The Wizard of Oz Moment
1939 was a good year for movies;
“Gone With the Wind,” “Mr. Smith Goes to
It was also the year when Dorothy and Toto departed sepia-toned
In 1939 the City of
Two years earlier,
In the fifteen years since 1925, more than 900 persons have died as the result of traffic accidents in
In addition to the Bureau, the Portland Traffic Safety Commission was established to educate the public on traffic issues. Drawing from traffic engineering, law enforcement, commercial, education, legislative and community sectors, the Traffic Safety Commission published a bi-monthly newsletter promoting safety for all modes of transportation in
An area of primary concern for both the Portland Traffic Engineering Bureau and the Portland Traffic Safety Commission was the adoption of traffic signals to bring order to the city’s chaotic streets. In 1939 the Traffic Engineering Bureau made a film which combined new and older footage shot at
Below are excerpts from that film:
The first segment features the intersection of
"Things fall apart; the center can not hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world"
-William Butler Yeats, in "The Second Coming".
The intersection of Interstate Avenue and East Broadway in 1939. Pandemonium and entropy.
It was listed in the Civic Review of
The buildings on the corner still exist today across the street on Broadway from Memorial Coliseum.
Note: the pedestrian transit islands, accessed by subterranean tunnels near the
The dreaded intersection of E. Burnside,
The intersection of Burnside, 12th and
SW Morrison and 18th near Civic Stadium (
6th & Morrison, pre-bus mall era, shot from in front of the Portland Hotel and the Pioneer Courthouse. The traffic cop’s circle-spot could not have been comfortable.
West Burnside and 18th in 1939, looking east towards where I-405 was not yet dug. The green bus is a gasoline powered “stinkbus” (as the diesel bus precursors were known).
The next views are from 19th looking north toward Burnside. Firefighter David Campbell’s memorial park can be seen to the side.
Sandy Blvd at 28th, followed by 33rd, (west then east, check out the action at the flashing yellow light) then at 24th and 20th.
It was through surviving cohorts of that fraternity where I first heard of this legendary film which was reportably retrieved from a city dumpster in the late 1950s (the music is almost certainly a later addition).
Eventually, through a shadowy world of relic hunters and