» Politics and other things

Abandoned Places

(30 posts)
  • Started 5 years ago by missing_kskd
  • Latest reply from don_from_salem


  1. missing_kskd

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    Was just visiting this very interesting and beautiful online community, looking for Chernobyl photos. Thought I would share a great time sink with all of you.

    As a kid, I would go to these kinds of places with friends and just look and wonder. In rural Oregon, there are plenty of things to be seen. In a way, it's a bit like being an archologist, but without all the dirt and digging! Once in a blue moon, if the opportunity presents itself, I'll still do it, following the mantra: look with intent, but change nothing.

    (not supposed to be there, but then again, there is no harm in looking, if that is all that is really done)

    My last trip was the old building at the Grotto. On the West end, windows and doors had been broken. I took a walk through that wing, being careful to avoid the caretaker in the center where things were still maintained.

    Posted on May 25, 2009 - 11:24 AM #
  2. motozak3

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    Have you ever ridden the (former) I-205 Transitway?

    It was going to be a busway along the stretch of 205 between Clackamas Town Centre and what is currently the Sumner Park & Ride in the mid-1970s. Only parts of it were actually constructed before the plans were junked, favouring Light Rail instead.

    (Ironically, light rail was reportedly part of the I205TW plans from the very beginning!)

    You can access (as far as I am aware) almost the entire stretch of the busway that was actually constructed, including the east part of the road where the MAX lines run now above I-84 (the "fenced in" road you may have noticed just off the right of way of the north-bound side of 205), as part of the Sumner-to-Glisan bike run. Part of the road,--especially in the canyon east of Rocky Butte--is, in fact, now used *specifically for* the bike run. The I-84 overpass section was divided in half: the west half is where the MAX trains run and the east half is the bike area.

    See and,-122.5662&spn=0.01,0.01&t=h&q=45.5067,-122.5662 (hint: zoom way in and look somewhat NNE of Rocky Butte. The link is from the Wikipaedia page and whomever posted it actually shows a housing area south of RB, on the southbound side of 205.....)

    It's a weird phenomenon, really. There seems to be something rather amusing (and enlightening) about riding old roads that have either long been abandoned for vehicle use, or were never finished and just left there, neglected, in their last-known constructed state only to gradually decay in the sun, weather and elements until some odd kid from "up north" comes down on a bike decades later, takes it on and discovers said road is still very much a useful thoroughfare. I guess the old abandoned roads must inherently have more charm than newer, current ones. I've never quite been able to figure it out myself.........

    Posted on May 27, 2009 - 03:05 PM #
  3. paulwalker

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    Not Portland, sorry, but in Seattle there is some great "unfinished" roadway at the arboreatum off Hwy 520 (floating bridge near the UW). At one time there was to be another north-south freeway on the eastside of Seattle. The interchanges were built at this location in the 1960's, but the freeway was cancelled. The onramps and offramps still are there but have never been used.

    Posted on May 27, 2009 - 03:50 PM #
  4. Amus

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    Several years ago I was visiting my in-laws while they stayed at an RV park adjacent to what used to be Pixieland (off Hwy 18 near Otis).

    Blackberry bushes were consuming the rides I remembered as a kid.
    I was able to identify foundations of some of the buildings, and the concrete supports for the log flume ride

    It was very eerie.

    Posted on May 27, 2009 - 04:34 PM #
  5. skeptical

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    Seattle had that famous unfinished freeway multi-lane overpass that sat unfinished over I-5 about a mile south of the downtown area for about 30 years. No ramps leading to or from it. It came down in the 90's, didn't it?

    Posted on May 27, 2009 - 04:40 PM #
  6. paulwalker

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    Skeptical, yes I think a lot of that was demolished, but some of it was incorporated into the I-5/I-90 interchange in the late 80's when the new I-90 floating bridge opened after some 25 years of delays. Welcome to Seattle.

    Posted on May 27, 2009 - 05:18 PM #
  7. missing_kskd

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    I checked that out in the early 90's, I think. Whenever it was, the Pixie Land sign was still there.

    Very creepy then.

    Posted on May 27, 2009 - 09:23 PM #
  8. I had one of those moments this weekend. We hiked to the upper chute at Laurel Hill on Mt. Hood. Laurel Hill is an extremely steep part of the old Barlow Road which was part of the Oregon Trail. It's a short walk from Highway 26 and well worth a visit. The reason I mention this is that part of the walking trail from 26 is made up of the abandoned old Mt. Hood Loop Highway. There's a sign that says it was built in the 20s and connected with the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway. What I really wanted to know is when the road was abandoned but the sign didn't say. The pavement is in good shape where it isn't overgrown with weeds, and the yellow center line is still fairly visible. I thought it would be fascinating to just follow the old road to see where it leads! I'd love to see a map showing the route of that old road.

    Posted on May 27, 2009 - 10:06 PM #
  9. edselehr

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    I absolutely love investigating old roadways! It's interesting to see how things used to be, what alignments old roads took, etc. It reveals a lot about history and is only a layer or two below the surface - if you know how to see it.

    The Mt. Hood Freeway makes for a fascinating story. All the design work, right-of-way acquisition, and partially built interchanges are still out there. Unless you understand the entire Mt. Hood Freeway story, so much of the stuff you see along the alignment in SE Portland just seems weird. Slowly, they are erasing the evidence, though. Remember the porcupine set of offramps on the east end of the Marquam before they rebuilt it back in the early '90s? Every wonder why westbound I-84 exits off of itself near Rocky Butte? And what's up with that weird arching loop on the Mt Hood Expressway just outside Gresham? This web page has some answers:


    Posted on May 27, 2009 - 10:20 PM #
  10. edselehr

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    Just downhill from there, take the road that juts off to the south (at the east end of the serpentine section of road) and you'll find another section of the old Mt. Hood Freeway. Also very cool!

    I think the old highway wasn't a particular road, but rather was a route to take up to the mountain, so it might wind through Brightwood, Marmot, and then wind up into Sandy, onto Orient drive (itself a 'highway' which replaced the old Bluff Road route) and into Gresham via Powell (which is still OR 26). Nothing obliterates old roadways like a four-lane slicing through the landscape.

    (Totally a side note: the two double-sided billboards on OR 26 between Gresham and Sandy were courtesy of Measure 37, when the owner claimed loss of value by not being able to erect billboards as she could have when she bought the land in '46. Funny thing is, the 4-lane expressway didn't exist in '46, in fact no roadway was in that location. So, her land had no billboard value in '46. Where was the so-called 'lost value?)

    Oh, here's a kind-of related link to old roadways: This guy is in Portland if you want to buy one of his billboards - and you have a 10x20 wall to mount it on.


    Posted on May 27, 2009 - 10:32 PM #
  11. missing_kskd

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    I'm glad I'm not the only one. I love old roadways too.

    Thanks for the billboards link.

    Posted on May 28, 2009 - 08:35 AM #
  12. Alfredo_T

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    Last fall, I went on a "dead Portland freeways" bike ride. This was a tour of the sites for various canceled and decommissioned freeway projects ranging from the close of WWII to the present. The guy who organized this was a transportation history buff, and he had done quite a bit of research on the subject.

    Many of the things we saw were new to me, as I have only lived in the Portland area since 1998, years after most of these projects were scrapped or demolished. For instance, I didn't know that in the 1950s and '60s, what is now Waterfront Park was Harbor Drive, a stretch of I5. I5 traffic used to go across the river over the Morrison Bridge, until it was rerouted to the Marquam bridge around 1966. Nor, did I know that the remnants of rail under the Hawthorne Bridge were part of an east-west electric railway. It's too bad that the old electric railway systems had to be demolished, only to be re-incarnated decades later (as MAX) at a cost of billions of dollars.

    Posted on May 28, 2009 - 09:23 AM #
  13. tadc

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    Wow, add me to the list - we should have an old-road-nerd party.

    Numerous random comments:

    My university (OIT in glorious Klamath Falls OR) has a series of utility tunnels that connect all the various buildings, underground. When I was a student there, I was the student telecom technician, so I had access to a great set of keys that would open almost anything. We spent many an hour exploring the tunnels, finding the strange entrances (one door in the back of a closet which was in turn in the back of a storage room), observing as the tunnels reduced from standing-height to crouching-height to crawling-height, and then there was the one that just disappeared down into a pool of standing water!

    On a related note, the Lava Beds National Monument (near KF, just across the border in California) is great for underground exploring. There are miles and miles of underground lava tube caverns that twist, turn, climb, dive and intersect. Even some "ice caves" that harbor frozen lakes year round!

    Re: the 205 transitway - I used to ride that bike route from Oregon City to Vancouver as a kid, and I was fascinated by the 'ghost underpass' located near Holgate. I think it's been incorporated into the Max ROW now.

    Scott re: the Mt Hood Loop hwy - I know exactly the place you're talking about. In fact I *did* follow the road, and it rejoins the new highway unspectactularly a few curves up the hill - if you know where to look you can see the spot while driving by.

    You can also find (and actually drive on) the westward continuation of the old hwy on the other side of the new road cut that severs it - several miles downhill from Laurel hill there's a road called "Kiwanis Camp rd" that veers off to the North from the main hwy, which was apparently the old loop hwy right-of-way. You can follow it almost all the way to the point where the new hwy cuts through, and IIRC there's even a short stub that you can walk right up to the roadbed of the new hwy, complete with a small bridge. In fact that section of the old hwy is shown on Google maps!

    Just west of Government Camp there's also a section that veers off to the north which is quickly blocked to car traffic but can be followed for some distance.

    Further up the hill, after you turn off onto OR-35, (and near the "Pioneer Woman's Grave" sign IIRC) is a nice driveable section of the old loop hwy with a serious harpin turn. See here:,-122.699567&sspn=0.013831,0.026093&ie=UTF8&cd=1&geocode=FfZhswIdA9u8-A&split=0&ll=45.280367,-121.704333&spn=0.013906,0.026093&t=h&z=16

    There's also a section of the old Barlow Road near there that is car-accessible, and other remnants that you can trace through the woods. Neat!

    Coincidentally I was just exploring the Orient drive and Bluff Rd area last weekend.

    I'm not so sure about I-5 routing over the Morrison though... prior to the Marquam opening, what was then called the "Salem Freeway" would have routed onto Harbor Drive and eventually crossed the river on the Steel Bridge before continuing as Interstate Ave.

    On a related note, I love looking at old roadmaps and I have a small collection I've sourced from Ebay.

    Last thing (promise) - anyone ever noticed how rediculously oversized the Kerby Ave offramp from the Fremont bridge is(and how strange it is for a 2-lane demi-freeway to peter out to a stop sign)? This was apparently a stub for a never-built freeway through NorthEast Portland.

    Posted on May 28, 2009 - 02:53 PM #
  14. Wow, what a great thread! Thanks for all the info everyone!

    Posted on May 28, 2009 - 03:15 PM #
  15. Skybill9

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    I 2nd Scott and everybody else's sentiment! Excellent thread.

    I love exploring.

    Lots of times, I'll take off in the Land Cruiser up in the hills and just drive. If I see an old logging road I've never been on, I'll run it out and see where it ends!

    Same thing around town. There are lots of routes that I've driven for years that may have a road or street off of them that I've never been down. Sometime I'll just go that way to see where it leads.

    One of my favorite times I went exploring was back in the late 60's or early 70's. Our family as well as several other families from our Boy Scout troop would drive from St. Louis to Pensacola, FL for Easter break.

    We would camp at Ft. Pickens State Park. The old fort there is where Geronimo was imprisoned there in the late 1860's.

    There is a guided tour (at least there was in when I was there) that took you through some of the places that were still in good shape. However, several of my friends and I sort of snuck into some of the closed off areas and explored them.

    It was pretty cool.

    Now I have some new places to go find! Thanks everyone!

    Posted on May 28, 2009 - 03:46 PM #
  16. Alfredo_T

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    I'm not so sure about I-5 routing over the Morrison though... prior to the Marquam opening, what was then called the "Salem Freeway" would have routed onto Harbor Drive and eventually crossed the river on the Steel Bridge before continuing as Interstate Ave.

    You're right: the freeway crossed the Willammette on the Steel Bridge, rather than the Morrison Bridge. See . This also puts into perspective the relative importance of the (Real Don) Steel Bridge during KISN's heyday.

    Posted on May 28, 2009 - 04:30 PM #
  17. edselehr

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    Next time you are up at the Pioneer Woman's grave, look over at the other side of the road and you'll see an original chunk of the Oregon Trail. There's a creek crossing with a V-cut in the bank and piles of boulders either side. With a keen eye you can follow the old path of the trail a short ways. Apparently, there is another section in the wooded traffic island between OR 26 and the Ski Bowl parking lot. Don't look for wagon ruts; instead, look carefully for a shallow U-shaped swale in the ground where the oxen walked.

    Scott, I forgot to mention that you need to look at the trees around Laural Hill. You'll find rope burns on them to this day where they had to lower the wagons down the steep hill.

    Another 'ghost freeway' of sorts in in NE where the US 30 West offramps appear to put you on a new freeway, but then you just end up on Yeon. I-505 was to be built along the western edge of the NE industrial area, but died (along with most of the proposed freeway projects of the early '70s) after the death of the Mt. Hood Freeway. We've built no new freeways in Portland since I-205 was completed.

    More trivia: Sounds like some of us have tried to locate old trolly lines. You can follow the old Hawthorne line by looking at the shapes of intersections such as Hawthorne and 52nd, or Woodstock and 72nd, where the intersection is unusually wide or angled to accomodate a trolly going around a corner.

    Fun Stuff! If you're a local history/car/roadway/civics geek.

    Posted on May 29, 2009 - 04:57 PM #
  18. Wasn't I-405 supposed to go through NE Portland and end at I-205? I know it was supposed to be longer than it is.

    I also know Salem was supposed to have an I-305 which eventually became the Salem Parkway. That was another one that bit the dust during the freeway revolts.

    Posted on May 29, 2009 - 09:10 PM #
  19. jimbo

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    There are actually a few of us around here that drove some of these roads before the changes took place.......Harbor Drive, original freeways, etc.
    I-84 started and stopped at Union/Grand. Going westbound, you would ride it to the end and get off at either the Burnside exit or the Holladay street exit. Holladay would take you across the Steel Bridge and down Harbor Drive. The Burnside exit (actually Union Ave. exit) was just prior the the Holladay exit and dumped you on Union or you could go through to Grand. Turning right onto Union, you would cross the freeway and go to the Burnside Bridge or continue on. You would get on the freeway eastbound by going south on Union past Burnside and taking a right at the first road and loop around the buildings and get right on the freeway.

    When you crossed the interstate bridge, went past the Jantzen Beach amusement park and swimming pools (and Waddles), the road would split. Going straight would go down to a split where Interstate and Denver avenue met. If you did not go straight, you would veer to the left and that was the start of 99E, Union Avenue.
    If you followed Interstate, you would cross the Steel Bridge and go down Harbor drive, which went behind the Journal Building. eventually, that met up with the Baldock freeway (Salem). Eventually, they put in the Minnesota Freeway which basically killed off businesses on Interstate Ave.

    The 205 freeway was another one that got all screwed up between Foster and the Columbia River. That and the Mt. Hood Freeway east of 205. Goldshmidt screwed that one up. I-205 got rid of the Longhorn out on Sandy. That was an interesting place. The Cauthers house, and their CC station, was where the northern 205/84 interchange is.

    I used to ride the electric busses that many times, after turning a corner, the driver would have to get out and go around to the back and reposition the arms back onto the overhead electric wires because they came off. They ran all over downtown. Many times, as kids, we rode the last trolley car that was in continuous operation....the Bellrose Trolley. It ran from SE 136th down to Sellwood area and up to underneath the Hawthorne Bridge which was the end of the line and also where the "yard" was. A neighbor worked the graveyard shift there and his kid and I would sometimes ride the last one down there with him and we would sleep on a car while they were maintaining them overnight and we'd ride them home in the morning. That was back in the 50's.

    Posted on May 30, 2009 - 05:07 AM #
  20. skeptical

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    Not to dig up a long dead horse and beat it again, but Goldschmidt's decision is subject to different intepretations. Had he not taken a stand, PDX would resemble Seattle's current woes -- miles and miles of freeways and nobody getting anywhere. Much of what voters like about Portland today wouldn't exist without certain visonary leaders in the 70's.

    Anyway, many people may not realize, but a very short section of Harbor Drive still exists and is still actually named "Harbor Drive."

    In the late 60's, for a while, "I-405" came off the Marquam bridge and ended at the Tunnel. It was a while before the rest of the I-405 freeway and Freemont bridge was built.

    Posted on May 30, 2009 - 06:15 AM #
  21. jr_tech

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    This article contains a decent photo of the routing of Harbor Drive and the Journal Building:

    It was "fun" whizing along at near-freeway speeds on this narrow hy between the building foundation and the "sea wall"

    Posted on May 30, 2009 - 05:07 PM #
  22. tadc

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    Posts: 201

    Thanks for the tips Ed!

    I've been up to Laurel hill a few times and looked for rope burns, but I've never seen any. I'd read somewhere that most of the well-marked trees had been cut and hauled away to various personal basements/'museums'.

    Re: old trolly lines shaping the roadmap- there's a great example at N. Killingsworth and Greeley - the building on the NE corner is built in the shape of a quarter-circle to accomodate the trolly making the turn from Killingsworth to Greeley.

    Posted on June 1, 2009 - 01:48 PM #
  23. tadc--As an old NoPo kid, I'm glad to see someone else acknowledge that corner. Another similar favorite of mine is SE 72nd & Woodstock, where the same effect is accomplished for the same reason.

    As for streets that were platted, but never cut through, look at a PDX map and see how Grand Ave. supposed extended into Sellwood, but never really did. From 1974 to 1976, I lived on SE 9th & Ochoco. How does this relate to radio, you might ask???? Doug LaMear was our next-door neighbor. When he bought our apartment house, my wife demanded that we move.

    Posted on June 1, 2009 - 08:59 PM #
  24. Dan_Packard

    Posts: 491

    Hey Don,

    I know someone else that lives in those neat old apt's. It's a beautiful area.

    Like Seattle and Los Angeles, Portland had an intricate web of streetcar lines wend their way thru the city. Now, here are a couple more abandoned traces of the streetcar line that snaked thru inner SE Portland. Next to Cleveland high school, at the SE corner of SE 26th and Powell, the streetcar curved Southeastward to get up to SE 28th & Kelton. Zoom in to the satellite view of this Google map,

    The other abandoned location for this same line is at SE 41st and Holgate, it cut thru an alleyway as it proceeded up SE 41st avenue on a smooth uphill grade,,-122.618998&spn=0.001873,0.004372&t=h&z=18

    Notice the triangular shape of the buildings to accommodate the streetcar. A different era, back then. Clang, clang. Maybe the abandoned lines will come back again as we see plans moving forward for a new streetcar line on the east side.

    Posted on June 2, 2009 - 11:10 AM #
  25. skeptical

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    Speaking of streetcars, it was GM, among other automakers, that pushed to get streetcars off the roads. Look who is off the road now.

    Posted on June 2, 2009 - 10:21 PM #
  26. tadc

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    Posts: 201

    Don - perhaps you can answer this question for me - what happened to the streetcar once Greeley ended at Lombard? Was that the end of the line?

    Posted on June 3, 2009 - 11:13 AM #
  27. Andy_brown

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    The other abandoned location for this same line is at SE 41st and Holgate, it cut thru an alleyway as it proceeded up SE 41st avenue on a smooth uphill grade

    I always wondered about that alley and the corner building. SE 41st between Holgate and Woodstock is very wide and could easily accomodate rails again. But with Light Rail coming through the railroad right of way being very close to this, it's unlikely.

    Posted on June 3, 2009 - 11:24 AM #
  28. tadc - I just found my uncle's 1921 Vest Pocket Guide to the city of Portland, Oregon. It says that the S-J--St. Johns streetcar continued on from Greeley then Lombard, Wall, Fessenden and Jersey to Philadelphia. Back then, Fessenden included both what is still Fessenden and what is now St. Louis Ave. Also Jersey St. was renamed as Lombard circa 1970 for the sake of continuity. The end of the line would be "Downtown" St. Johns.

    Posted on June 3, 2009 - 12:35 PM #
  29. edselehr

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    Thanks for the Google Map links Dan (I gotta learn how to do that).

    There are a couple odd corners along MLK, one on the SE corner where it intersects Couch, another at the SW corner where it intersects Ankeney. Trolly turns again, I assume?

    Posted on June 3, 2009 - 07:03 PM #
  30. edselehr - I can't say; my uncle's guide doesn't seem to mention those corners on any streetcar routes. But your speculation is believable.

    Posted on June 3, 2009 - 11:09 PM #

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