28 January 2009

How Portland Grew

1930.Here is a very interesting map detailing how the City of Portland grew by annexations, broken down over decades from the city's inception:

Clicky here to embiggen. The Portland that our parents and grandparents knew was pretty much that area in yellow, orange, and red in the middle. Growth continued but slowed during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s (the smaller bits round that hot central area) then really started galloping to the north and east mostly as the area between Portland and Gresham got gobbled up in a mere 10-year span (1985-1995, approximately) and the floodplain of the Columbia at about the same time.

The reddest part there, in the middle covering Old Town and today's Downtown district approximates, unless I am very much mistaken, the old Donation Land Claims of Captain Couch (north of Ankeny Street) and the Lovejoy/Pettygrove partnership (south of Ankeny Street)

The small red-orange quadrilateral touching the river in today's Lloyd district might approximate the old city of Albina: the part of the great orange area south of today's Banfield Freeway approximate the former City of East Portland.

You can get your own PDF copy of this map by going to the Bureau of Planning and Sustainable Development's annexations web page here and looking for the link that downloads the document. It's at the bottom of the third paragraph, and reads historical map of large annexations to the City of Portland (or you can just click that link there–dialup users warning; it's 2.8 MB)

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Dale said...

It's surprising just how small this city once was, and not so long ago.

I look at the color boundaries as you move east and think, wow, that used to be the city's easternmost edge.


Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Yeah. That is something that's kind of perspective generating.

When I first moved into Portland, if you were east of 82nd, that was pretty much outside of town (except, of course, for Lents, but Lents wasn't fashionable yet. Nobody much talked abot it then).

I'm a visual sort, which means I respond to shapes. I think some shapes are more 'attractive' than others. The red, yellow, and orange areas combine to form the profile of the city limits through the mid-20th century and remained looking a lot like that through that time. I liked the way Portland was this squarish city with a handle on the upper left (the 'leg' that stretched to St Johns). All straight lines and angles.

I don't think the current city limits footprint is as cool, but I still like it, and I like the way the Columbia has provided that sinuous curve at the top, along with the down-hanging part on the southwest. Not as cool as the smaller shape, but every bit as interesting.