Lloyd Center: Mall memories from once-booming shopping site – Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon 2021-11-25 17:00:00 –

Portland, OregonPortland Tribune) —Lloyd Center has been making memories for over 60 years.

They were good for most of that time. When it first opened in 1960, the mall was groundbreaking. Covering 18 acres and with 100 stores, eateries and offices outdoors, it’s the largest shopping center in the country, whether it’s a family trip, a date, or just a destination. Over time. Tonya Harding famously learned to skate there. Santa foretold a pre-Christmas visit.

These days, my memories weren’t so good. As shopping patterns changed, anchor stores like Sears and Macy’s left. The surrounding neighborhood has gained a dangerous reputation. The recession and COVID-19 decimated the remaining tenants. A series of expansions and millions of dollars of refurbishments weren’t enough to reverse the decline.

Currently, KKR, a New York City lender, is withholding the property. Portland authorities have no plans to prevent it from being sold. In fact, Mayor Ted Wheeler has already stated that he wants the inevitable redevelopment to respect the center’s heritage. However, memories remain.

PMG Photo: Jonathan House – Today, very few shoppers come to the Northeast Portland Shopping Center and most of the time they find an empty store that once had a wide variety of merchandise.
Longing for the old Lloyd

“It feels like it existed in this short period of time before everything was owned by the same two companies,” said Cabel Sasser.

The memories of the 45-year-old Portlander Mall are stratified by age — run through a spiral staircase as a young man. As a rough teen, I secretly climbed the rooftop Meyer & Frank’s sign. And now I’m chasing with my son in the office section.

The restaurant above the ice rink looked like a palace “eaten by flashy people,” but according to family legend, the Morose Nut House candy was made by her sister after she removed the braces. It was the first thing I wanted.

Sasser, who co-founded the local video game company Panic, says that hierarchical memories are only suitable for malls that have been continuously remodeled like badges of honor. His parents proudly hang a neon sign on the wall promoting the JJ Newberry Nickel, which was closed in 2001.

Sasser has one requirement for developers to ponder the fate of Lloyd Center to store caramel corn. “I hope they save space for Joe Brown. That’s all I ask!”


For Ricky Lewis, the commercial Emporium was just a stone’s throw from Gresham, but mothers, fathers, and sisters spent more time looking at the windows than shopping.

“I couldn’t afford to take a Christmas picture with Santa Claus, so we waited outside the boundaries and took the picture without even admitting us,” Lewis said. I did.

Recently, the 27-year-old has a lot of hands — he’s a member of Congress, a member of the Reynolds School Board, and has a two-month-old baby at home — but during his teens, Lloyd Center Was a highlight. Can be seen.

“It was like a college campus, but there were no classes,” Lewis recalled.


“When I was 18-60 years ago-I was a” cute “waitress at the Mannings Buffet next to the ice rink,” said Ankelly Finney from Northeast Portland.

“And she’s so cute!” Her sister, Susan Kelly, quickly fixed.

“The big platform had about eight tables built right next to the link,” says Kelly Feeney. “All female waiters wore pinafores reminiscent of Austrian dolls and took orders to bring out burgers, sundaes and hot chocolate. The only one run by Manning’s rich buffet-type chain store. It was a table service restaurant. Just a burger! “


For others, Lloyd was a typical part of growing up in Portland.

“I grew up just a few blocks away from Lloyd Center, and Hollywood’Freddies’ is the first place I’ve been allowed to walk alone or with friends since I was eight. “Katey Quick, who currently lives in Southwest Portland, said. “I spent a lot of time there as a preteen and a teenager. I took pictures with my friends, browsed navel piercings that I would never buy, previewed CDs with thick headphones, and jamba juice. I had a lot of fun, especially when it was raining or hot, and it was a paradise for me and my friends as a kid who didn’t have much to hang out (minimum pocket changes). ..

“But that was also what my mother and I did.” Want to go to the mall? “Mother-daughter time code usually included free Sees chocolate or coffee. “

Quick said the Christmas atmosphere at Lloyd Mall was the most impressive, with a “Nutcracker” performance at a nearby ice skating rink.

“It seems pretty depressing to see the decline,” Quick said. “Now it’s such a haunted city and it doesn’t seem to serve the same purpose of the community anymore. In a more virtual world, I think it makes sense. My main The hope is that they actually use the space for something intentional that helps the community. “


Both Sasser and Lifelong Portlander Nick Ericsson say that if the mall becomes a major league baseball stadium, their dad will jump for joy, but it’s unclear what’s coming next.

Ericsson, a local teacher, remembers the night he spent eating soda and popcorn with his brother at the cinema on the top floor. Most of the malls had been abandoned by the end of the latest PG-13 blockbuster, as their parents bought multiple ticket sets for their siblings.

“It’s like this strange, empty, huge 1.4 million square foot space — on your own,” Ericsson said.

The 31-year-old remembers having little interest in shopping for the new semester and spending a day playing the Magic: The Gathering card game at the food court instead of choosing new clothes.

Mole may be destined, but Ericsson said it still has some appeal. A recent trip revealed barren JC Penny, but about half of the 200 people he saw used ice rinks.

“It’s a mall, but there’s something special about it,” he said.

Editor Dana Haynes contributed to this article.

PMG Photo: Jonathan House – The once vibrant food court is now almost abandoned and attracts few customers.
Tribune investigates readers

“We drove from Battle Ground, Washington to the’big city’in the 1970s,” said DJ Shupe in response to an email survey from the Portland Tribune. “My dad loved Sears, and when mom took us shopping for school uniforms in an exciting hipster store, we loved our girls. Remember, this was in front of the internet, this and downtown was all we had, and the Lloyd Center could be moved much easier for people in our country than downtown. . “

Shoepe’s memories aren’t just about shoppers. “When I was in college, I worked at Lloyd Center Nordstrom and loved it. I worked at accessories, but my absolute favorite customer was an African-American woman who came directly from the church. , Everyone wore colorful church ornaments. They came to try on and buy our flashy hats, and those hats were one of those beautiful and stylish women. I wasn’t as happy as when I chose them! The women were very different from the background of my church, the humble, wall flower Luthers. “

Tribune’s email survey received a variety of responses. “Nixon ran for president in 1968,” wrote Robert Powellski.

“I was there when it opened,” added Ben Merrill, who called himself. Ice rink events, Santa Claus lap sitting, and outdoor experience attendants — Tom Hardy’s sculptures adorned the planters and walls, remembering when they weren’t surrounded. I was disappointed with the (closed) news. “

“I remember when I was a teenager, I brought the biggest from the suburbs to go to the mall with my friends,” Britney Piper wrote. “We walked around parks and malls and bought food. My sister took a picture of Santa there every year and went there to go back to school and shop.”

“Everything is back at Lloyd Center,” writes Claire Turner. “My brother and his wife were from Montana, and Portland was like a huge big city. Somehow, every time I left home, they arrived at Lloyd Center. Whenever any of us say “Lloyd Center”, I remember those visits and how Lloyd Center painted them like magnets, regardless of where they thought they were going. .. “

“I was teaching ice skating to young children there,” writes reader Deli Busher.

“I was 6 or 7 years old when the store opened,” writes Corynn Limon. “I remember open-air shopping, Newberry, Woolworths, and Joe Brown Carmel Shop. I’ll dress up, go shopping there, and later learn to ice skate at that link.”

“You can see everyone you know there,” Edna Baseden added. They had everything and everything you might need. “

Portland Tribune and KOIN6 News are media partners.

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