

    January 2013: A residential building (taller structure) stands where Pollock Motors once was. Miracles Club Apartments provides alcohol- and drug-free housing  for people with at least 12 months of sobriety. The first tenants moved into the 40-unit building on N.E. Martin Luther King Blvd. in 2011.

    Published Aug 21, 2013   ♥ 4
  3. 1954: Alexandra Court hotel, 125 N.W. 20th Place. The 114-unit hotel was recently transformed into 66 apartments. The dining room was closed and later turned into apartments by owner A. C. Kirtsis.

    2013: Alexandra Court Apartments.

    Published Aug 14, 2013   ♥ 6
  4. Patrons of the Collins View district, south of downtown Portland, dedicated the Collins View School in 1937. The school was built for about $50,000. It had a big auditorium, gym, three classrooms, health room, library, manual training department and cafeteria. The school closed in 1976 and was later used for community activities.

    The school is now Riverdale High School.  The Riverdale School District bought the building from the city of Portland in 2001 for $2.5 million plus monthly rent of $10,000 on a 20-year lease. The high school is at 9727 S.W. Terwilliger Blvd.

    Published Aug 7, 2013   ♥ 3
  5. The historic Barber Block building at 532 S.E. Grand Ave. has been an eastside fixture since 1890. The three-story building was built by mortician Edward Holman, for his father-in-law, Henry Barber, also in the funeral business. The ground floor was designed for business use; the upper floors were sleeping quarters. The Barber & Hill mortuary firm occupied the corner space of the building until it was sold in 1919. Several other ground-floor tenants have been housed in the building since. They include a drug store, a nickelodeon theater, multiple restaurants, and most recently a bank. Photo taken 1977.


    Now: The Barber Block building’s lower level is for lease. The upper floors are still residential.

    Published Jul 31, 2013   ♥ 8
  6. December 1963: Portland police patrolman Eugene Keck has worked the area of SW 3rd Avenue and SW Salmon Street for the past 16 years and knows it well.

    Today: The Lotus Card Room and Cafe, established in 1924, still occupies the same street corner.

    Published Jul 24, 2013   ♥ 20
  7. The East Side industrial area includes housing, such as these old homes near Southeast Seventh Avenue and Harrison Street.  Photo taken 1977. Back in the late 1800s, this block, later nicknamed “Firehouse Row,” was the site of volunteer firefighting company, Grant Engine Company No. 2.  When East Portland consolidated with the City of Portland, the volunteer companies were folded into the Portland Fire Bureau. The Queen Anne style homes, constructed in 1893, served as residences for the station’s employees.   The white building in the photos was constructed in 1913 for Engine 23. The building stopped operating as a firehouse in 1962. Jack T. Hogan purchased the building from the city for $25,000 in 1973. Hogan used the property to house antique cars. 

    May 2013: Cannabliss, a medical marijuana club, moved into the building in 2011.

    Published Jul 17, 2013   ♥ 7
  8. August 1989: The Alano Club, a former doctor’s mansion built in NW Portland in 1906, stands in ruins after a three-alarm fire gutted the club for recovering alcoholics. The cause of the fire was a cigarette.

    May 2013: The Alano Club at NW 24th Avenue and NW Kearney Street.

    Published Jul 10, 2013   ♥ 8
  9. November 25, 1956: A refurbishing of the Commodore Hotel, SW Morrison St. and SW 16th Ave., that included adding a self-operating elevator was in its final stages by the end of 1956.

    March 1984: The Commodore was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. In that same year the vacant hotel received approval from the Portland Development Commission to renovate the building into studio and one-bedroom apartments. The renovation was overseen by the Historical Landmarks Commission so that the facade of the art deco building would be preserved.

    The Commodore, May 2013

    Published Jul 3, 2013   ♥ 4
  10. The horses refused to drink from the Skidmore fountain at a scheduled refreshment stop during the Front avenue dedication parade in 1942.

    The Skidmore fountain located near the west end of the Burnside Bridge at SW First and Ankeny streets is Portlands’ oldest piece of public art. The MAX Light Rail line runs past it and has a stop named after the 1888 bronze fountain.

    Published Jun 26, 2013   ♥ 13
  11. Broadway north from Salmon street in 1915 -

    An example of early Portland architecture was this home of pioneer Charlotte Terwilliger  Moffett Cartwright located on 7th (SW Broadway) at Salmon.

    Jackson Tower (with clock)  was formerly the home of The Oregon Journal. Located on the corner of Broadway and Yamhill, it is now adjacent to Pioneer Courthouse Square.

    Published Jun 19, 2013   ♥ 6
  12. The block between SW Columbia and Jefferson circa 1950, home to some venerable Front Avenue junk shops.

    The building at SW Naito and Columbia is now Umpqua Bank Plaza.

    Published Jun 12, 2013   ♥ 4
  13. June 7, 1931. This $15,000 modernistic type building was erected by Henry Weinhard company at 12th and NW Couch and leased to the Smith Auto Parts company. The building was designed and built by the Charles W. Ertz company.

    West Elm, located at 1201 NW Couch is a local home furnishing and home decor store located in the Pearl’s brewery blocks.

    Published Jun 5, 2013   ♥ 3
  14. December 1963. The Circle Theater and other businesses occupy this half block on the east side of SW 4th avenue between Washington and Alder.

    Today, this location is home to a parking structure with a store front of shops on the ground level.

    Published May 29, 2013   ♥ 13
  15. 1950: The Benjamin Franklin Federal Savings and Loan building at NE 40th and Sandy Blvd. was built in colonial style architecture reminiscent of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. The Rankin building on the left would soon be remodeled to become the home of a new restaurant called Poor Richards.

    Published May 22, 2013   ♥ 1