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Portland Then/Now: NW Couch St. & Second Ave.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

 

NW Couch St.

NW Couch St. and 2nd Ave., 1976, City of Portland Archives: A2011-018.278

NW Couch St.

Northwest Couch St. and Second Ave. May, 2015. Photo by Byron Beck.

Portland Then/Now: NW Couch St. & Second Ave.

THEN:  Often neighborhoods can go through drastic changes and, due to those changes, many of its most beloved buildings and business ended up going bye-bye, relegated to rubble. Those businesses end up as nothing more than a memory for those lucky enough to witness it when it was "alive." It's happened to many businesses near downtown Portland's waterfront.

But it did not seem to happen to Oregon Leather Company (120 NW 2nd Ave., (503) 228-4105) or its surrounding neighborhood. Here is a photo of the leather's goods iconic signage as it was seen on Northwest Couch Street in the year of the Bicenntennial, 1976.  

NOW: According to a comment on vintageportland.com  most, if not all the surrounding buildings, near Oregon Leather Co. have survived the decades but their use have drastically changed. "In 1976 directly across Couch was a second hand store and above it a flop house hotel with cribs from the 1900’s," says the comment. "It was used by drug addicts and prostitutes. Not long after this picture was taken the junk store moved and the Portland Police Museum set up temporary exhibits in the space. The hotel was gutted and Shelton House was remodeled for the Key Largo night club."  

The Museum of the Shanghai Tunnels, dedicated to one of Portland's most infamous underground attractions, allows visitors to the see what the area was like before the 1970's.  As for the most recent photo, it's interesting to note is how much smaller the automobiles have become including a super-compact Car-To-Go. Also interesting to note is how little the time-warpish interior of the Oregon Leather Co. has changed as well. 

 

Related Slideshow: 15 Types of Hipsters You’ll Meet in Portland

Portlanders don't fit into one stereotypical hipster box. We are all so different from one another, the only thing we have in common is not being "main stream." Here are 15 different types of hipsters you'll meet in Portland. 

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The "classic" Hipster

Oh the classic hipster - the one we all know and love.

The classic can be spotted wearing a flannel shirt with rolled up sleeves and a nice watch, while scratching his beard and adjusting his classes behind the counter at your local coffee shop, or poking her red-lip adorned face from behind an art history book.

The classic hipsters like hops in their beer and kale in their smoothies. Catch them at the Crystal Ballroom on a Friday night - Washed Out is playing! 

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The "brooding bartender" Hipster

First things first: the brooding bartender hipster is not just a bartender, he's an artist. He is "too good" for bartending but does it to pay the bills, and he's constantly annoyed with "those drunk A holes at the bar." 

He closes the bar after a long night and drinks a shot of whiskey for the bike ride home. He works on his art by candle light until the break of dawn. Only then will sleep overtake his troubled mind. 

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The "writer" hipster

"What do you do?" 

"I'm a writer."

If city council had a penny for everytime this interaction has happened between two Portlanders, we wouldn't need a street fee.

You can spot the writer through a cracked apartment window in Northwest Portland, smoking cigarettes, hunched over a typewriter, (because he's THAT much of a hipster), typing vigorously away at 4 am. He's just so close to finishing his memoir.  

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The "free spirit" hipster

The free spirit hipster's deepest darkest secret is that she used to be a basic bitch. She was the freshman in college who got white girl wasted off of vodka shots while dancing on a table in a mini skirt and belting out lyrics to a Taylor Swift song with her bff. 

But that was a different life. 

Over the years music festivals, weed, and a fair amount of psychedelics made her into the free spirited woman she is today. You can spot her rocking a maxi skirt and feather tattoos at your local artisinal herbal tea shop. 

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The "organic backyard farmer" hipster

The organic backyard farmer hipster is a master chef and she likes to tell you about how every ingredient in the dinner she made is fresh from her back yard. Whole foods' organic produce just doesn't cut it for her. She's about as "farm to table" as they get. 

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The "outdoorsman" hipster

The outdoorsman hipster makes you feel a little bad for watching T.V., staying inside or even sitting down at all. After work each day he's out to catch the last few hours of daylight mountain biking, hiking, or at least planning his weekend backpacking trip.  If you're the lazy type  you probably won't see him very much, but he'll always be down to grab a craft beer.

Beers and biking am I right?

Photo credit: Photo by Zach Dischner via Flickr

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The "music junkie" hipster

The music junkie hipster is the one who knew about that band you like way before it was popular. She works at Everyday Music dowtown and can talk your ear off about music all day. She's a little grunge with some trendy fashion forward flare and you can spot her grabbing beers and smoking cigarettes after work with the boys. She's also the lead singer in a garage band and sleeps in a Cobain T-shirt at night. 

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The "I hate Portlandia" Portland native hipster

Portlandia is the home-grown Portland hipster's worst nightmare. They don't think Portlandia represents the city well and pride themselves on the fact that they're Portland natives who really knew the city before it became so "popular and gentrified." The Portland native loves to brag about being a Portland native - plain and simple. They'd also hate to be called a hipster. 

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The "California" hipster

"I just can't go back to San Francisco, there's just too many people."

Portlanders hate the California hipsters who move here without jobs so they can retire early in a more affordable city. The California hipsters "just had to get out" and are quick to disown their home state and adopt Portland as their new domain. But they'll never stop mentioning how they used to live in California. 

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The "Tech" hipster

Portland is a hot spot for the tech savvy hipster. He can be spotted in a fitted suit with argyle socks and a skinny tie, perfectly swooshed hair and thick-rimmed glasses, heading to his job at Intel with an espresso in one hand and a kale smoothie in the other. 

We're not talking about a tech nerd here, rather a tech hipster. 

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The "I work at a start-up" hipster

Portland is a mecca for start-up companies, and hipsters flock to them like basic bitches flock to starbucks. Hipsters are "creatives" and start-ups are the perfect outlet to let one's creativy prosper. 

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The "self-absorbed" hipster

The self-absorbed hipster is not someone you like, but that's okay because they have plenty of love for themselves. Some hipsters pride themselves on being SO creative and SO unique and artistic that they feel superior to all the "normal" people. 

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The "my life is perfect" hipster

The "my life is perfect" hipsters are a unique breed. They have a spouse, a dog and take strolls with their families to the city market on Saturday mornings to buy the most expensive ingredients for their vegan dinner. They have the perfect balance between work, exercise and entertainment and they have the time to make sure they only buy locally made products. They're typically beautiful people with a keen, off-beat sense of style. They're the people you just love to hate. 

You can spot them at the Saturday Market buying ingredients for their juice cleanse with their German Shephard, Winifred, after they've been on their 10 mile morning run. 

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The "classic literature and foreign films" hipster

This hipster will want to discuss classic novels with you over a couple martinis and take you home to watch their favorite French film. Whether or not you know what they're talking about won't matter, because he or she will do all the talking for you. 

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The "I'm over Portland" hipster

This is the hipster who is so hipster they're too cool for Portland. This hipster thinks that Portland has been invaded and overrun with transplants and gentrified to the point of no return. 

Time to move to Detriot

 
 

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