The spirit of Italy’s re-invention of Slow Cooking is alive in the spirit of our Slower Living Suburban Communities. Local language, humor, recipes, a sense of ownership of history , Multnomah Villages story is a portrait with its primary brush marks ageless strokes of Time. Engraved by passing lives and generations pressing the values acquired by authentic living in community upon our consciousness and culture. Living the good life, when time slows into tattered moments of the shadow and softened light on the beauty and ordeals of our lives. An antidote for the 20th century.
The Oregon Electric Railway decided to locate a station near where Multnomah crossed todays Capital Hwy. And called it Multnomah after an important Oregon Native American chief and tribe that no longer enjoy the Willamette Valley.
Why is Multnomah blvd broad and straight and Capital hwy so different in character?
Multnomah was created by the same folks that engineered the Northern Pacific through the Rockies. Oregon’s Electric Railway ran right through Multnomah in starting in 1907 and ending suddenly disappearing during the depression in 1933.
Capital hwy was built in fits and starts staring in the 1850 with Slavin road in Hillsdale opening commerce through densely forested ravines and hills through the Fanno Creek watershed. Early settlers arrived during 1883-1891 when the transcontinental rail was completed. Larger tracts on the west side attracted the mostly Swiss-German dairy farmers who cleared the land and improved small sections of road.
Where did the Capital Hwy overpass originate.
Increase in automobile traffic brought the first gas station in 1919, a garage, a new school, Masonic Lodge and the famous Lovejoy stove and Ellis drugstore. Frequent collisions between cars and trains prompted the building of the overpass.
Multnomah’s golden age ended during the depression. The railroad was torn up, the local bank was forced to close. After the war Fred Meyer opened on Barbour and shopping malls like Washington sq eroded the clientele and most merchants closed their doors. Today Johns Marketplace, which was Johns Meat Market and Renners Grill remain. Up until 1969, many storefronts were vacant, but antique stores and eclectic shops moved in due to low low rents.
Multnomah’s 2nd hundred years
Called Multnomah Village during the late 1970’s its has grown into a vibrant endearing tight community with unique character. The mix of vintage and eclectic styled homes scattered in the hills surrounding the central district offer quiet, diversity and the ultimate walkable community minutes to downtown Portland. Let’s hope that current placeholders hold a vision that maintains the character and size of the Village that provides the amenities and resources needed for a diverse and involved community. Image of America Portland Multnomah Village by Nanci Hamilton