The PDX Remember-When Game!

April 17, 2008

Everyone gets to participate! The older the memory, the more cred you get for being Portland-indigenous.

  • Remember when Lloyd Center was open to the sky? It got rainy in there. I have a photo of me with the Easter Bunny there when I was about three or four.
  • Remember when they imploded that building downtown to make room for Pioneer Place?
  • Remember Powell’s before the expansion? Extra credit: remember when the children’s section was in the present Gold room? Extra extra credit: do you remember shopping in the kid’s section when you were a kid? How about the Catbird Seat bookstore above the present location of Columbia Sportswear downtown?
  • Did you attend the arrival of Portlandia, downtown in the rain? “It was installed in September 1985 after being floated up the Willamette River on a barge.” (Wikipedia)
  • Do you remember the waterfront before the Harborside/Riverplace development?
  • Did you shop at Finnegan’s toys when you were younger? And can anyone (besides me) remember “City Kids” in, I think, the current location of the Great Harvest Bread Co. in Yamhill Market? And, for that matter, anyone recall actually shopping in the Yamhill Market?

Abstract Fremont Bridge

Which of the places listed below are currently still in their original location as of, oh, the early- to mid- ’80s or so? Discuss.

  1. Nordstrom’s (downtown)
  2. The Children’s Museum
  3. Camera World
  4. Central Library
  5. The Bijou Cafe
  6. The Old Spaghetti Factory

Speaking of all of this, am I the only person who misses the former Psycho Safeway at SW 10th & Jefferson? It’s all a heap of condos now and when we drive by I have to turn my head and tell myself not to look over there because it’s just going to be weird.


  1. tODD says:

    I have no native credit, but I have been here for ten years, so I can tell stories about how much the inner West side has changed.

    Yes, I sort of miss Psycho Safeway. I was in that part of town recently, and when I saw those condos, I couldn’t figure out what they’d replaced, so drastic was the change. Heck, lots of areas of downtown have gotten a lot less crappy since I got here (parts of Goose Hollow and southern downtown, especially).

    But mostly, I miss what the Pearl once was. When I moved here, it seemed to be a really interesting area with lots of free-roaming wild art installations — clearly having moved from the realm of seedy into that part of the cycle where things are run down but interesting, arty. Now that cycle has, inevitably, moved into the overpriced ridiculous phase. Bummer. Or maybe I have no idea what I’m talking about.

  2. Lyza Gardner says:

    I agree on the Pearl tip. When I first started working for Kavi (this is even as recently as 1997), we had a tiny office in a warehouse at 13th & Marshall. Across from us was the wild and dusty chaos of trainyards. The streets were barely paved. There was a fish fertilizer plant next door. Now it is very clean. I think the last straw for me was the “Mañana” Restaurant—mmmmm, corporate chain. NOM NOM.

  3. autumn says:

    i do remember lloyd center being open to the sky. it made ice skating much more wintery. i also remember when the flagship store was frederick & nelson, rather than macy’s thank you very much.

    i do remember portlandia coming to town, as well as the controversy over the architectural design of the portland building and everyone bitching about how it looked like a birthday cake. which, it does.

    i remember when bud clark was mayor and the “expose yourself to art” poster he made. the rosebud he always had tucked into his lapel.

    that we called it the rose festival mud center when the rained and rained and rained one year.

    i also remember RIDING in the monorail at santaland in the meier and frank downtown. i always thought i had hallucinated it until i took aria up there a few years ago…

  4. Lyza Gardner says:

    Monorail at Meier & Franks: CHECK! I totally remember that. And the particular smell of their gingerbread men cookies.

    We used to call the Rose Festival the “scum center.”

  5. Peat says:

    How about the original Old Spaghetti Factory? That was one of the first dining experiences I remember as a tiny kid. :)

    Lloyd Center being open to the sky. Yeah. I remember how slippery the pebble cement walkways used to get at this time of year.

    I don’t miss Psycho Safeway, but I certainly do remember it. Heh. Bad lighting and dingy linoleum.

    How about the old theater were Fox Tower is today? That place was cool. I had the opportunity to wander around inside after they shut it down .. we were installing some neon horses on the roof for Art Quake. Does that still happen?

    How about 21st + 23rd when it was just some funky shops and not a “shopping district”? I remember going to Roses to get chocolate eclaires. Also, the mechanical cash register and cigarette vending machine at Stepping Stone Cafe, where we used to have breakfast once a week before I went to computer club in elementary school.

    The monorail at Meier & Frank was hot.

  6. oh, lloyd center. i remember the great big christmas tree that would poke out of the open roof. and i remember how, when it was rainy, we would cut through the little protected part in front of the door of — was it the knife shop? — and the ground was worn from people avoiding the rain.

    i was in high school when pioneer place was imploded. it was in our yearbook!

    i shopped at the yamhill market. i distinctly remember a fudge shop.

    i didn’t attend portlandia’s installation though. it’s funny, i also don’t remember the waterfront before riverplace. i worked at the deli there (now little river cafe) through high school & college, but i don’t remember ever going before the development.

    nordstrom and the central library have been there as long as i can remember. didn’t camera world used to be on the corner of broadway and… yamhill maybe? i know the children’s museum used to be downtown. the old spaghetti factory has been there forever, yes?

    i grew up just off hawthorne and here are some things i remember:
    – that building where grand central bakery is on 23rd has been many things. it was a drugstore (rexall?), where they sold strange things like walkers and frightening dialysis equipment, though they also sold cards, and we went there to get our valentines. after that it was a very lovely plant store, it was quite the paradise. it’s where i fell in love with thyme!
    – remember the arctic circle on hawthorne? i worked there in high school.
    – remember farrell’s? bonus points for having had ‘happy birthday’ sung to you there. with the kazoos and the running around with the sundae on the waiters’ shoulders. i applied for a job there, but i was too young, sigh.

    you are not the only person who misses psycho safeway. i actually saw a mention of it in some local paper recently. i can’t stand the new one! it’s just not crazy!

  7. Lyza Gardner says:


    How about: Who’s been on Ramblin’ Rod (kid’s daily TV cartoon show produced locally)? Me: twice, at least.

  8. Brett says:

    Roses, at 23rd and Burnside, I think? I remember their foot wide cinnamon rolls and 13 layer cakes.

    The two story McDonald’s on Alder, where Rich’s Cigar is now.

    The old OMSI, where the Children’s Museum is now, by the zoo. With the walk-though giant heart, and the “Transparent Lady”

    My quiz answers:
    1. Nordstrom’s (downtown) – Yes? I think? I didn’t shop there much as a kid.
    2. The Children’s Museum – Nope this moved to the old OMSI by the forestry center.
    3. Camera World – I think yes?
    4. Central Library – Yes. It’s like a million years old.
    5. The Bijou Cafe – No?
    6. The Old Spaghetti Factory – No! This used to be downtown, a block up from Naito parkway, on like Washington street I think?

  9. Aileen says:

    I remember Roses being on 23rd and Burnside. I used to walk over for a cinnamon roll on Sunday morning. It would feed my entire family.

    I also remember when Coffee People came to 23rd and Hoyt. Their milkshakes probably accounted for an unacceptably high portion of my caloric intake during high school.

    I do not miss Pyscho Safeway. Not one bit.

  10. Peat says:

    Two story McDonalds! That was epic. Good call.

  11. autumn says:

    i realize this wasnt even all that long ago, but who was outraged over the 7up building off of halsey? first they painted it that vomit color and then turned it into becoming a freaking shrine to budweiser?

    farrells! yes! remember the trough?? if you ate the whole thing they gave you a snout?

  12. autumn says:

    also, up at the old OMSI, the planetarium? my dad told me superman lived there. seemed reasonable…

  13. Lyza Gardner says:

    Oh, I’ve got a good one. When I was a kid, I thought the Hollywood District was what they meant when they talked about “Hollywood” on TV. I thought it was THE Hollywood.

  14. Brett says:

    Farrells! I went to many birthdays there.

    Ok, Bonus points for anybody that remembers “Disco Mart” (It’s a SE thing).

  15. Brett says:

    P.S. I have a brick in Pioneer Courthouse Square.

  16. Bethany says:

    (Nod to Lyza’s Twitter icon) I’m “Actually born here sorta”. Born & raised one hour North in Kelso, WA. Now live in Oakland, CA.

    Yes to Ramblin’ Rod! I remember watching him and one time being on the show! Loved the old OMSI, many memories of visiting there, the rose garden & the zoo.

    Open Lloyd Center check! And arrival of Portlandia & controversy about the Portland Building. Fondly remember Bud Clark & expose yourself to art…

    I miss PDX. Everytime I return & look at the skyline (hello big pink!) it warms my heart. Thanks for the memories!

  17. Alan I. says:

    I miss the Widmer Brewing Company brewery and restaurant. That was my favorite place to visit on business in the early 1990′s. Now, I believe it is a shopping mall. Prost!

  18. Jolene says:

    How about the Portland Zoo entrance down by the first driveway, and the Children’s Zoo up top?!

    My Mom would take me downtown when I was a kid, and the elevators would pop up from under the sidewalks. (Watch out, gaping holes!)

    There was a parking garage downtown that would lift the cars up on an elevator and park them like a big vending machine.

    I was on Rambin Rod once, don’t forget the Smile Contest.

    When Washington Square opened, they sent double decker busses into the neighborhoods and gave the kids “pence” for penny candy you could buy at the Mall.

  19. Brett says:

    Ok, I can’t get enough. Wasn’t the Widmer Brewing place where Southpark is now? On 9th and Salmon? I miss that place too, I think I went there for Prom.

  20. tODD says:

    I miss the smell of beer being brewed downtown, back when the brewery blocks were named in a rather matter-of-fact manner.

  21. Lyza Gardner says:


    Totally. When I was a little kid (I went to preschool on the corner of Jefferson & Park–last year they mowed it down and are building condos there), I could often smell it. For some reason, I thought it was split pea soup. Why Portland would be manufacturing such massive quantities of split-pea soup was not something I considered.

    Brett: I think the corner of Park & Salmon (now Southpark) was B. Moloch (or B. Moloch’s). Deli-ish place? My mom loved the place but I for some reason did not.

  22. samgrover says:

    I’m in my ninth year in Portland now. I saw them moving the Simon Benson house into the PSU campus. Before that, it was in a dilapidated state near the campus on SW 11th. Do you remember?

  23. change sucks, i say says:

    So great to read all y’alls memories! Super cool.

    I’m didn’t get here till ’94, so I’m not that old. Big respect to y’all.

    Yesterday, after a conference I was on my way to an afterparty at a company on 7th and SE Ankeny. I said ‘oh, yeah I’ll meet you guys there, that’s near the Pine St. Theatre right?’

    Blank stares.

    Ah well.

  24. Lyza Gardner says:

    You mean La Luna? :)

  25. tODD says:

    You mean The Womb? Or Thrasher Presents on Pine St.? Yeah, it was kind of changing its name every few months there at the end.

  26. Sister says:

    Wow, this really works. Powerful nostalgia really overwhelming – especially those things on this list that, like Autumn, I sometimes think I hallucinated – things I couldn’t place for a long time growing up because the memories were too dim: the monorail, totally! and Yamhill Market and Ramblin’ Rod. Like the time I went back to – oh, what’s that cafe called, I think it’s still there in Old Town (speaking of, is Old Town Pizza still around?), that had the bridge over the stairs where we used to play billy goats gruff? with the big fish tank? (a question clearly only meant for Lyza)

    I actually always thought it *was* split-pea soup, which I still can’t eat to this day (a direct correlation). Must have been something Lyza told me once.

    Also for Lyza: remember when a “large” fries at the Hillsdale Pub came out on a cookie sheet? (And then there was Nature’s! and Winchell’s! And the old Burlingame Market! And Crane’s!!!) Wasn’t there also an Arctic Circle in Raleigh Hills?

    7-up, yes, but I’m surprised no one’s mentioned White Stag. (I still can’t call it Naito Parkway, either.) As for civic buildings, I remember when the convention center opened (Party at the Points!) and touring the Performing Arts Center with a hardhat while it was under construction. And filing papers at the old federal courthouse on Broadway and Madison.

    And the saddest thing is, I’ve been gone so long (10 years!) that there are things I don’t even realize are hard to remember now – like the original site of the Benson House, for instance, or that the Children’s Museum is *not* still down by the YWCA (I had to think twice about that one.) Do I still count as a Portlandian??

    (oh, and the downtown Nordstrom’s is now the oldest Nordstrom’s, after they moved their flagship store in Seattle. It’s the center of the universe.)

  27. autumn says:

    old town pizza is still open. on 3rd & davis. my parents were friends with the owners back in the coke snorting days of the 80′s! back when my dad worked at the last hurrah which was an under-street-level biker bar on sw washington and 6th. this, along with cheers, cemented my still currently held belief that any bar worth its salt is located under street level. theres one on 6th and clay called mummy’s with an egyptian theme. i need pals for an exploratory visit….

  28. Jolene says:

    After we rode the Monorail at Meier & Franks, we would go across the street to Frederick & Nelsons and give the Cinnamon Bear a hug. He was never quite as scary as Santa, and the Cinnamon Bear would give out cookies!

  29. jerre jean roe says:


  30. Kevin says:


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