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US Route 30 Alternate (Portland)
US Route 30 Alternate (Portland)
US-30 Alternate Navigation:
Info/Map | History | Evolution | Pictures (coming soon)
US Route 30 Alternate Info and Map
US-30 Alternate's location in Portland
Former Length: 15.03 miles
Type: Undivided Highway
Lifespan: 1936?-1950
Western Terminus: Former US-30 (current US-30 Business) in Portland
Eastern Terminus: Former US-30 (current Historic Columbia River Hwy.) near Troutdale
Cities Served: Portland, Gresham
Intersects: OR-213
Multiplexes: none
Survives as:

E Burnside St. (Portland)

(within Portland from NE/SE 12th Ave. to SE Gilham Ave.)

SE Gilham Ave. (Portland)

(within Portland from E Burnside St. to SE Thorburn St.)

SE Thorburn St. (Portland)

(within Portland from SE Gilham Ave. to SE Stark St.)

SE Stark St. (Portland, Gresham, Multnomah County)

(SE Thorburn St. in Portland to Historic Columbia River Hwy. near Troutdale)

Oregon Highway Name/Numbers: none
US Route 30 Alternate History

US-30 Alternate was created at some point in the 1930's, presumably to be a more direct route between Portland and the original Columbia River Highway, running through Gresham and bypassing the town of Troutdale. However, the original Columbia River Highway was quicky becoming outdated and needed to be build wider and closer to the river. The section between Troutdale and Dodson was bypassed in 1950 by the current routing of Interstate 84, moving US-30 off of the original Columbia River Highway. It was at this point when US-30 Alternate also ceased to exist, mainly because it no longer connected to US-30 at its eastern end. The western end lost its US-30 status in 1957.

Some questions still remain about this highway. It is unclear if it was ever under Oregon highway maintenance. Some sites, such as Mike Wiley's Oregon Highways (archived here), claim that it was Base Line Highway #121 (as Stark St. was called Base Line Rd. in the 1940's), but the documents I have place highway #121 along Lombard St., which is where US-30 Bypass was running. So there is a distinct possibility that it could've been city and county maintained only. I also wanted to know for sure when it was created and decommissioned, as US Highways pegs it at 1936-1950, and also if any photos or straight line charts exist. I fired off an e-mail to ODOT on April 21st, 2007. Here is the full text:

After some back-and-forth conversation, I received a final response on May 3rd. Unfortunately, most of those questions don't have an answer at this point because the information was not available.

However, I did learn some information regarding the original Columbia River Highway and its relation to US-30 Alternate. Just like with the construction of I-82 and the desire of the Tri-Cities to have the Interstate routed through or close to their town, there was a competition between Troutdale and Gresham to have the Columbia River Highway enter their town when the highway was being build in the 1910's. The e-mail explains:

From this information it is inferred that US-30 Alternate was created as a compromise for Gresham when US-30 was routed along the Columbia River Highway through Troutdale. Since a 1932 AASHO policy stated that Alternate routes could be created without AASHO approval as long as the Alternate route connected to the mainline at both ends, the earliest that US-30 Alternate could have existed is 1932. I'm still inclined to say that the highway was routed along county roads, especially based on the e-mail above. I still have some other people I need to contact to gain some more information on this highway, though, so this may not be the final chapter.

On a side note, I asked for a scan of the 1924 OSHD milepost data log that was mentioned in the e-mail. It is unclear if US-30 was ever routed along it, but my guess is that it was not. Still, it's an interesting piece of history.

US Route 30 Alternate Route Evolution
1948  •  1951
This map shows US-30 Alternate's alignment in 1948.

In 1948, US-30 Alternate can be seen running along Burnside St. and Stark St. (then called Base Line Rd.) between Portland and Troutdale. US-30 is on its old alignment through the Columbia Gorge. (© 1948 Gousha)

This map shows US-30 Alternate's alignment in 1951.

By 1951, US-30 Alternate was taken off of Portland and Multnomah County roads. You can also see US-30 has been moved to its current alignment east of Troutdale. (© 1951 Gousha)

It is important to note that all map segments are copyrighted by their respective owners, and that these map segments are used for educational and historical purposes only.