Stop 01

Stop 1: NW Lovejoy & 9th.
Our tour starts in The Pearl District, on the West Side of Portland, near the Broadway Bridge at NW Lovejoy & 9th. We’re waiting for a train headed East, over the Broadway Bridge.

Moon Shadow Glass, of Sandy, OR, did the glass etching on all the streetcar stops.

They can now accurately reproduce photographic images in glass.

Stacy and Witbeck was the general contractor for the original Portland Streetcar Project and provided streetcar extensions for the Eastside Loop.

The “Pearl District” was coined by a local gallery owner, to suggest that some of its urban decay industrial buildings were like crusty oysters, and that the galleries and artists’ lofts within were like pearls.

Hoyt Realty Group has developed more than 50% of the Pearl District. The area used to be abandoned rail yards and “brownfields,” and is now home to 14 mixed use and condominium buildings, as well as restaurants, retail, galleries, parks and other attractions.

Vintage Portland has an aerial shot from 1939. The Lovejoy ramp meets the Broadway Bridge at the top. Union Station is to the right.

We’re about 3 blocks from the “Y” in the bridge. The 17 blocks between the Willamette River to Interstate 405 was once packed with warehouses and train yards.

Oregon once had one of the most extensive streetcar systems in the United States. OPB has some vintage footage of streetcars and a nice collection of photos.

Richard Thompson may have the definitive collection of trolley photos and has written several books about Trolleys in Portland and the region. Here’s some vintage footage of Portland trolley operations.

Recently TriMet announced a $12 million budget hole that required the elimination of downtown’s Fareless Square as well as numerous service cuts, all while raising ticket prices.

Get your buck ready for the Streetcar. We’re headed East!

We’ll pass by the Albers Mill building on the left. Albers Mill is home to the Oregon Wheat Commission, the Wheat Marketing Center and other tenants in the wheat and agriculture industry.

Portland is the nation’s largest wheat exporter and has long, colorful history. Barney Blalock has a terrific Pictorial History of the Portland waterfront (below).

According to the Center for Economic Development and Research, the Columbia/Snake River navigation system is the nation’s top export gateway for wheat and barley. It is also the number one export gateway for wood and mineral bulk exports from the West Coast, as well as for automobile imports. Marine traffic passing the entrance of the Columbia River has increased by 34 percent; from 32 million tons in 2003 to 42 million tons in 2010.

The opening of Albers Mill in 1911 rode the boom that began in 1885; when the railroads arrival brought wheat to the Portland shipping docks from Central and Eastern Oregon.

Grain elevators on the Willamette River are used to load wheat and barley for the Asian and Middle Eastern markets. Half of the nation’s wheat exports flow through Portland and Puget Sound ports. The Eastside elevator was a joint venture between Cargill and Louis Dreyfus, two of the world’s largest private companies, which did business under the name CLD.

Louis Dreyfus (LD) assumed full control over the Broadway grain elevator this year, but with a longshoremen contract expiring this October, managers of Northwest grain terminals are preparing for an epic showdown, reports the Oregonian.

The ILWU (Longshoreman’s Union) signed more employer-friendly terms at the Export Grain Terminal in Longview and Kalama Export Company at the Port of Kalama.

Now the Grain Handlers Association and the ILWU are battling over new labor contracts at United Grain in Vancouver, Columbia Grain (at Portland’s terminal 5) and Louis Dreyfus Commodities (just north of the Steel Bridge) and Temco’s terminal (further north, on our left, on the East side of the Broadway bridge).

The world’s four largest grain companies – Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge, Cargill, and Louis Dreyfus, (the “ABCDs”), collectively control anywhere from 75 to 90 percent of global grain trade.

Development of Portland west side of the Willamette began in the 1840s with the first docks to service the young port town. Before long steam engines had hammered in thousands of pilings and by the early 1900s nearly the entire waterfront from the Hawthorne Bridge to the Broadway Bridge consisted of pile-supported docks, warehouses and boardwalks.

NEXT: Stop #2, NE Weidler and Ross