AHC’s Long Shadow of Urban Renewal

3rd and Montgomery, 1940. Photo courtesy Oregon Historical Society.

A new exhibit at the Architectural Heritage Center examines the rise, fall, redevelopment and future of South Portland looking at the logic and motivations of city leaders, beginning in the 1950s, whose redevelopment efforts focused on the future at the expense of the city’s past and present.

These ambitions impacted residents, businesses and property owners in one of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods, but it steered a stagnant, conservative city toward a modernist and meticulously planned aesthetic.

In 2020, a section of Portland near the Willamette River and south of downtown was re-designated as the city’s new “South” quadrant, mostly aimed at making it easier for people to navigate the area.

This designation alludes back to an era in the first half of the last century when this area and the surrounding neighborhoods were part of the city’s most ethnically diverse community and commonly referred to as South Portland.

South Portland and the Long Shadow of Urban Renewal opens November 7 at the Architectural Heritage Center, 701 SE Grand Ave. The AHC is at visitahc.org.

AHC’s Long Shadow of Urban Renewal

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