Portland Alphabet District 2016 — photo 1 of 94: ‘A’ is for Alder. According to Portland Names and Neighborhoods, this was one of the original streets in the first Portland plat of 1845. It may have been adopted because of a grove of alder trees that followed the general line of the street from about 14th Avenue down to the Willamette River.
The beginning of our Portland NW 19th / 21st Avenues ABC’s is actually on 18th Avenue, because there is no street sign on the corner of SW Alder Street and 19th Avenue for me to photograph. This is the only street on our Alphabet District tour that is not in the Alphabet District — but you can’t start the alphabet with ‘B’ ! It is also the only street on the tour that is south of West Burnside Street.
The original ‘A’ Street of the original ‘Alphabet District’ was Ankeny Street — named after Alexander P. Ankeny — closer to the Willamette River. Because Ankeny Street does not extend far enough west to reach the current Alphabet District, Alder Street is on hand to fulfill that role. Fortunately it starts with the correct letter of the alphabet!
As you can see from the street sign, this location, in front of the Firefighters’ Park Memorial, is in the adjacent Goose Hollow Neighborhood. In the background, a homeless person sleeps on a ledge next to a large, historic fire bell. June 2016. Camera used: Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Panasonic Lumix 35-100mm f/2.8 zoom lens.
For further details about the story behind this photo, see the related article A Pictorial ABC of Portland’s NW Alphabet District.