Old Town, Chinatown, Portland, Oregon

Old Town Chinatown is the official Chinatown of the Northwest section of PortlandOregon. The Willamette River forms its eastern boundary, separating it from the Lloyd District and theKerns and Buckman neighborhoods. It includes the Portland Skidmore/Old Town Historic District and the Portland New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District, which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In the Northwest section, NW Broadway forms the western boundary, separating it from the Pearl District, and W Burnside St. forms the southern boundary, separating it from Downtown Portland. In the Southwest section, the neighborhood extends from SW 3rd Ave. east to the river and from SW Stark St. north to W Burnside St. (with the exception of areas south of SW Pine St. and west of SW 2nd Ave, and south of SW Oak St. and west of SW 1st Ave., which are part of Downtown).

Transportation[edit source | editbeta]

The neighborhood is well-served by various modes of transportation. Amtrak‘s Union Station and the Greyhound bus station are located in the northwestern portion of the neighborhood. The Broadway Bridge marks the northern tip, and the ends of the Steel and Burnside bridges are along the area’s eastern border.

The MAX Light Rail line turns south into the neighborhood from the Steel Bridge and stops at Old Town/ChinatownSkidmore Fountain, and Oak Street/Southwest 1st Avenue; the system connects the neighborhood to Northeast and North Portland across the Willamette, and to Downtown Portland to the south and west. The Portland Mall begins at the Greyhound station, providing local bus and light rail service along 5th and 6th Avenues south into downtown.

Old Town[edit source | editbeta]

The White Stag sign, a former advertising sign, greets those traveling into Old Town on the Burnside Bridge.

Portland Skidmore/Old Town Historic District
Skidmore Fountain, and the New Market Block in the background.
Location: Roughly bounded by Naito Parkway, Everett, 3rd, and Oak streets., Portland,Oregon
Area: 440 acres (180 ha)[3]
Built: Approx. 1871-1914
Architect: multiple
Architectural style: Late 19th and Early 20th Century American Movements, Late Victorian,Italianate
NRHP Reference#: 75001597
Significant dates
Added to NRHP: December 6, 1975[4]
Designated NHLD: May 5, 1977[5]
October 6, 2008 (additional NHL documentation approved)

Old Town was the original urban core of Portland. It straddles West Burnside St and includes an area under the Burnside Bridge. The Portland Skidmore/Old Town Historic District, created in 1975 and roughly bounded by Naito Parkway, Everett Street, 3rd Avenue, and Oak Street, is an important part of Old Town Portland. Attractions include the Saturday Market; the Shanghai tunnels; and Ankeny Plaza, site of Portland’s oldest public art work, the Skidmore Fountain (dedicated September 22, 1888). The fountain, designed by Olin L. Warner of New York, is named after pioneer druggist Stephen G. Skidmore. Naito Parkway (ex-Front Avenue) is named after the late Bill Naito, a longtime Old Town-based businessman and developer, who with his brother Sam Naito in the 1960s helped to halt the decline of the area—then known as Portland’s “Skid Road“—by opening a retail store, buying and restoring old buildings in the area, and convincing others to invest in the district over the next several years.[6] Bill Naito died in 1996.

Businesses located in Old Town include Dan and Louis Oyster Bar (since 1907) and Voodoo Doughnut. The area is the site of the 24 Hour Church of Elvis and formerly of attractions such as the Satyricon nightclub and the X-Ray Cafe.

The Portland Skidmore/Old Town Historic District was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977.[5][7]

Skidmore-Old Town Historic District street sign topper

corner pavement maker in the historic district depicting the Skidmore Fountain


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