21 March 2010

[pdx] The Sandy-Couch-Burnside Couplet Cometh: A Piece Of PDX, Going Away …

… that particular piece being the two blocks of NE Sandy Blvd between NE 12th Avenue and NE 14th Avenue, as the area we like to call the Six Points East is going to become the eastern anchor to the new Burnside-Couch One-Way couplet that feeds down to the so-called Burnside Bridgehead at MLK and the Bridge.

East Burnside Street will be one-way eastbound from MLK to NE 14th Avenue, where eastbound traffic to Sandy will be routed.

NE Couch will peel westbound traffic off NE Sandy Blvd at 14th Avenue and route that traffic to the bridge via the zero-hundred block of NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

The 1200 and 1300 Blocks of NE Sandy Blvd will cease to be – along with the business frontage of Northwest Fitness.

The following series of images depict new views of Portland and views that you won't be able to see after the middle of next month without breaking major traffic laws. I debated breaking this up, but I'll put it all in one post, the better to find as a landing zone. Maybe I'll break it apart at some future time.

The new overblades on the street signal overheads now not only carry the new Clearview font and design style but also the iconic Portland rose that has so far been seen on the slightly-older overblades.

The numbered avenue overblade. The block number is not shown because it's obvious that 12th Avenue defines the 1200 block. Clearview and rose.

Lloyd Center Union (not next to Lloyd Center, and not a Union 76 Station) is a auto service garage that's been at the corner of NE 12th and Couch for as long as anyone can remember. Maybe it was once a Union 76 station, I don't know. For a long time it was painted just like one, and had to carry a sign saying that no gas was available was there. The blue-and-orange sign over the blue garage door on the left there is a remnant of that livery. Traffic in front of Lloyd Center Union is going to get very busy soon – but just westbound.

This is the view you'll see running westbound down Couch as you approach NE 11th Avenue from now on as you drive toward the Burnside Bridge. From now, on, to view it the way you used to … that is to say, like this:

You'll be breaking major traffic laws, as well as just putting yourself into bodily harm. Speaking of which, I did stand for a few minutes in the very middle of East Burnside Street … but there was no traffic, as you can see. This is the beauty of taking pictures in Portland, Oregon, on a Sunday morning.

A friend from my past called Portland "The City That Always Sleeps". Here, we haven't yet unrolled the sidewalks.

NE 11th between Burnside and Couch. Nice to know that Cthulhu's minions represent. Of course, the Lower Burnside crowd can be kind of rough sometimes, so they get a run for their money. Best you just retire to Union Jack's around the corner, look at the nekkid laydees, and knock back a drink or two.

Here's something else you're going to see more of now that you'll be going down to the bridge on NE Couch Street – it's called Norse Hall. Been there since the 1920s, I understand. Big ol' clubhouse, meeting space, that sort of thing. Across the street …

… at 100 NE 11th Avenue, is German Formula, another auto shop for das Volksvagen amongst other fine examples of German engineering. Well kept and maintained, it exults in its birthday – 1929.

The signs you'll see next are ones that will be certainly made obsolete by the new street alignment – they're landmarks, and they show their age.

There will be no need for this sort of direction when the width of Burnside is all going one way and there's no Sandy Boulevard between 12th and 14th Avenues.

The silver poles holding up these signs are warhorses, stalwarts, and have rust on spots, but where other places they'd look like wear, here, they're badges of honor.

This bit of road will soon be a bit of history.

That old sign over 12th Avenue is probably going to be replaced. It certainly needs to. But I enjoy it. And the driver of that car probably thinks I'm a nut for standing in the middle of the street in front of him and taking pix. And maybe he's right. Who knows?

Another thing that will change … that's the 1300 block of Burnside, and that car on the left would otherwise be found one block north from here.

I gave the fellow fifteen cents. It was all I had to give him, but I don't think you should have to beg for coffee in Portland. Seems just as unjust as having to make your living by begging that way anyway. I hope he found his cuppa.

Another look at the bit of Sandy that will cease to be. If you turn 180 degrees, you see something people aren't generally aware of … and that's Southeast Sandy Blvd.

It goes down the hill until the true beginning of Sandy, which is SE 7th Avenue and Washington Street. Up until now it was good to know; you just went straight though and before you knew it, you were on SE Morrison Street or Belmont, if you wanted. Now, it'll take two extra turns and a couple more traffic lights.

The new traffic flow to Sandy will be eastbound on Burnside until 14th Avenue, then north a block, behind Northwest Fitness. The new street is being improved:

That side of the Northwest Fitness building, I'm told, is to be – as far as the address goes, anyway – the new front to the building. One thing that probably won't change is the old Sandy Hut Tavern:

… which will be sitting, prow-like, at the Couch-Sandy wedge for a while to come yet, by the looks of things.

The Excecutive Lodge – which may or may not cater to actual executives – is across from here, and has a bit of vintage neon on the side:

… all Color TV Air Conditioned. Now, my friends, that's luxury. And the only way you'll get this viewpoint from now forward is on foot.

The Portland Bottling Co. building has been in the news lately, because of what some company did to the landmark 7-Up sign up top. I sure wish they'd of left that alone; I'm not about to go looking for that tea bottle just because they put it up there. The sign is dead to me. But the architecture of the building is so very Art Deco, that I'm glad they didn't cover it up. It's like looking at an old, well preserved car.

I feel like I'm looking at an old Terraplane when I see this side of the building.

I don't care what anyone else says; thats a face at corner of the building. It's hungry. And it's coming for me.

Art Deco detail, 1920s style type. What's not to get lost in over here? As architectures go, Portland Bottling Company is a collectors item, a grubby gem.

Here's a new street blade at 13th and Couch that combines the border from the earliest new-style blades with the type structure of the later ones.

Here's a crossing signal that is definitely going away …

As is that one.

And here's one more image of the bit of Sandy that's going away:

From that two-armed signal gantry to the limit of sight, that's a major Portland throughfare that's going away, in the name of progress, development, or something.

I myself shall miss it when it's gone. Six Points East was an annoying, amusing intersection – but there's worse things in life than having to wait though it (at least if you aren't late for something). And it's an authentic Portland quirk, rather than all the manufactured ones you see so much of these days.

Well, I hope the new Burnside-Couch couplet does all the things they say it's going to do.

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t.a. said...

it was ugliness in service of cars. i won't miss it. they could dismantle the Marquam Bridge for the same reason. and all of I5. and....

you get the drift. i'm looking forward to whatever change they make.

Samuel John Klein said...

I totally see your point and take it. I don't think you're at all wrong to feel that way about it actually.

It just resonates differently with me, growing up in the drivers seats and back seats of cars and such. I also love the completeness of a street whether or not I'm car-centered about it. It kind of offends mein a gentle way: there's going to be a broken line where there should be a solid one.

I have quite a few sentimental feelings about it. Some well placed … some, maybe not so well. That's life.

Hall of Records said...

It does look like a hungry mouth coming to eat you! Thanks for this!

C. Holmes said...

"Nice to know that Cthulhu's minions represent."

You see that sticker, dear Watson? The CTHULHU one? The font used is called Greenbeans, made by a designer named Tup Wanders. Does that name ring a bell, Watson? Exactly. There was a post about his website on this blog earlier. Chances are, the one who writes the blog is the minion as well. Elementary, dear Watson.