Portland’s Lloyd Center shopping mall remains on track to finish its $50 million, 18-month remodel in November, reviving a characteristic from its past.
When the supermall opened in 1960, it was the nation’s largest. Like Northgate Mall in Seattle, its open-air configuration enabled shoppers to circulate among its 100 stores, anchored by Meier & Frank, Nordstrom, J.C. Penney, Woolworth, and Newberry’s.
A 1989 remodel enclosed Lloyd Center, largely eliminating outside open-air entrances. Instead, shoppers bustled between the stores and ice rink in climate-controlled comfort.
The current remodel blends enclosed and open-air characteristics as workers add more exterior storefronts, reminiscent of the original mall.
I spent lots of time at Lloyd Center in the 1960s. My dad was general manager of Holladay Park Plaza, a retirement home across the street, during its 1965-66 construction and early years. I’d ride to work with him in the summer and spend hours ambling around the mall, particularly at the Karmelkorn shop, record store, ice rink, and Mr. C's Hippopotamus, a restaurant that offered 100 different hamburgers.
Dad shot the top photo of Lloyd Center, looking west from Holladay Park Plaza, around 1968. Much has changed since then. The Cosmopolitan Hotel, later a Red Lion Hotel, reopened this month as the Hotel Eastlund after a major renovation.
The aerial shot shows Lloyd Center at the lower left, downtown upper center, and Memorial Coliseum on the right, home of the Trail Blazers from 1970 – 1994.