WASHINGTON SQUARE
Southwest Scholl's Ferry Road and Southwest Blum Boulevard
Washington County (Tigard), Oregon

Plans for the sixth mall-type center in Greater Portland were announced May 3, 1972. A one hundred store buying behemoth was to be constructed on an 85 acre plot, located 6.8 miles southwest of the city center. At the time, the land parcel was in a section of unincorporated Washington County known as Progress.

WASHINGTON SQUARE would be developed by Winmar Pacific (a subsidiary of Seattle-based Safeco Insurance). At the time of its completion, the complex was the largest enclosed shopping center in the Beaver State, encompassing 1,093,500 leasable square feet.

A 2-level (160,000 square foot), Portland-based Meier & Frank became the first store to open for business, on August 16, 1973. A 2-level (211,900 square foot) Sears and 2-level (120,000 square foot), Portland-based Lipmans were dedicated in November of the same year. The mall proper was officially dedicated February 21, 1974.

New stores continued to open. A 2-level (108,000 square foot) Nordstrom made its debut in May 1974, soon followed by a 2-level (89,300 square foot), Honolulu-based Liberty House / Rhodes. The final anchor tenant, a 2-level (210,500 square foot) J.C. Penney, began business August 13, 1975.

WASHINGTON SQUARE had nothing in the way of commercial competition for several years. BEAVERTON MALL (1969) {3.2 miles northwest, in Beaverton} was a small, community-class venue. True rivalry appeared with the completion of CLACKAMAS TOWN CENTER {9.8 miles east, in Clackamas}, in 1981.

Anchor store rebrandings got an early start at WASHINGTON SQUARE. Frederick & Nelson rebranded the Liberty House location in April 1979 and then moved into -and rebranded- the larger Lipmans store in 1980. The old Liberty House / Frederick & Nelson became a Mervyn's.

Meanwile, the cities of Beaverton, Tualatin and Tigard were fighting a nasty court battle for annexation of the mall site. In 1986, Tigard prevailed and incorporated WASHINGTON SQUARE into its city limits.

The first major mall renovation was done in 1993-1994. Frederick & Nelson, which had been shuttered in May 1992, was demolished and replaced by a 2-level (180,000 square foot) Nordstrom, which opened in 1994. In addition, Meier & Frank increased the size of their store to 242,500 square feet and built an adjacent, multilevel parking garage.

The original Nordstrom was gutted and expanded, with its lower level becoming new retail space. The upper level was refashioned into additional retail and the 10-bay Summit Food Court. At the same time, the entire mall was given an interior facelift.

The shopping venue changed ownership in 1999. It was sold to a joint venture of the Santa Monica-based Macerich Company and Pacific Premier Retail Trust. The Ontario (Canada) Teachers Pension Plan also participated in the transaction.

A second remodel of the mall was undertaken in 2004. A 100,000 square foot, twenty-eight store, Northwest Wing was constructed, along with two parking structures. These were completed in late 2005. With this addition, the mall encompassed 1,441,000 leasable square feet and one hundred and forty-three inline stores.

Mervyn's shuttered their WASHINGTON SQUARE location in November 2005. It was renovated and re-opened, as a Pittsburgh-based Dick's Sporting Goods, in March 2008.

Sources:

"Washington Square Mall" article on Wikipedia
Comment post by Mark Bozanich
www.shopwashingtonsquare.com
www.washims.com
www.angelfire.com / "Highways of Washington State"
Washington County, Oregon tax assessor website