Interstate 505 Oregon

Planned Routing

Interstate 505, the Industrial Freeway, was a planned 3.17-mile freeway spur from Interstate 405 northwest along the U.S. 30 corridor in northwest Portland. This freeway was conceptualized as early as 1959 and 1963, the Interstate highway was proposed in 1971 (AASHTO approved the designation on June 23, 1969), initially as a 1.3-mile facility. The only segment ever constructed were the approach ramps to Interstate 405 and the Fremont Bridge at the east end. The short freeway spur was incorporated into the U.S. 30 routing when it determined that Interstate 505 would not be built. It was controversial throughout the 1970s: a lawsuit demanding an environmental study was presented to the U.S. District Court in 1971, and it was debated through the rest of the decade. In December 1979, Interstate 505 was formally withdrawn from Oregon's Interstate Highway System.1

Plans for Interstate 505 called for the western terminus to be at the St. Johns Bridge approach (Bypass U.S. 30). This landmark bridge, built in 1931, would possibly have had its western approach modified to meet the proposed/canceled Interstate highway, but given the geography of the area, that would be difficult to achieve. At no time was the St. Johns Bridge proposed to be a part of Interstate 505. Photo taken 09/02/06.

According to Interstate 50th Anniversary: The Story of Oregon's Interstates, the Interstate 505 freeway spur was planned to open up the industrial areas along Yeon Avenue; the freeway would have been routed on or along this section of U.S. 30. The freeway would have extended from Interstate 405 in Downtown Portland to Bypass U.S. 30 where U.S. 30 changes into St. Helens Road. The routing would have traveled through considerable amount of residences and the fringe of Forest Park, which is ultimately what caused Interstate 505 to join in Oregon's Great Freeway Kill Off in the mid-1970s.2

At that time Oregon redirected federal Interstate dollars to finish Interstate 205, construct miscellaneous highway improvements in the region (including U.S. 26/Sunset Highway, Oregon 212, and Oregon 217) and build mass transportation systems (including the "Banfield Transitway Project") in Portland. The re-routing of U.S. 30 took place in the early 1980s.

Western Terminus of Freeway Spur - U.S. 30 (N.W. Yeon Avenue) at Vaughn Street - Portland, Oregon
Perspective from U.S. 30 (Planned Interstate 505) West
The freeway spur of U.S. 30 travels approximately 0.6 miles between Interstate 405 (Stadium Freeway) and Vaughn Street. U.S. 30 westbound traffic is advised to move toward the left lane for the transition onto N.W. Yeon Avenue ahead. Photo taken 09/02/06.
Traffic from Interstate 405 northbound joins U.S. 30 westbound ahead of the half-diamond interchange with Vaughn Street. Vaughn Street represents the original U.S. 30 alignment from here west to N.W. St. Helens Road. Photo taken 09/02/06.
U.S. 30 prepares to transition into N.W. Yeon Avenue at the junction with Nicolai Street. Before the completion of the Interstate 505 freeway ramps, U.S. 30 traveled just left of the large building in the background (along Vaughn Street) with Montgomery Park on top. The building is the former Northwestern Headquarters of the defunct retail chain Montgomery Ward. Photo taken 09/02/06.
After Vaughn Street traffic depart from U.S. 30, an END FREEWAY 1/2 MILE sign is posted next to the Nicolai Street overhead sign. Photo taken 09/02/06.
A traffic signal marks the end of the U.S. 30 freeway. Interstate 505 would have continued northwest from here along U.S. 30 through the N.W. Industrial Area. Photo taken 09/02/06.
The left lane will turn onto Nicolai Street westbound, while the auxiliary right lane turns onto Nicolai Street eastbound. Continue straight ahead to follow U.S. 30 west to the N.W. Industrial Area, St. Johns Bridge, and St. Helens via Yeon Avenue. Photo taken 09/02/06.
The freeway spur ends here at this traffic signal with Nicolai Street near a paint store. U.S. 30 turns northwest onto Yeon Avenue to serve the industrial district. Photo taken 09/02/06.
For the next several miles, U.S. 30/Yeon Avenue west passes through industrial and port areas as it follows the Willamette River northwest toward St. Helens. Traffic signals govern the flow of traffic to major industrial, warehouse, or port areas. This traffic signal is with N.W. 26th Drive. Photo taken 09/02/06.
Perspective from U.S. 30 East
An Interstate 405 trailblazer is posted after the St. Helens Road/Yeon Avenue split. Continue straight ahead to follow eastbound U.S. 30. Photo taken 09/02/06.
Shortly thereafter, eastbound U.S. 30 approaches the intersection with Nicolai Street (one-half mile). This marks the beginning of the freeway spur that was constructed. Photo taken 09/02/06.
Both lanes of Yeon Avenue merge onto the freeway spur after passing through the Nicolai Street traffic signal. Photo taken 09/02/06.
Now on the brief freeway, it is one-half mile to the junction with Interstate 405. Photo taken 09/02/06.
Perspective from Nicolai Street east
An Interstate 405 trailblazer is posted on Nicolai Street eastbound, omitting any mention of U.S. 30. Turn right to join the freeway system, following the short spur section of Interstate 505 that was built. Photo taken 09/02/06.
Perspective from Nicolai Street west
Westbound Nicolai Street meets U.S. 30/N.W. Yeon Avenue at this traffic signal. The short freeway spur begins to the left, while the proposed Industrial Freeway (Interstate 505) would have traveled northwest toward the St. Johns Bridge. Photo taken 09/02/06.
Proposed/Canceled Western Terminus - U.S. 30 (N.W. Yeon Avenue) at By-Pass U.S. 30/St. Johns Bridge - Portland, Oregon
Perspective from U.S. 30 (Planned Interstate 505) West
After traveling through the N.W. Industrial Area for a couple miles, westbound U.S. 30 approaches its junction with Bypass U.S. 30 and the St. Johns Bridge. This junction marks the planned western terminus of Interstate 505. Photo taken 09/02/06.
The ramp onto St. Johns Bridge northbound is via this left turn. Bypass U.S. 30 is not signed in this direction. The suspension bridge comes into view in the distance with its distinctive green towers and supporting cables. Photo taken 09/02/06.
Perspective from Bypass U.S. 30 West (St. Johns Bridge South)
Now traveling west on Bypass U.S. 30 (south on St. Johns Bridge), the junction with unconstructed Interstate 505 would have been located at the south end of the bridge. Instead, the bridge connects directly to U.S. 30 near Forest Park. Photo taken 09/02/06.
The St. Johns Bridge is a suspension bridge that carries Bypass U.S. 30 over the Willamette River. This is the northernmost bridge over the Willamette River before it merges with the Columbia River. Built in 1931, the St. Johns Bridge deck was rehabilitated in 2005. The bridge rises 205 feet above the navigable waters below, and it has a main span of 1207 feet. It was designed by David B. Steinman and is one of three major suspension bridges in the state of Oregon (none of which are on the Interstate Highway System). Photo taken 09/02/06.
The St. Johns Bridge was painted green by David B. Steinman to promote harmony with the forest-covered hills on the southern bank of the Willamette River. The bridge is four lanes and undivided with sidewalks on both sides of the bridge. Photos taken 09/02/06.
At the end of the bridge, Bypass U.S. 30 ends. Turn left to follow U.S. 30 east to downtown Portland via St. Helens Road and Yeon Avenue; turn right to follow U.S. 30 west to Astoria. Photo taken 09/02/06.
Perspective from U.S. 30 East
Interstate 505 would have begun near the junction with Bypass U.S. 30 (St. Johns Bridge). The first advance sign is this one-half-mile guide sign on eastbound U.S. 30. Photo taken 09/02/06.
Eastbound U.S. 30 and Bypass U.S. 30 split here. Turn right to follow Bypass U.S. 30 on St. Johns Bridge to Germantown Road. Continue straight to follow U.S. 30 (St. Helens Road, which connects to Yeon Avenue) into the Northwest Industrial Area. Interstate 505 would have begun at or near this point. Photo taken 09/02/06.
Eastern Terminus - Interstate 405 at the Fremont Bridge - Portland, Oregon
Perspective from U.S. 30 East
Eastbound U.S. 30 reaches N.W. Yeon Avenue near Forest Park; the US route shifts onto a brief freeway alignment that was to be a part of Interstate 505 until that freeway was eliminated in the Oregon Freeway Purge. Photo taken Chris Elbert (05/28/05).
Now on the freeway section, signage immediately points to the impending junction with Interstate 405 on eastbound U.S. 30. Photo taken 09/02/06.
The freeway spur of U.S. 30 travels east from Vaughn Street to Interstate 405 (Stadium Freeway). U.S. 30 eastbound traffic is advised to move toward the left lane for the transition onto northbound Interstate 405 ahead. Photo taken 08/27/06.
Use Interstate 405 south to follow U.S. 26 west as well as connect to Interstate 5 south. The left lane becomes the lower deck of the bridge. Photo taken 08/27/06.
Here, the south Interstate 405/To U.S. 26 ramp transitions onto Interstate 405 south from U.S. 30 east in Portland. Photo taken Chris Elbert (05/28/05).
Perspective from Interstate 405 North
Northbound Interstate 405 reaches the offramp for Exit 2B, Everett Street. The next exit is for the U.S. 30 interchange, which would have been Interstate 505 had the rest of the freeway been built to the west. Photo taken 08/27/06.
A series of overpasses cross over Interstate 405 as the freeway passes just west of downtown Portland. The next exit is Exit 3, Junction U.S. 30 west. Photo taken 08/27/06.
Use U.S. 30 west to Montgomery Park. A former Montgomery Ward Distribution Center built in 1921, Montgomery Park today is an office building renovated in 1989. Montgomery Park is the second office building by volume in Portland. Photo taken 08/27/06.
The left lanes will transition directly onto westbound U.S. 30, while the right lanes continue north on Interstate 405 (and east on U.S. 30, which is curiously not signed on this pull-through). Photo taken 08/27/06.
From this interchange, U.S. 30 travels west along Yeon Avenue, past Forest Park, and on to St. Helens Road bound for Astoria, where U.S. 30 meets its end at U.S. 101 near the mouth of the Columbia River. Note that U.S. 30 east is now signed on northbound Interstate 405. Photo taken 08/27/06.
Northbound Interstate 405 splits with westbound U.S. 30/Canceled Interstate 505. The northbound lanes transition to the lower deck of the tied arch Fremont Bridge over the Willamette River. Photo taken 08/27/06.
Here is a view of the nearly hidden signage hanging from the upper deck, directing traffic from northbound Interstate 405 to westbound U.S. 30. Photo taken 08/27/06.
After departing Interstate 405 north, the first exit on westbound U.S. 30 is for Vaughn Street. A similar sign is placed on the ramp connecting southbound Interstate 405 to U.S. 30 west. Photo taken 08/27/06.
Perspective from Interstate 405 South & U.S. 30 West
Interstate 405 south and U.S. 30 west travel the upper deck of the Fremont Bridge across the Willamette between junction Interstate 5 and their split at Exit 3. U.S. 30 leaves the Portland urban loop via a short freeway spur that was to be part of planned Interstate 505. Photo taken 09/02/06.
The Fremont Bridge is the largest tied arch bridge on the Interstate Highway System, with a much higher span than comparable bridges elsewhere in the system. The Interstate 405 and U.S. 30 split is on the south end of the main span. Photo taken 09/02/06.
Interstate 405 (Stadium Freeway) turns southward to junction U.S. 26 (Sunset Highway) and Dowtnown Portland. U.S. 30 (Planned Interstate 505) veers northwest to N.W. Yeon Avenue and Forest Park. U.S. 30 continues out of Portland to St. Helens along the Columbia River 30 miles to the north. Photo taken 09/02/06.

Sources:

  1. Interstate 50th Anniversary: The Story of Oregonís Interstates
  2. Chris Elbert, email: "Re: NW Interstate Updates at Interstate-guide.com." March 16, 2005.

Page Updated March 13, 2006.