The Montgomery Ward Building, a Portland landmark

When it opened in 1920, the Montgomery Ward Building was the largest commercial structure in Portland, Ore. It was sold in 1984 and then upgraded with a new glass atrium. The box-like structure sits atop a high plateau overlooking the city’s still industrial properties in northwest Portland, at the base of the affluent mansions that dot the hillside to the west. It is a prominent landmark that can be seen for miles in many directions, and for me is a beacon to the “old Portland” I fell in love with when I first moved here in 1983. This was before the city became a microbeer-brewing, bike-friendly, hipster, green-energy, whatever-you-want-to-call-it kind of city that absolutely fascinates sometimes naive out-of-town reporters, who are oblivious to thousands of homeless residents living on the streets or in makeshift and transitional housing. Meanwhile, the giant white box still stands proud, weathering the changes just fine. (Click on each photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

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