In the shadow of the Marquam Bridge lies a little know building that was once a state of the art garage for Greyhound buses. Recently Architectural Heritage Center volunteer Lauren Radwanski, brought this building to our attention, as it appears on the verge of demolition. In fact, building owners Portland General Electric, have had the property on which the building sits, targeted for a new substation for several years. Clearly the building has seen better days, and recognizing that not everything can be saved, we thought it might be interesting to shed a little light on the history of this building before it’s gone for good.
Although to date the architect for the building has yet to be discovered, we know that the Greyhound garage opened in 1931 to much fanfare, at least within the “motor stage” industry. That summer, there was a detailed spread in the trade publication Bus Transportation about Portland’s new $200,000 bus garage.
Apparently, the garage could service 18 buses at one time and included in the nearly 58,000 square feet of space were living quarters for bus drivers – hard to image in the 21st century. The building’s roof was also cutting edge (no pun intended) for its time, described as “saw tooth”, with “light diffusing glass” to maximize natural light. Without a doubt, Greyhound invested heavily in this garage for the then-growing bus travel industry.
There’s still more research to be done and hopefully in the coming weeks we’ll find out additional details about the old garage. In the meantime, if you happen to be passing underneath the Marquam Bridge, on SW Water Avenue, take a moment and try to imagine the pride that went into this now-derelict building’s construction.