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PORTLANDIA PORTLANDIA is a zine created by andrew lindley and sam roth to illuminate historical and cultural events and places in portland, oregon in a visually stimulating manner. enjoy.

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a brief history of hawthorne hawthorne go by streetcar the pearl district sources

your favorite street


Early Hawthorne a brief look into the rise of your favorite street

In the 1880’s The east side of portland’s industry began to surpass that of the westside. More and more street cars were being built due to their effeciancy and reliability compared to their horse drawn predecessors. Hawthorne blvd. previously known as Asylum ave. was named after Dr. Hawthorne who had operated the Hospital for the Insane which closed in 1883. The residences of SE Portland thought that Asylum ave was an unattractive and irrelevant name that should be changed to honor the Doctor. Soon after this there was a boom in streetcar activity. The Morrison st. Bridge was completed for its street car line and the then suburbs were finding that they had a lack of transportation connecting to West Portland. Residence of these neighborhoods found it more effecient to walk to

downtown than to rely on horse drawn carriages. In 1888 The Mount Tabor Railway CO. completed the Hawthorne street car line running from 5th to 50th. In three years it continued growing along 50th and eventually connected to the Lents neighborhoods in the south east. To the west the Madison St Bridge was completed (later replaced by the Hawthorne Bridge) and connected to the city center. The east side only expanded after that and commerce began to move further and further east. Much of the development along Hawthorne was mixed use and allowed for small apartments to line the streets above their businesses. Most of these businesses were small locally owned shops that created a draw from the large stores of Downtown. This attraction remains today. Oregon Historical Society photo #000692

“Electric wires and automobiles already clutter Portland’s Hawthorne Ave. at 35th, tracks lead to Mt . Tabor.” View looking east, 1926.

HAWTHORNE The Hawthorne Neighborhood is a gem in the heart of Southeast Portland, Where old and young come to live in a calm, relaxing environment. The laid back feel spawns from the business center’s heart between 30th and 39th on Hawthorne blvd. No matter the weather the streets are always full of foot, automobile and bicycle traffic. SE Hawthorne is humble in its presentation but holds trend setting businesses like American Apparel, Bishops Hair Salon and GQ magazine’s top 50 pick Local 35. The businesses along Hawthorne are almost exclusively local and the ones that are not do their very best to fit in. Fred Meyer has recently remodeled to accomidate an expansive organic food section and a sushi train.

The Lifestyle that comes along with the Hawthorne neighborhood is one that is sought after, and thousands visit every week to experience it. Many residence live off of Hawthorne in lovely homes and can escape quickly from the hustle and bustle of the main boulevard to quaint yards and parks. Those who live on Hawthorne though are lucky to experience one of two living situations; there are the appartments left from long ago that hold all of the charm and style from the turn of the century, or there are brand new apartments that speak modern design and continue Hawthorns development into the 21st Century. The mixture of old bildings, new townhomes and converted houses, makes Hawthorne a unique and stimulating place to be. Everyone takes themselves just seriously enough to stay in business while having a great time and creating a wonderful shopping, working and living

environment. There are few vacant properties and those that become available are quickly snatched up. Many people get creative when utilizing their properties and portland appreciates that. These alternative and care free practices promote a comfortable setting in which both professionals and wayward youth can interact freely. El Pato Feliz or The Happy Duck is a somewhat new food cart (bus) that rests in the parking lot of an empty auto shop. During the lunch hour you can find people ranging from teeneagers who forgot to go to school to businessmen who need a quick bite, most of whom arrive on bicycles. Portland is a forerunner in the bicycling community and Hawthorne is filled with alternative commuters and casual bicyclists. Although it is not a “bike highway” many cyclers end up on Hawthorne before after or during work. Hawthorne’s charm is largely credited to its simple architecture and mix of buildings that hold its businesses. A majority of the buildings remain from the days of the street car. These buildings are simple taller rectangular buildings either built from mortar, wood, or brick. The majority of the other buildings were built during economic booms in the 20’s and during and post WW2 in the 40’s and 50’s.

. The streetcar’s success eventually led to its demise. Hawthorne was such hub of activity that the roads leading to its center at 39th were rapidly improved which led to a large amount of use when automobiles became prevelant between 1913 and 1920. The roads needed to be widened and became less h ospitible for foot traffic. ALthough one of the longest lived, the Hawthorne streetcar had to be phased out to make way for personal vehicles. As automobile traffic grew, Hawthorne’s center condensed. Instead of having a long streetcar line with businesses lining its route, shops began gravitating towards a layout that was more conducive to parking and shopping by foot. with this condensed shopping style and a looming economic downturn in the 30’s many large homes were converted to businesses and you can still find a large amount of beautiful homes that hold one or more, shops or restaurants.




In the last 10 years Portland’s street car has had a budding revival and has begun to spread across the metropolitan area again. Included in the 1988 Central City Plan, the new street car was developed to connect Good Samaritan Hospital to Portland State University. The west side street car did not have its first rider until 2001. The route was strategically sent through the rapidly growing Pearl District and has since continued down to the South Waterfront and is soon to open new routes on the east side. The streetcar shuffles around Portlandians quite nicely and because of this it stimulates growth immensely. The streetcar acts like an irrigation system for urban growth, between 2001 and 2008 nearly two thirds of Central Portland’s development has happened adjacent to the streetcar lines. In development most sites utilize around 40% of their floor area ratio (FAR), Those along the street car have utilized over 90%. The Pearl District holds an interesting mix of residential and commercial space and much of it is concentrated along the street car line between Burnside and Marshall. This stretch of line holds a large amount of mixed use properties as on Hawthorne but in a much larger scale.

The Pearl picked up where Hawthorne left off, and ran away. The ideas of these two street car neighborhoods are rooted in the same place but because of timing, funding, and public support have gone two different directions.

The Pearl has embraced high rise condominiums and national retailers. The commercial businesses benefited immensely from the street car. The owner and founder of Portland’s Powell’s City of Books Michael Powell once claimed that he did a study and in 2001 counted 3 pedestrians per hour and in 2008 counted over 900 per hour. He admits that the street car was an important factor in this and is why he is such a strong supporter of Portland’s streetcar initiative.

Powell’s is a local favorite and a landmark of Portland but many of the stores you find here can be found in upscale malls and mold The Pearl’s “elite” image. For many The Pearl is a place to go window shopping, the high price points and expensive eateries create an exclusivity and really only cater to those from the neighborhood and the suburbs.

This exclusivity makes The Pearl an attraction for those with a bit more money and are looking to spend it.

Restaurants act as a destination to spend an evening rather than to catch a quick bite. Restauraunts Like Fenouil cater to those looking for long meals with friends and lovers. It is not unheard of for people to spend over three hours enjoying themselves at Fenouil, and there is never a shortage of fine wines and exquisite edibles.

Fenouil is in a prime location, it’s front entrance is located on the edge of Jamison square and the park flows nicely into Fenouil’s quaint patio and large entrance.

The incorporation of nature into the pearl has been an unending quest by urban planners and architects. Urban neighborhoods like The Pearl can turn into forboding urban jungles very quickly. There has been a large effort to not lose the feeling of nature among this environment of metal and concrete.

Urban parks are the initial solution to this. Jamison Square and Tanner Springs Park are two beautiful parks dedicated to restoring a feeling of nature to The Pearl. Both parks lie between 10th and 11th and are points of interest to streetcar riders. Jamison Square is more a plaza than a park and takes an abstract approach to representing nature. In the winter it appears to be an expanse of stone and concrete divided by a low lying wall. During the brief beautiful summers of Portland the water is turned on and the square turns into an ebbing and flowing wadding pool.

Tanner Springs on the other hand takes a much more literal approach to implanting natural environments. The park is a beautiful installation of wetlands and could be mistaken as a vacant lot to the unobservant eye. This is the point, it is an attempt to implant a natural ecosystem into a harsh urban environment. And it is quite succesful, one can observe many forms of wildlife at any time, and that does not mean dogs.

Sources Fares Please! Those Portland Trolley Years, John T. Labbe Portland Streetcar System Concept Plan, Portland City Council Historic Context, prepared by Hawthorne Blvd. Transportation Improvement Projects City of Portland, Beareu of Planning Historical Images from Oregon Historical Society thank you to the library of LDL FASLA


a brief look into Portland's Streetcar and the neighborhoods it has affected.

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