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Portland Then/Now: Sandy Blvd. & Northeast 24th Ave.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

 

NE Sandy Blvd.

NE Sandy Boulevard looking northeast from NE 24th Ave,, August 4, 1932. City of Portland Archives: A2004-001.616

NE Sandy Boulevard and 24th Ave., 2015. Photo by Byron Beck

Portland Then/Now: Sandy Boulevard and Northeast 24th Ave.

THEN:  Deep in the summer of 1932 this stretch of Northeast Sandy was a bustling boulevard jam packed with shops that catered to the neighborhood. Toward the end of the street was a Piggly Wiggly grocery outlet (they once dotted the Portland landscape) as well as an Angel Cone ice cream shop. Barbershops, drug stores and other boutiques also thrived on this street as well.  

But the street was originally a Native American Trail. 

According to a portlandoregon.gov retail market report in 2007: "Sandy Road was developed as a diagonal access route from Troutdale to East 16th Avenue during the Settlement Era. It provided overland access to Oregon Trail immigrants and also served as a primary farm-to-market route for the rapidly expanding cities of Portland and East Portland.  In 1909, Sandy became a city street from NE 28th Avenue to 82nd Avenue. It was paved in 1912-13, after which time the streetcar track was doubled and the road was designated a “boulevard.” Sandy Road became Sandy Boulevard during the early 1900s, reflecting the eastside’s transformation from a streetcar suburb to a motor city. As the automobile evolved into the predominant mode of transportation, Sandy Boulevard redeveloped into one of Portland’s first and most spectacular auto-oriented commercial strips. Beginning in the mid-1920s, and accelerating after World War II, many grocery stores, car dealerships, and other businesses moved out of the city to the suburban strip. There they created a bustling scene where car-owning consumers could buy almost anything they needed. By moving commercial life out of the central business districts, suburban strips contributed to the economic decline of downtowns. As more people moved into the suburbs, the strips also became centers of social life."

NOW: This stretch of Sandy Boulevard is undergoing a bit of a reawakening. For many years it served primarily as a place to go check out the latest car at the various auto dealerships that lined this street. But more recently there has been an upsurge in start-up businesses such as the "community innovation lab" known as The Hatch or the nearby food-centric Ocean which has several different, independent restaurant concepts housed in a easily accessible community-friendly gathering spot. 

 

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