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Portland Then/Now: Northwest Third Ave. & West Burnside Street

Thursday, August 27, 2015


W Burnside Street near 3rd Avenue, 1965

W Burnside Street near NW 3rd Avenue, Aug. 31, 1965: City of Portland Archive. A2011-013

W Burnside Street near NW 3rd Avenue. August 26, 2015. Photo by Byron Beck.

Northwest Third Avenue and West Burnside Street is one of the major intersections in our city.

THEN: This photo, from August 31, 1963, features a view of West Burnside Street from the Northwest side of the street.

Ethel's Cafe featured meals "25-cents and up." United Clothing Co. was going strong, and the bubbling 7-Up soda sign was still..well...bubbling.  

NOW: The second photo, taken at the intersection of Northwest Third Avenue and West Burnside Street, was shot nearly 52 years later to the day.

Many of the buildings and signage still exist including the Paris Theatre and the White Stag deer sign which now touts "Portland, Oregon."  

Portland tourist hotspots, such as Voodoo Doughnuts and Saturday Market, bring plenty of folks to the area as does Dante's.

But this is also the site of the controversial Right 2 Dream Too camp and several of our citizens have set up home on the sidwalks that line these streets. 


Related Slideshow: 20 Reasons Why Portland is the Best West Coast City

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Easy Living

Not only is Portland the greatest city on the West coast, it's also the most "livable" city in the entire country, according to Monocle's 2015 Quality-of-Life survey. Portland was the only U.S. city to make the London-based lifestyle magazine's list of the top 25 most livable cities in the world, along with Tokyo, Vienna, Berlin, Melbourne and Sydney. 

Monocle used 22 metrics to rank each city including number of international travel routes, percentage of cycle commutes, and the price of a good lunch. 

While large cities like San Francisco and Seattle may offer more options for entertainment and dining, their size can also make them expensive. Portland remains the cheapest major West Coast city.

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Saving Money

Speaking of Portland's affordability, GoBankingRates.com recently named PDX the best city in the country for saving money. According to the site, Portland aka “the hipster capital” is their number one pick because of the comparatively low rent rates and no sales tax.

The study also acknowledges Portland’s bike-friendly roads, easy access to outdoor activities, and lively art scene. Their only warning, is not to spend all your money on the many breweries in the metro area.

Sorry, California. Both San Francisco and Los Angeles were ranked in the bottom 5 worst cities for saving money. 

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Cheaper Rent

Although many Portlanders complain about the rising cost of living, rent is still fairly cheap compared to our West Coast neighbors Seattle and San Francisco.

In Portland, the average one bedroom apartment costs $1,127 and the average two bedroom $1,318. 

In Seattle, the average one bedroom apartment costs $1,434 and the average two bedroom$1,907. 

And in San Fransisco- yikes! The average one bedroom apartment costs $3,100 and the average two bedroom a whopping $4,286 a month. 

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Cheaper Gas

In addition to Portland's comparatively low rent, our gas is slightly cheaper too. The average price in Portland is $3.10, Seattle $3.20, and San Francisco $3.50.

Okay, okay. I know you're close Seattle, but that extra 10 cents adds up!

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The Airport

If you're traveling by air to the Rose City this summer, you'll realize its greatness the second you step off the plane. For the third year in a row Travel & Leisure Magazine named PDX the best airport in the nation.

And not just because of our iconic carpet. PDX offers visitors a wide variety of entertainment and services from food carts to local brews and even a bike service station. The best part? No jacked up airport prices. All PDX vendors price their products the same as in their local stores. 

There's no denying our airport is wonderful. Why else would Portlanders turn its carpet design into a fashion statement? 

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Stepping out of the luxurious PDX, maybe you decide it's time for a bike ride through bridgetown. Sounds like a great idea, considering Portland is the #1 most bike-friendly city in the nation

A study by BetterDoctor.com ranked 52 American cities based on the percentage of commuters that bike to work, the number of bicycle-related fatalities in each city, and the amount of state funding allocated to biking infrastructure. 

The West Coast is the most bike-friendly area in the country, with four out of the top 10 cities belonging to Oregon and California. But alas, Portland still won, beating Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco and Seattle who was just shy of the top 10. 

Of Portland's total daily commuters, 6.14 percent go by bike, and there are 1.1 fatalities for every 10,000 people in a year. Federal transportation funds for bike and pedestrian projects in Portland equal $8.35 per capita.

Portland is also hosts the annual World Naked Bike Ride each Summer. Yes. We love cycling that much. 

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Best Beer, Most Beer

In true Portland fashion, a good bicycle ride is always followed with some great beer. And not only does portland have the best beer, we have the most beer!

Often referred to as "Beervana," Portland officially holds the title of Best Beer City in the World, according to The Beer Connoisseur magazine. Portland topped many international cities including London, Prague, Bamberg and even Munich. More importantly, Portland beat its West Coast beer competitor San Diego. 

Portland has about 85 breweries in the metro area- more than any other city- and that number rises monthly. 

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Great Streets

Portland's 5th and 6th Avenues are among the 10 greatest streets in the nation, according to a study by the American Planning Association (APA).

The avenues make up the Portland Transit Mall, and traverse through Old Town, Chinatown and Portland State University. 

APA judged streets on form and composition, character and personality, and environment and sustainable practices. 

The revitalization and renovation made along the Portland Transit Mall as part of the MAX Green Line extension helped earn 5th and 6th Avenues a spot on the list, as well as the 2009 Portland Mall Revitalization Project, which renovated 40 storefronts.

The only other West Coast street to make the list was State Street in Santa Barbara, California. 

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Best Tourism

Portland is a destination that knows how to charm its visitors. In fact, its the best quality tourism destination in the country, according to the recent U.S. Tourism Quality Performance Report produced by Resonance Consultancy. 

The report analyzed the performance of 121 U.S. destinations in 17 different areas including lodging, culture, nightlife, shopping and outdoor activities.

So if you're traveling West, forget those California and Washington cities. Portland will welcome you with open arms. 

Photo via Flickr

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Destination Weddings

With the beginning of Summer comes the beginning of Wedding season. If you're planning on getting hitched, but have a tight budget, Portland is the perfect destination. 

Portland ranks #1 on Cheapism.com's list of the 5 best U.S. cities for destination weddings on a budget. In Portland, not only can your special day be affordable, but it can be spectacular (considering you'll be spending it in one of the most beautiful cities in the world). 

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Portlanders are friends of the Earth, and our city is known for its sustainable practices. 

Portland topped Mother Nature Network's list of the nation's greenest cities, followed by San Francisco, Oakland, our brother Eugene, Berkley and Seattle.  

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Hotel Wifi

Whether you're in Portland for our ever-flowing beer or a destination wedding, (or both), you won't need to worry about the quality of your hotel Wi-Fi. 

Yes. Portland has the best hotel Wi-Fi

If that doesn't send people flocking to our city in the masses, I don't know what will. 

Portland received a Wi-Fi high quality test score of 66.7 percent, topping HotelWiFiTest.com's list of cities with the best hotel Wi-Fi. 

So come one, come all with you iPhones and Computers. Portland hotels are ready. 

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Food Carts

Home to over 600 food carts of all cultural varieties, Portland is often referred to as "The Food Cart Capital of the World." The food carts are one of the largest tourist attractions and offer some of the best cuisine in the city.  

A CNN report named Portland's street food the best in the world. 

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Portland is home to Powell's Books, the largest independently owned new and used bookstore in the world. Since its establishment in 1971, tourists and Portlanders alike flock to Powell's in numbers for great literature and literary events

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Our Skyline

The City of Portland has height restrictions for how tall developers can build in certain areas of the city. For this reason, we can always see beautiful Mt. Hood looming in the distance. 

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Portland has been ranked the 2nd nerdiest city in America, and proudly embraces it. The city has the most comic book stores per population and hosts the bustling Rose City Comic Con.

Dark Horse Comics is also located here, and many “live action role-playing” opportunities exist as well. 

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Shop Tax Free

Portlanders are used to Oregon's no sales tax law, but for those traveling out-of-state it's quite the thrill. 

If you're planning on going on a shopping spree over your Summer vacation, come to Portland and save some money. 

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Largest Urban Park

Just west of Downtown Portland stretches Forest Park, the nation’s largest urban park. It’s 5,000 plus acres offer all types of outdoor activities.

Seriously. Portland's proximity to nature and beautiful hikes is astounding. 

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Physical Activity

Despite the large quantities of beer Portlanders consume, we're still the 2nd best city in the country for living an active lifestyle. 

WalletHub ranked the 100 most populated cities in the U.S. based on how well they accommodate or encourage an active lifestyle, from the average monthly fitness club fee to the number of sports clubs per capita. 

With Portland's bike-friendly nature, abundance of parks and close proximity to the mountains it's no surprise we ranked so high. But who beat us? Omaha, Nebraska. 

Meanwhile, Seattle ranked #12, San Diego #18 and Sacramento #31. 

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We're Weird

Portland is the city where a man can dress up as a kilt-wearing, bagpipe-playing, fire-shooting, unicycling Darth Vader and nobody takes a second look. If that doesn't make Portland the greatest city this side of the Rockies, what does?

Keep Portland Weird. 


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