14 August 2008

[Address_Nerd] Meet Me At The Corner Of ... Aaaah ...


This is my new most favorite intersection in Portland.

Clark Rd/Alderwood Rd/Glass Plant Rd sign, Portland, Oregon

Do you see what they did there? The only clarity you have here is which one is NE Glass Plant Rd. Here's a closeup:

Glass Plant Rd/Clark Rd/Alderwood Rd closeup

Not one, but two NE Alderwood Rd blades; one seems to be doubly-named, with a "NE Clark Rd" blade perched bird-like atop it.

I mean, pray you don't get stranded at this intersection. Imagine trying to order a cab there. You'll have the dispatcher wishing hot flaming death upon you by the end of the call.

There's actually a pretty simple explanation for it all. NE Clark Road is being absorbed into the new alignment of NE Alderwood Road. This location is just west of I-205, and you can reach it by going north on NE 105th Avenue from Sandy Boulevard, then taking an extremely sharp left after you cross the Columbia Slough (NE 105th runs up against the side of I-205 at this point, and has to swing away from cardinal North).

Now, if you look at the first picture, you see how the road goes under the freeway. That short bit of road connecting this corner to NE 105th is all that there was to NE Clark Rd. It provided access from NE 105th to Glass Plant Road (and perforce the Owens-Illinois glass plant, which travellers can see from I-205 as you near the Killingsworth Street exit). That's pretty much all it did, allow traffic to get under the freeway at that point. There was never any room for addresses along it.

The complexion of the area has fundamentally changed. Alderwood Road, which began life as an extension of what was NE Cully Blvd and latterly as a road slanting though Colwood National Golf Course to connect to NE 82nd Avenue just south of its terminus at Airport Way, has been extended east over the years as the Portland International Center (that new commercial area where the IKEA store is) developed. Alderwood Road has been extended far enough east to connect to the intersection at Glass Plant Rd and Clark Rd; the intersection has been realigned and the combined road is renamed to NE Alderwood Rd, obsoleting the NE Clark Rd name. NE Glass Plant Road has also apparently been vacated north of the old intersection.

If you're a fan or streets named Clark, don't worry: theres' still a N Clark Avenue by the Willamette riverfront in lower Albina.

Why the city felt it necessary to have not one but two blades for NE Alderwood Rd is an exercise for the reader.

Tags: , , , , ,

Powered by Qumana


BJDorr said...

I think this one in Sequim, Wash. takes it all! Woodcock Rd. and Kitchen-Dick Rd.

This just goes to show the fallback on stree renaming projects that Portland city council has been obsessed with lately.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

That had me laughing out loud! Beautiful catch ... I'm surprised that more online sources don't have it.

Do you mind if I display the picture on my own blog here? Hotlinking or simply using? Otherwise, I'll direct people to look ... this just has to be seen to be believed. I see that, by your approach you seem to be a professional photog, so I at least want to credit you properly.

This just goes to show the fallback on stree renaming projects that Portland city council has been obsessed with lately.

If by that you mean that well enough should be left alone, then I couldn't agree more. The obsession with pleasing special-interest groups with significant street names sure has me soured on the idea of changing any more street names, pretty much, at all.