A glimpse of the industrial past in Portland

Posted by Brian Schmidt
on Monday, May 22, 2017

I had the opportunity to explore Portland, Ore., earlier this year on my trip to attend Winterail 2017 in Corvallis. I spent one rainy day exploring the city, doing my best to be on some form of rail transit during the heaviest downpours. During a break from the precipitation, I found myself on the edge of the Pearl District, northeast of downtown hard along Interstate 405. There I stumbled onto one of the last remnants of Portland's one-time extensive industrial switching districts in NW 15th Avenue. Here's what I saw:

Looking south on NW 15th near NW Lovejoy, one sees the remains of a spur that once served one of the many industries in the area. Today, many of the one-time industrial buildings serve as condos and offices.

Switch points remain buried in NW 15th Avenue. It's rather foreign to think that trains once rattled down the streets that today carry BMWs and Volvos.

The modern streetcar tracks in NW Lovejoy Avenue interrupt the remnants of the industrial trackage in the street on NW 15th.

The sign at the right tells the tale of the region: these buildings are worth more as office or studio space than industrial concerns.

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