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26 Things You’ll Never See In Portland Again

How much do you miss these PDX favorites that are gone, but not forgotten?
  • Maria Scinto
  • 17,730 views
  • 56 comments
  • Maria Scinto
  • 17,730 views, 56 comments

1. We'd Grown Accustomed To Tom Peterson's Face

26 Things You’ll Never See In Portland Again
Source: Flickr user zehnkatzen

Especially since he plastered it all over everything. Ol' Tom's still alive, but his chain of furniture and electronics stores is defunct. That means no more Tom Peterson alarm clocks, wristwatches, Halloween masks, coloring books, and, saddest of all, no more free flattops.

2. The Creepiest Christmas Bear

26 Things You’ll Never See In Portland Again
Source: soundfactory.com

Paddy O'Cinnamon, aka Cinnamon Bear, was a “beloved” holiday tradition for generations of Portlanders, some of whom no doubt still have nightmares—this fella could give Pedobear lessons in creeping. He used to give out cookies to the traumatized kiddies forced to sit in his lap, first at Lipmans, and then at Frederick and Nelson's, but once that store went under, this tradition was thankfully put to rest.

Portland Spirit Cruises revived Cinnamon Bear for an annual holiday cruise in 2005, but their bear just looks vaguely confused, and perhaps a trifle worried, in contrast to his pervy predecessor.

3. Bring Back The Boss Sauce!

26 Things You’ll Never See In Portland Again
Source: Macheezmo Mouse via Facebook

Macheezmo Mouse was a health-obsessed, yet not terribly authentic Mexican chain that opened in the ‘80s and lasted until the early ’00s. The one thing people remember, to the point of obsession, over a decade later, is their famous “boss sauce” which wasn't even a little bit Mexican. In fact, it was more of a barbecue sauce, with ingredients including orange juice, soy sauce, cider vinegar, brown sugar and just a hint of ancho chile.

The Mouse has been trying to make a comeback for the past year or so, but to date they've only raised 4 percent of the necessary funds on IndieGogo—and the fact that they've had to resort to crowd-sourced funding at all isn't exactly reassuring. Nor is the fact that they're trying to hit up random Facebookers for ideas on how they can break into the food truck biz. Quite the come-down from a restaurant chain that once expected to be a surefire nationwide franchise.

4. And Henry Thiele’s Oh-So-Yummy German Pancakes

26 Things You’ll Never See In Portland Again
Source: Wikimedia user Visitor7

Henry Thiele's was a family-style restaurant with an extensive menu, but the one dish everyone remembers is the German pancake. The restaurant, which opened sometime in the ’30s, closed down in the ’90s, but its memory lives on in the name of the Thiele Square shopping center that replaced it. And also in the numerous copycat pancake recipes available on the Internet.

5. Hamburger Mary's Was Simply Fabulous

26 Things You’ll Never See In Portland Again
Source: Flickr user Mike Krzeszak

Hamburger Mary's was an LGBT-friendly restaurant known for its flamboyant décor and cross-dressing clientele, as well as its slogan “Eat, drink and be Mary.” The first Hamburger Mary's was wildly popular in the Portland gay community back in the ‘80s, occupying a spot where the Fox Tower now stands, but it closed down in the ‘90s.

Hamburger Mary's made a comeback in 2011, but the new incarnation eventually succumbed to “evil landlords” (we've all had a few). No more B.J. burgers? That really blows.

6. Portland Wrestling's Gone, Again (Probably)

26 Things You’ll Never See In Portland Again
Source: Flickr user Randall Chancellor

Portland Wrestling’s yet another local sports franchise that comes, and goes, and comes back, and goes again...huh, seems to be kind of a Portland thing. Anyway, the first Portland Wrestling company got its start in the ’20s and lasted up until 1992, along the way involving such big names as Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, Jesse “Future Governor of Minnesota” Ventura and Portland's own Rowdy Roddy Piper.

Portland Wrestling made a comeback in 2000, airing for a few years on KWBP-TV, but then it went away again. In 2012, Rowdy Roddy himself launched yet another version, Portland Wrestling Uncut. It was first shown on KPTV then moved to KPDX then, surprise, went on hiatus.

Supposedly it's returning late this summer, but, well, things have been pretty quiet on that front lately, so who knows.

7. G.I. Joe's Goes AWOL

26 Things You’ll Never See In Portland Again
Source: Growing Up With G.I. Joe's via Facebook

G.I. Joe's, the former surplus store turned Portland's largest sporting goods retail chain, lost their ongoing battle for survival in 2009. Many of their stores have now been taken over by Dick's—ha, can't fool us. We know a COBRA alias when we hear one!

8. Can't Eat At Waddle's Now

26 Things You’ll Never See In Portland Again
Source: Flickr user pds209

"Eat now at Waddles," read the sign, and generations of Portlanders obeyed, some of them to the point where they did, in fact, waddle out of the place. After 60 years of breakfast magic, however, the restaurant closed its doors for good in 2004. Now where are you gonna take the kids for coconut pancakes and a menu that can be worn as a mask? Not as cool as a Tom Peterson mask, but still.

9. R.I.P., Elliot

26 Things You’ll Never See In Portland Again
Source: Wikimedia user Alexis

Elliot Smith also started out playing at La Luna. Although he was born in Omaha, raised in Texas and died in L.A., he, like numerous transplants before and after, was proud to call Portland home. If only he'd stuck around the City of Roses, and kept far, far away from Tinseltown...

10. And Ramblin' Rod, Too

26 Things You’ll Never See In Portland Again
Source: OregonLive via Wikimedia Commons

Ramblin Rod always made the kiddies smile. By bribing them. Yep, the highlight of his “Ramblin' Rod Show,” which aired from the early ’70s up through 1997, was a “smile contest” which pitted his little guests against each other to see who could, uh, show the most teeth? Whatever his criteria were for judging the best smile, the winners were rewarded with a Pop Shoppe soda.

11. Bye, Bye Beavers

26 Things You’ll Never See In Portland Again
Source: Flickr user Joshua Smith

Portland had its Beavers baseball team for over 100 years, from the first 1903 Pacific Coast League team to the most recent Triple-A San Diego Padres affiliate. The most recent incarnation went under in 2010, because their stadium, PGE Park, converted to a…soccer stadium? OK, so the Portland Timbers are a major league soccer team, whoopee. Still, though, it's not like it's the national pastime or anything. Boomer Beaver says boo.

12. And Random Mobs Of Drunken Pirates No Longer Roam The Streets

26 Things You’ll Never See In Portland Again
Source: Flickr user Joshin Yamada

Semi-organized ones, that is. I mean, this is Portland, so you never know when you're going to get accosted by an eyepatch-wearing, cutlass-wielding mysterious stranger who offers you a swig from his bottle o'rum—which you then accept with a hearty “yo-ho-ho,” as per the Pirate Code.

Sadly, however, it seems that the Portland Pirate Festival may currently be on hold. It's kind of hard to tell when and if it will return, too, since pirates and scheduling go together like, well, rum and toothpaste. (An event called Plunderathon will take place, however, at Skidmore Fountain on June 14 and 15, 2014.) Can I hear an arrrrrrrrgggghhhhhh?

13. Yaw's Top Notch Hits Rock Bottom

26 Things You’ll Never See In Portland Again
Source: Yaw's Top Notch Workers UNITE via Facebook

Once upon a time, Yaw's Top Notch was “The House that Hamburger Built.” The first one opened in 1926, and it was supposedly at Yaw's instigation that the very first hamburger bun was created. Yaw's added car-hop service in 1941, and by the ‘50s was the high-school hang-out, complete with roller-skating waitresses delivering meals on wheels.

Yaw's went out of business for the first time in 1982, but revived (temporarily) in 2012. Yaws 2.0 went down in flames just a year later, however, when the grandson of the original owner as accused of numerous labor violations and copyright infringements—not to mention assaulting the general manager, Oopsie! Seems like this time, Yaw's really is down for the count.

14. The Starry Night Was a Killer Club

26 Things You’ll Never See In Portland Again
Source: Wikimedia user Another Beiever

Literally. Back in the late ‘80s they hosted some of the coolest bands in town, but then in 1991 the club owner was so rude as to strangle one of his employees. He sold the club shortly afterward, claiming he'd “lost support from the local music industry.” Ya think?

The new owners re-named it the Roseland, and it still hosts local and national acts, but it now also has the distinction of being one of Portland's most haunted venues.

15. Sayonara, Satyricon

26 Things You’ll Never See In Portland Again
Source: Flickr user Bandita

The Satyricon, opened in 1983, was Portland's premier palace of punk. The left coast's answer to CBGB was where all the local indie bands got their start.

Its real notoriety, however, comes from the fact that it's reportedly the place where Kurt Cobain met his future wife. Now Kurt's pushing up petunias and the Satyricon's history.

16. Adios, La Luna

26 Things You’ll Never See In Portland Again
Source: Flickr user Sam Beebe

La Luna kind of took over as the premier indie venue from the Satyricon in the ’90s, by which time the former club was getting known as more of a metal kind of place. The Dandy Warhols, Dharma Bums and Everclear all kicked off their careers here, and it was the club where Portland ’90s kids saw their first show. Yeah, this was back in the days when grunge was a thing and Seattle wasn't the only place it was all happening.

17. The Lost City Of Vanport

26 Things You’ll Never See In Portland Again
Source: Portland Housing Authority via Wikimedia Commons

Vanport was a short-lived city, thrown up in 1942 to house war workers at the Kaiser Shipyards. When Kaiser shut down at war's end, Vanport opened a college to attract returning veterans. Sadly, this didn't last long, since the whole town was wiped out in a flood in 1948.

Vanport College refused to die, relocating downtown to become Portland State University, but the city itself became a water-logged ghost town for a while before being re-purposed as the site of Delta Park and the Portland International Raceway.

18. The Lovejoy Viaduct Is Gone, But The Funky Outsider Art Remains

26 Things You’ll Never See In Portland Again
Source: Flickr user thekirbster

Back in the late ’40s, Greek immigrant Tom Stefopoulos worked as a watchman for the SP&S Railroad, and when there wasn't anything worth watching he decorated the supporting columns of the Lovejoy Bridge ramp.

The viaduct itself was torn down in 1999, but these pillars of the community, with their fanciful landscapes, birds, and figures out of Greek mythology, were preserved and transported to a new location on the plaza of the Elizabeth Tower at NW 10th.

19. The Warm Yellow Glow Of Sodium Streetlights

26 Things You’ll Never See In Portland Again
Source: Flickr user Doug Geisler

All of Portland's traditional sodium streetlights are soon to be replaced by high-def LED lighting. This is supposed to help motorists see the road better, also trees, bicyclists, pedestrians, zombies, and other potential road hazards like that. The new lights will are also cheaper, more energy-efficient, and better for the environment, and yet, even in tree-huggy Portland, not everyone is thrilled with this latest innovation.

The problem is that the blue light is kind of harsh and ugly. Oh well, it was probably tough back in the gaslight days, too, when they had to make the switch over to that new-fangled 'lectricity.

20. Farewell, Fareless Square

26 Things You’ll Never See In Portland Again
Source: Wikimedia user Steve Morgan

In Portland, there's no longer any such thing as a free ride. Back in the good ol' Gas Crisis days of the ’70s, TriMet declared that all bus rides, light rail and streetcar trips within the downtown area would henceforth be free.

While the area covered by this fare-free zone continued to expand through 2007 (becoming significantly less square in the process), the late ’00s brought us the of-so-fun Economic Crisis which led to budget cuts everywhere.

By 2010 Fareless Square underwent a name change to the Free Rail Zone, as bus rides were no longer free, but by 2012 TriMet was back to charging fares for everything. Oh well, all good things must come to an end, but the crappiness that is having to depend on public transportation goes on forever (or at least until you get your license back).

21. Clang, Clang, Clang Went The Trolleys

26 Things You’ll Never See In Portland Again
Source: Wikimedia user Steve Morgan

Portland used to operate a couple of vintage trolley cars, replicas of the streetcars that served the city at the turn of the century (the previous one). The vintage trolley service started in 1991, was originally meant to lure shoppers back from the suburbs and into downtown and Lloyd Center.

By 2011 the trolleys only operated a few days out of the year, and now the last two remaining trolleys have been sold to the city of St. Louis, which is still trying to capitalize on that whole “Meet Me In St. Louis” thing.

These trolleys are scheduled to make a last run through town in July before heading east to their new home, leaving Portland, well, not trolley-less, but stuck with those charmless (and clangless) Czechoslovakian ones.

22. Henry Weinhard's Brewery Is No More, But His Beer's Still Here

26 Things You’ll Never See In Portland Again
Source: Flickr user KlipschFan

Henry Weinhard's Brewery perfumed the downtown air with the fragrant aroma of roasting hops for almost a century and a half, but in 1999 the brewery sold out to Miller. The beer survived, being brewed first by Olympia and later by Full Sail Brewery, but its current owner, SAB Miller, is cutting ties to Oregon and will be producing the beer regionally in locations around the country.

Oh well. It's not like Oregon's got any shortage of craft breweries. Just not any that have been in operation since 1856, that's all.

23. Corno's Closes Down

26 Things You’ll Never See In Portland Again

Source Flickr user Kris

Corno's Food Market was known for its distinctive rooftop adorned with gigantic cut-out fruits and veggies. They even featured in the movie “Breaking In,” where Burt Reynolds used them to hide behind. Sadly, the store closed down in 1995, and the building, signage and all, was torn down.

24. The Tik Tok Drive-In Is Now Closed 24 Hours A Day

26 Things You’ll Never See In Portland Again
Source: stlouiskat.blogspot.com via Creative Commons

OK, this one's been gone for a while. It was a classic ‘50s/’60s “American Graffiti”-style drive—in, where poodle-skirt girls flirted with guys driving tailfinned boatmobiles. Good eatin' and good clean fun—although now it's even cleaner (if somewhat less fun), as the patch of ground where it once stood is now occupied by a church. There are still a few Tik-Toks in Portland, but they're not drive-ins, and they're just not the same thing at all.

25. Wondering Whatever Happened To Gateway Wunderland?

26 Things You’ll Never See In Portland Again
Source: Flickr user Jami Dwyer

They closed, duh. The Avalon Wunderland's still open, but Portland's first, and longest-running, nickel game room is no more.

26. And What About The Jantzen Beach Carousel?

26 Things You’ll Never See In Portland Again
Source: photo courtesy Thomas Robinson

Jantzen Beach Amusement Park, Portland's one-time “Million Dollar Playground” was actually the biggest amusement park in the nation when it opened in 1928.

When the park closed for good in 1970, its Ferris wheel, fun house and Big Dipper roller coaster vanished too, but the historic wooden carousel (complete with ghost children, provenance unknown) survived as a part of the Jantzen Beach Shopping Center.

Today, however, the carousel is in storage, dismantled when the center remodeled to include more big box stores. Portland preservationists are fighting to have the carousel restored and relocated to a place where it will get the love it deserves, but as of now its fate remains unknown.


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Posted on: May 14, 2014
17,730 views, 56 comments
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