Less than two weeks after finishing a two-day, 12½-mile hike on Burnside Street between Portland’s city limits,
I was on the road again to explore another iconic Portland thoroughfare. This time it was historic Broadway.
Even though this street is quite different from Burnside in some ways, in other ways is has a lot in common with its transversal sister: they act as a borders between different sections of Portland, they host their fair share of historic buildings, they both have a namesake bridge across the Willamette River,
they unite the eastern and western sides of the city, they pass through numerous Portland neighborhoods,
and last (and maybe least), they both have their own Wikipedia article.
For this shorter one-day outing, I decided to start at the very beginning of Broadway, at its intersection with SW Vista Avenue, in the Portland Heights section of the Southwest Hills
neighborhood. From there I walked 5.7 miles along Broadway to NE Sandy Boulevard. From that intersection, NE Broadway continues for another 2.75 miles further east up to the I-205,
but it is almost completely residential and not particularly interesting or historic, so I skipped that section.
There are three distinct sections of Broadway along this 5.7-mile route, and each has a look and feel quite different from the others. The first section, from SW Vista Avenue to the I-405
is quite hilly and has a somewhat rural feel. It was hard to believe that I was only a mile (as the crow flies) or less from the hustle and bustle of downtown.
After crossing the I-405, I traversed, from south to north, the handful of districts which make up downtown Portland. First was the Portland State University
campus (south of Columbia Street), then central downtown (between Columbia and Burnside
Streets). North of Burnside, Broadway forms the border between the Pearl District
to the west and Old Town Chinatown
to the east. This downtown section is the heart of historic Broadway.
Once I crossed the Willamette River on the historic (built 1913) Broadway Bridge
to the eastern part of the city, Broadway ran east-west instead of north-south. It is actually this part of Broadway which gave its name to both the bridge and the street through downtown, which used to be called 7th Avenue. This eastern section feels more like the suburbs, and even though it was settle not too long after downtown, it doesn’t have the historic essence which you experience in the actual city center.
Like many times before, I was the country bumpkin in the Big City,
gawking at all the amazing sights with gaping jaw and shutter snapping. I took a moderate 247 photos that day, but because there were so many wonderful sights to capture, a whopping 133 ended up in this album, including 23 black and white images.
As usual, I have spent many days writing extensive captions which explain the details of each shot. Furthermore, as usual, I have plotted the identity of each building I photographed in a Google Earth file which you can download here.
Hint: be sure to enable the 3D Buildings option. For more details about this Google Earth file, see my article A Portland Google Earth Companion.