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Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204

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Portland Transportation History Timeline

Please note that there is no photograph in paper form that belongs to the City of Portland. Most of the images were assembled from the Oregon Historical Society collection and went direct from the OHS image to the slide format. A private citizen is the owner of the slide images. Because rules have changed since the 1970s regarding photo credits and fees for use, it is not appropriate for him to sell or release them. Please contact the OHS for information at 503-222-1741 or on how to acquire the images from them.    

1853 - First ferry in Portland (Stark Street)

1857 – Construction begins on a plank road (Canyon Road) connecting Portland to the Tualatin Plains.

1868 - Oregon Central Railroad breaks ground

1872 – 1884 - Railroad construction peaks.

1872 – First horse drawn trolleys

1887 – First bridge across Willamette River (Morrison).

1888 - First Steel Bridge opens

1890 - First electric streetcar goes into service

1896 - Union Station opens

1909 - Portland-Seattle railroad completed

1910 - Hawthorne Bridge opens

1912 - New Steel Bridge opens, replacing old bridge

1912 – Peak of streetcar system.

1913 - Broadway Bridge opens

1913 - First traffic signal (5th and Washington)

1917 - Interstate Bridge (across the Columbia) opens

1925 - Sellwood Bridge opens

1926 - Burnside, Ross Island and Vista bridges open

1927 - Swan Island Airport begins service

1929 - Harbor wall construction begins

1931 - Burnside widening project

1931 - St. Johns Bridge opens

1933 - Barbur Boulevard opens

1941 - Portland Columbia Airport begins service

1942 – Harbor Drive construction begins (completed after WWII).

1950 – Last streetcar goes out of service.

1958 – Interurban rail service between Oregon City and Portland suspended.

1958 - New Morrison Bridge opens

1966 - Marquam Bridge opens, completing I-5 through Portland

1969 – Tri-Met formed

1972 – The Downtown Plan was adopted

1973 – Portland’s first bike plan is developed

1973 – Fremont Bridge (I-405) opens, completing downtown freeway loop.

1974 – Harbor Drive removed to make way for Waterfront Park

1975 – The Downtown Parking and Circulation Policy was adopted

1976 – Mt. Hood Freeway withdrawn from Interstate System, funds diverted to Banfield LRT and 140 other highway and transit projects.

1977 – The downtown transit mall opened

1986 – The Eastside light rail opened

1988 – The Central City Plan was adopted

1989 –Tri-Met was named "America’s Best Large Transit Agency" by American Public Transit Association

1995 – The Central City Transportation Management Plan was adopted

1995 – Portland selected as the most bicycle friendly city in the U.S. by Bicycling Magazine

1996 – The Bicycle Master Plan was adopted & The Transportation Management Association was formed

1998 – The Westside light rail opened

2001 – Portland Streetcar and Airport MAX opened