The Portland Divide: 82nd Avenue – OregonLive.com
Years ago, 82nd Avenue was Portland’s city limits. Today’s it’s the city’s crossroads, where past and future come together.
Redevelopment and an influx of new homeowners are changing the Montavilla and Foster-Powell neighborhoods. With help from city government, a new “Jade District” is emerging as the heart of the region’s Asian-American community. Portland Community College is finishing a huge expansion of its Southeast campus, drawing more students and life to the road.
Still, the old grit remains. Strip clubs, used car lots and abandoned homes still line 82nd. Many of the neighborhoods along it, particularly to the east, lack pavement, sidewalks and street lights because they were developed before the city took over. The road itself remains a driver’s nightmare, frequently snarled by backed up traffic or the remnants of a wreck.
Oregonian/OregonLive photojournalist Thomas Boyd recently took a walk along 82nd. What he found was a Portland far different than the one the outside world sees, but one that will look quite familiar to those of us who live here.
A NOTE FROM PHOTOGRAPHER Thomas Boyd:
I live on Mt. Scott and drive, shop, eat on 82nd frequently. The street fascinates me on many levels. I know from experience, the best way to fully understand a place is to get out and walk.
For this reason I decided to walk the length of 82nd Ave. from Johnson Creek Blvd. to Sandy Blvd. This doesn’t cover the entire length, but nearly. I would have had to start at Sunnyside and end at Airport Way. But, those stretches aren’t that interesting.
I did the nine-mile walk over two different days in June and July. I then followed up with a drive and stopped a few different times on my way home. One those times the road was closed due to a car crash. I stopped another time to photograph Robby Santiago preaching at Foster and 82nd.
Along the way, I met some interesting and engaging people. Linda Hitt playing in violin in a chicken suit is hard to forget. But, really, every single person I talked to was friendly and forthcoming…even if I almost left with a new used car on a couple occasions.
I encourage Portlanders to get out and take a stroll on 82nd. You won’t find it in any guidebooks, but there are some great restaurants, (I recommend Amigos Del Sol and Pho Van among others) and you’ll see things. All kinds of things. Things you probably won’t see in the Pearl District. And, you could very well drive home in a new used car.
I hope to make my next Portland MegaTransect from Powell Butte to Council Crest along Powell Blvd.
-Thomas Boyd | [email protected]