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Evening Rush Hour: Vintage Portland Oregon Street Scene

Today’s street scene image was taken on May 5, 1960, looking west on S.E. 13th Avenue, at its intersection with Tacoma Street in Portland, Oregon.

In the scene on the left is a Vincis Chevron station selling an early mix of Methyl Tert-Butyl Ether (MTBE) and gasoline which has been found to pollute water supplies; signs at the service station offer: precision wheel balancing, RPM motor oil, and free pick up and delivery. Just past the service center is a Piggly Wiggly grocery store offering meat, groceries and S&H “Green Stamps.”

On the right side of S.E., 13th Avenue is a Value Mart store and further down the block to the right of the dump truck is a Baptist Church. Note Fido, who apparently was street smart, next to the newspaper dispenser.

It appears that none of the buildings in the scene have survived in this modern day view. Check out the vehicles on the street that date from the late-thirties to 1959 or ’60 and tell us what interests you in this photo courtesy of Vintage Portland.

18 responses to “Evening Rush Hour: Vintage Portland Oregon Street Scene

  1. Looks like the Lark got the “holeshot” on the ’57 Chev. The pickup with “cautionary” bumper, looks like a ’56 ( or ’57) IH S model. THat bumper may indicate it was a municipal vehicle. That’s one mombo backup,,,look out for “Scruffy” on the corner.

  2. In the 3rd photograph [expanded view], entering the intersection on the left, is a 1959 STUDEBAKER Lark Deluxe hardtop and entering the intersection on the right is a 1950 STUDEBAKER Champion.

  3. Say…I like the white `54 DeSoto cvt. lurking back in the corner of the gas station by the phone booth! You NEVER see those anymore. Ahead of the `51-2 Plymouth heading west, what is that `30’s sedan? A `39 Hudson maybe?

  4. Piggly Wiggly has turned into Columbia sportswear today and a strip of stores was added probably not too long after Piggly left the area. That’s my take on the remaining building in the picture. Fido/ Scruffy would still be there if they hadn’t put in light.

  5. What I find interesting in most vintage street photos is the dogs. Also the superman changing rooms, where would we be without them?

  6. I live two blocks from this intersection. This area of Portland is known as Sellwood and at the turn of the last century was a separate city located several miles southeast of Portland city center. In the photograph you are looking west down Tacoma St. leading to the Sellwood bridge crossing the Willamette River. All of the buildings except for the Chevron station are still standing. The Piggly Wiggly is now occupied by a local Portland based grocery chain.

  7. The light color sedan passing thru the intersection is a 1950 Ford Deluxe. The Deluxe was the base model with less trim inside and out then the more expensive Custom Deluxe. My dad had one like it. My first car in 1960 was a 1950 Ford and I have one in my garage today.

  8. You just know I`m going to spot a Merc for you ….We have a beauty. It`s a `52 two or four door sedan with the optional vertical bumper guards distinctive to that year (“buck teeth“ option?). It`s coming toward us just behind the `57 Chev.

    It is a bit surprising to see two live Studebakers at one intersection. The new Lark compact looks sharp and is probably the newest car present, the oldie moldie four door Stude is showing its age as it creeps around the corner where the guard dog resides (woof, he doesn`t like that stinky Stude).

    Nice looking `56 Ford four door station wagon in right lane.

    That intersection is a “wreck“ needing a traffic signal or temporary traffic cop. Look at the blur of the Ford shoebox Tudor hustling across!

    Fun, very busy photo.

  9. Hey! No one mentioned the ultra cheapie stop sign (all pocked and blistered, needs replacing) tacked onto the corner street name sign which is made of wood. How gypo is this? Not a very progressive area I would say for 1960.

    Just saying…..


  10. This photo is truly a feast for our eyes…

    Besides the fact that the Chevron (Standard Oil of Calif. brand) station is probably the newest structure on the block with thousands of cars passing by every day, I am attracted to their nifty poster out near the street against the Piggly-Wiggly market`s wall.

    It reads: “Precision Tune In Wheel Balancing-Hunter“ What a historic visual relic of the era! Hunter was a very progressive wheel balancing equipment supplier with lots of direct sales reps. They are still one of the finest using digital and LCD touch graphic computer screens for computer wheel balancing used by most tire and wheel shops. I like the simple “marketing tool“ the poster gives the (full) “service station“ owner for his investment in modern shop gear. It probably gave a few drivers a mental reminder about this shop when it came time for some tire and wheel work. Maybe on their way home later in the day as they headed in the opposite direction or pulled in for some gas.

    That poster probably came from the sales rep or was packed in with the new Huntert wheel balancer. Hunter machines of that era were popular since the wheel balance could spin balance the wheel and tire right on the car without any dismounting and remounting. The“Tune-In“ gimmick were the two little spinning rings on the specially attached (to the wheel) balance hub that were touched by the mechanic to find the exact spot on the wheel and the amount of weight needed. A portable spinner motor was engaged against the tire tread to spin it. Balance location was done with the aid of a synchronous flashing strobe light aimed at the spinning wheel. How many of you “youngsters“ used these portable Hunters? I bet a lot. Tap, tap and the weights were on the wheel and then we spun it again to make sure it was just right (or not).

    What memories of time past when we had real full “service“ stations everywhere!

    • I remember using one of those Hunter wheel balancers in 1959-61 in auto shop at Citrus Jr. College in Glendora, Calif.

    • Rich, I started out with the SS INC stations in 1963, and the co-ops usually only had bubble balancers. Later, when I purchased a dealer station location, it came with an on-the-car balancer, most likely a Hunter, although I don’t recall. I used it a few times, but didn’t become proficient with it. Fortunately, some coworkers were very skilled in its’ use! We did purchase Hunter wheel alignment equipment, and later, the Computer Balancer. Loved the Full Service Station days, and the business!

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