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Portland 101: Crooked Grids, Tiny Blocks, and the Building of the City

January 12, 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Portland 101: Crooked Grids, Tiny Blocks, And The Building Of The City

How did Portland get this way, with its little square blocks and weird intersections, the funny pronunciations and the bridge ramps to nowhere? Why is it even located where it is? There’s a reason for everything (we didn’t say a good reason!)

Stone carver’s mistakes, upside-down pineapples, and mythical tunnels are just part of the things about which true Portland residents should know. We’ll look at the grid, the naming and re-naming of our streets, and the eras of commercial architecture that have marked our compact and vibrant downtown, as well as the near blitzkrieg effect of the Great Demolition which left us with parking lots where the temples of finance and industry once stood. Long-time AHC Education Committee member Robert Jordan will guide us through 150 years of Portland’s development – a great overview for those just getting interested in Portland’s architectural heritage as well as for anyone who ever wondered “Why did they do THAT?”


This lecture program is held at the Architectural Heritage Center – 701 SE Grand Avenue

Seating is Limited. Pre-Registration is Highly Recommended.

Parking is on-street (free on Saturdays) or in the parking lot on the west side of Grand Avenue between SE Yamhill and Belmont Streets – just to the north of the Urbanite. Thank you to Bolliger and Sons Insurance for sharing their lot with us for our evening and Saturday education programs.


$20.00 General Public
$12.00 AHC Members


About The Architectural Heritage Center
The Architectural Heritage Center’s mission is to “inspire people to conserve the art, craft, and context of historic buildings and places to promote our cultural heritage as a vital element of livable, sustainable, communities.” We seek to preserve the historic character and livability of our built environment, and to promote sustainability through the re-use of period homes and buildings.

Owned and operated by the non-profit Bosco-Milligan Foundation, we empower people in the Portland region to preserve both landmark buildings and the regular “vernacular” vintage homes and storefronts that collectively define our neighborhoods, traditional downtowns,culture, history, and quality of life.


Image: Postcard View of SW 5th Avenue Looking North Toward Taylor Street, Architectural Heritage Center Library.


Architectural Heritage Center
701 SE Grand Ave
Portland, OR 97214 United States
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