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Hooray for Hollywood

August 25, 2009

The Hollywood Theater, Portland, Ore.

The neighborhood where I’m living doesn’t seem to have a name. It also doesn’t have any stores or cafes, so for that kind of stuff I have to hop on the GTS and head 40 or so blocks west to the Hollywood District.

Forty blocks is only a few miles. Remember, Portland’s built on a much smaller scale than Seattle.

The movie theater is why this part of town is called the Hollywood District. The theater dates back to 1926, a time when going to the movies was an adventure. You can learn more about it here.

Seattle used to have theaters like this. The Orpheum, the Blue Mouse, the Music Hall, all had ornate detailing like the Hollywood. And all of them got knocked down and replaced by characterless office buildings. The Paramount would have suffered the same fate had a Microsoft millionaire not stepped in and bought the place.

The Roseway Theater on Sandy Boulevard

The former Irvington Theater on Broadway

Orin O'Neill photos

A bigger difference between Seattle and Portland is the latter city’s preservation of the small neighborhood movie theater.

There are a bunch of them, far too many to include all of them here.

Notice the movies on offer aren’t obscure arthouse cult flicks, but mainstream hits that will be available shortly on Netflix.

On the right, you can see the sign for the departed Irvington Theater, an example of the neighborhood movie theater’s memory being preserved.

That’s a difference between Seattle and Portland. Seattle talks about historic preservation, Portland does it. Favicon


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