A few photos of downtown Portland's 1000 Broadway building, mostly reflections of other buildings nearby, plus a couple of normal photos for context.
There are two things you're supposed to know about this building to be a "real" Portlander. First, it looks vaguely like a roll-on deodorant stick, due to the rounded dome on top. Curiously, I've noticed it's common for people to say it's called the "Ban Roll-On Building", but much less common for people to actually use that name themselves, I suppose because it's kind of a silly nickname. Or at least this is true of people I know, but most of them are engineers, and it's possible they're mystified by the deodorant reference.
The second thing is that there was a historic movie theater here before the current skyscraper went in. This is usually the cue for a historic preservation rant about the nostalgic glories of old movie theaters. I have to say, however, that I have no recollection of this particular theater or of its fondly-remembered marquee. As people tend to get all misty-eyed about old movie theaters, there's no shortage of stuff on the interwebs about it, including:
- Vintage Portland has a color photo and a few interesting user comments about the place.
- A long discussion thread about it at Cinema Treasures, with a lot of links to photos and other sources of info.
- Old Oregon has a few photos, with prints for sale.
- The theater seems to have had an organ at one point, so the Puget Sound Theater Organ Society has a page about the theater with a bunch of old photos. Apparently the organ now graces the equally historic roller rink at Oaks Park.
Even after looking at those photos, I still have no memory of the place. I do recall, quite clearly, once going to the nearby Fox Theater (also now demolished) to see Airplane!; the main thing I recall about it was the brief but memorable, uh, cameo by Kitten Natividad. I was young and impressionable, you understand.
For the most part, though, we went to theaters in Aloha & Beaverton. All of which are gone now, just like the Broadway & the Fox, but as far as I can tell none of them have fansites dedicated in their memory.
- I saw a lot of really awful (i.e. great) B movies at the old Aloha Theater, which was built from an old surplus Quonset hut, and mostly held together with duct tape. It finally went out of business in the late 1990s (I think the last film it showed was Jurassic Park in Spanish, if I remember right), and the building was converted into retail space, including a really excellent donut shop.
- The Westgate, in Beaverton, was part of the first generation of suburban multiplexes. It didn't have any particular charm about it, but I do remember waiting for hours in the hot sun to see both Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. The Westgate was demolished a few years ago as part of the ongoing Beaverton Central urban renewal project. The site was still empty the last time I checked.
- The Washington Square Theater was similar to Westgate. Sometimes you had to make the drive out to the mall to see a movie, because both theaters had just a handful of screens (by today's standards). Closed a few years before the Westgate, I think, and the building was still empty last time I checked.
- The Beaverton Drive In was the local drive in theater, which is now part of TriMet's Merlo Road bus garage. Didn't go very often, and I wasn't fond of the bad sound quality or the long hike to the restrooms & snack bar. On the other hand, I remember, quite clearly, going there once to see some boring grownup movie, noticing that Airplane! was playing on the next screen over, and glancing over just in time to catch Ms. Natividad's brief cameo again. Which was even more impressive on the big drive-in screen. Like I said, I was rather young and impressionable.