Portland: Now, the 1970s Need Historic Preservation

You know you’re middle aged when a thing that was new to you as a teenager shows up in a museum, or as an artifact deserving “historic preservation.”  I will never forget coming around a corner in Berlin’s DDR museum and seeing a whole bunch of wide-eyed teenagers gazing at one display; it turned out that they were all looking at a manual typewriter

I had the same reaction when I was in Portland in October, and stumbled on one of the original Portland Mall shelters.  These were built in 1978, and their woozy mushroominess made perfect sense in the 70s idiom.  (Compare, for example, rockstar hair from that decade.)

Mall coffee shelter
The shelters bit the dust in the Mall remodeling project of 2008-9, but this one shelter survives as a “historic” urban artifact, sensibly reused as a coffee stand.

3 Responses to Portland: Now, the 1970s Need Historic Preservation

  1. John November 14, 2010 at 5:04 pm #

    Dang, I think I wish I’d seen that when I was in Portland. It actually looks pretty neat – something of a throwback to the 1930’s Art Deco style diners (though using different materials and color palettes, obviously), which given its current use seems oddly fitting.

  2. jon November 15, 2010 at 11:18 am #

    These shelters are a lot more ‘historic’ than they seem being only 32-33 years old. They perfectly represent and capture the spirit of the 1970s rebirth of downtown Portland and the paradigm shift in Portland to livable communities. I personally wanted one to go to OHS for their plaza on the South Park Blocks.
    This coffee-shop shelter still has its old maps circa 2006 and I believe the old quadrant symbols (snowflake, beaver, raindrop, etc) for buses to SW, SE, N, NE, etc. I dont recall if it even still has the old TV monitors that posted schedules.

  3. Kelly Stevens November 15, 2010 at 4:28 pm #

    What exactly were these for?
    Thanks Mr. Walker for your educational site. I’m from Los Angeles have recently become a strong supporter of transit (though I haven’t been on a bus in LA since I was 16! I really should go see our subway for myself.)