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Portland Then/Now: Southwest 10th Ave. and Yamhill Street

Thursday, November 13, 2014

 

SW Yamhill

SW 10th Ave. and Yamhill St., 1921. City of Portland Archives.

SW Yamhill

SW 10th Ave. and Yamhill St., 2014. Photo by Byron Beck.

Street car tracks have come, gone and come back once again to this busy downtown Portland intersection which in the 1920's featured an "electric railway" and is now where you find Portland's street cars intersecting with one of downtown's MAX Light Rail lines.   

THEN: Southwest 10th Avenue was a two-way street in 1921. Here it passes in front of the 1913 Central Library on the right, looking south from Yamhill Street.

According to "Tim M." on Vintage Portland "the “street car” tracks are actually those of the Oregon Electric Railway, an electric interurban line that ran from Portland to Eugene (51 trains a day in 1913). The tracks in this photo turn east (left) out of view on Salmon Street, then south again on Front Avenue, to stations south including Garden Home (a junction there to Beaverton, Hillsboro and Forrest Grove), Tualatin, Salem, Albany, Corvallis, Junction City and Eugene.

The OERy featured parlor car service and overnite sleeping cars on it’s “Owl” runs until 1924, when competition from automobiles and buses forced cut backs. Passenger service was discontinued in 1933."

NOW: The 21st Century saw the return of "street cars" to our cities streets including Southwest 10th Avenue.

The Portland Streetcar system, that opened in 2001 and serves areas primarily downtown Portland's core and surrounding areas, was the first new streetcar system in the United States since World War II to use modern vehicles.

The Central Library is still located on Southwest 10th Avenue, but many businesses have come and gone from the area including Jeannie's Jelly Bean card shop and several other businesses that have relocated to other spots in the city.

Now you'll find Case Study Coffee, Crafty Wonderland and the Virginia Cafe. And loads of people waiting, just like in 1921, for a street car.  

 

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