Stop 02

Stop 2: NE Weidler and Ross Avenue.

We have just crossed over the Broadway Bridge and our streetcar has arrived on the East side. Just like 60 years ago.

Portland Railway, Light and Power opened the Broadway Line in August, 1903. In 1906, Portland Railway, Light and Power took over the hodgepodge of private rail companies and grew until the city ranked as the third-largest narrow-gauge street railway system in the nation.

In 1906, they operated 40 lines over 172 miles of track. The name, Portland General Electric (PGE), remained in use as a division of the trolley company and, after subsequent reorganizations in 1930 and 1940, eventually PGE became once again fully independent as a power utility company.

Our Skoda and United Streetcar vehicles are easier to board and more comfortable to ride than those 40’s era streetcars. The 99 year-old Broadway Bridge, however, needed major renovation to carry the new load.

Mowat Construction removed a portion of the concrete road deck and sidewalk. Balancing the draw span required utilizing 500,000 pounds of concrete block weights strategically placed and adjusted as renovation progressed.

David Evans and Associates provided engineering assistance for the rehabilitation of the Broadway Bridge replacing the steel open-grid deck with a new fiber-reinforced polymer deck system. Work to repair the non-slip coating on both sidewalks of the Broadway Bridge will begin September 24, 2012. This work is scheduled to take two weeks.

Elcon provided System Design including cost estimating and signal engineering for the Streetcar project. LTK helped with the final design, specification and procurement of the new streetcars, the traction electrification system, traffic signal interfaces and a streetcar maintenance facility.

Portland Public Schools headquarters, a big orange building is to our left, behind the trees. PPS was founded in 1851, and has some 47,000 students in 81 schools, the largest school district in the Pacific Northwest.

Our first stop on the East side is near the Leftbank Project, which is straight ahead from our traffic island stop. Left Bank provides innovative work spaces for Portland’s mission-focused community and has a popular cafe.

In 1923, during Prohibition, Portland’s most prominent architect, A.E. Doyle designed the Hazelwood building (now Left Bank). The building housed a bakery, restaurants, and was home to Portland’s premier jazz club. In 1923, the same year the building went up, the Paramount Apartments (to the left) were built.

The Left Bank Annex, straight ahead at 101 Weidler, is an extension of the Left Bank site. The Annex was a machine shop for WWII airplane parts in a previous life.

Two large-scale public artworks were funded through the 2 percent for art for the Eastside Streetcar.

Jorge Pardo is creating a sculptural shelter at the east end of the Broadway Bridge near Weidler. Inversion: Plus Minus, a pair of sculptures on Grand Avenue near the on-ramps for the Hawthorne and Morrison Bridges (below) was created by Lead Pencil Studio.

To the North is the lower Albina Neighborhood with limited housing but an historical architecture heritage.

Vintage Portland has this 1947 shot of the Union Pacific Albina yards. The old roundhouse and most of the railroad buildings are gone except for the iconic 1887 smokestack which was refurbished.

Looking ahead, just to our left is the Econolodge. The Leftband Project, a community of mission-driven tenants is straight ahead one block. Leftbank is fully leased to creative-class tenants such as the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition sponsors walks. The cafe is open M-F.

To our right is the Memorial Coliseum (below) and the Rose Garden Area.

The Memorial Coliseum was the home court of the Portland Trail Blazers. Three NBA Finals have been played in the Coliseum; in 1977 (when the Trail Blazers won) and in 1990 and 1992. Construction began on the nearby Rose Garden soon after the 1992 NBA finals, and it became the team’s home arena when it opened in 1995.

Negotiations with the Portland Winterhawks to renovate the place could collapse, reports The Oregonian. Paul Allen’s Portland Arena Management are months behind schedule negotiating a potential $31.5 million deal. The Winterhawks are willing to commit $10 million toward the renovation, but team officials want to play at the coliseum for 20 years.

Two light rail stations also serve the arenas to the south. A MAX Yellow Line is the first stop northbound on the Interstate MAX. About 200 yards away is the Rose Quarter Transit Center’s MAX station, where transfers to the eastbound MAX Blue and Red lines are possible. Several bus lines also serve the transit center.

The nearby Rose Garden is the primary indoor sports arena in Portland. It is suitable for large indoor events of all sorts, including basketball, ice hockey, rodeos, circuses, conventions, ice shows, concerts, and dramatic productions. The arena has a capacity of 20,000 spectators

The primary scoreboard is a Mitsubishi-manufactured high definition video scoreboard, which hangs from the ceiling over center court, features four 15 feet by 22.5 feet (4.5 m by 6.75 m) video screens, among the biggest in the NBA. The arena also features over 650 television monitors placed throughout, showing the action on court.

In 1976, Portland became the first American city to host a team in the Western Hockey League. The Portland Winter Hawks have racked up numerous pennants and playoff championships and are the go to source for America’s National Hockey League recruiting.

We passed by Interstate Avenue, and will pass over Interstate 5, a few blocks ahead.

NEXT: Stop #3, NE Weidler and 2nd