Next Stop Hollywood!


Early Transportation


Jason Baird

The streetcar has been a part of Portland's life since the 1880s when they were used primarily for downtown transportation. In 1887, however, the completion of the Morrison Bridge connected the west and eastsides to form one city. The Hollywood District received the service of the streetcar in 1906 when "a streetcar line was constructed down the middle of Sandy Road" and was known as the Rose City Line. The streetcar now allowed residential growth on the eastside. The streetcar facilitated the growth of the suburb and encouraged commuting between work and home. The streetcar routes also dictated the location of businesses. Establishments were built along the streetcar routes to service people as they waited for their connection. The fare for a ride on the streetcar was five cents per trip and you could transfer to another car without paying the additional fee.

In the Hollywood District, the route ran the length of Sandy Boulevard with stops occurring on each block every fifteen minutes. During the weekdays the streetcars ran from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., and on Sunday from 6:30 a.m. to 11:00p.m. Although the streetcar served the suburban commuter, it started losing money in the 1920s due to the introduction of the automobile along with high operating costs (maintenance of the tracks and roads, replacing of streetcars and upkeep, and increased wages).

The streetcars reign ended in 1935 when they were replaced by the Portland Traction Company trolley bus and motorbus. The motorbus was an independent motor powered vehicle that was free to travel like the automobiles. The trolley bus was powered by the electric street wires that remained from the streetcar system. The buses were preferred since they had a sturdier structure, greater riding capacity and they were able to pull off to the side of the road without delaying traffic. Even though the Hollywood streetcar disappeared in 1935 the streetcar ran in downtown Portland until 1950. Public transportation has always been a topic of interest for our city. It seems we are again repeating history, just fifty years later the streetcar is once again transporting Portlanders in streetcars.


  • The Pullman Palace Car Co. was one of the first cars to cross the steel bridge

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