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. A 2-level (160,000 square foot), Portland-based Meier & Frank became the first store to open for business, on August 16, 1973.

Sears, occupying a 2-level (211,900 square foot) store, was dedicated in October 1973, followed by a 2-level (120,000 square foot), Portland-based Lipmans, on November 12 of the same year. The mall was officially dedicated February 21, 1974.

New stores continued to open. A 2-level (108,000 square foot) Nordstrom made its debut May 15, 1974, followed by a 2-level (89,300 square foot), Honolulu-based Liberty House, which welcomed its first patrons in August. The sixth anchor, a 2-level (210,500 square foot) J.C. Penney, began business August 13, 1975.

Charter inline stores included Rife's Organ Sales, First National Bank and a Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour. With its completion, WASHINGTON SQUARE encompassed 1,093,500 leasable square feet and was the largest enclosed shopping center in the Beaver State.

A freestanding cinematic venue was built on a pad located .1 mile southeast of the mall's Sears. The Tom Moyer Luxury Theatres Washington Square 4 was in operation between 1979 and 1989.

WASHINGTON SQUARE had virtually no competition for several years. BERNARD'S BEAVERTON MALL (1969) {3.2 miles northwest, in Beaverton} was a small, community-class venue. True retail rivalry came 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 1978 and then moved into -and rebranded- the larger Lipmans store in April 1979. The old Liberty House / Frederick & Nelson re-opened, as a Mervyn's, on November 2, 1979.

By the mid-1980s 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 got off to a rocky start. Frederick & Nelson was shuttered on January 14, 1991. Nordstrom planned on demolishing the vacant building and replacing it with a larger store.

Initial work was underway when it was halted by a suit filed by May Department Stores, the parent company of Meier & Frank. The issue was resolved in January 1993. Nordstrom would build its new WASHINGTON SQUARE store and Meier & Frank would expand theirs.

Nordstrom's new 2-level (180,000 square foot) location opened August 12, 1994. The remodeled and enlarged Meier & Frank, which now encompassed 269,000 square feet, was officially dedicated September 16th. As part of their store renovation, Meier & Frank had constructed an adjacent parking garage.

During a second renovation phase, the old Nordstrom building 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 Collection. The culinary complex opened for business July 21, 1995.

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 mall expansion and renovation got underway in late 2004. An 80,000 square foot, twenty-eight store, Northwest Wing was constructed, along with two parking garages. The mall concourse was officially dedicated on November 18, 2005.

New stores included Papyrus, The Duck Shop, Sharper Image, Godiva Chocolatier and Cheesecake Factory. With its 50 million dollar addition, the mall encompassed 1,441,000 leasable square feet and contained one hundred and forty-three stores.

Mervyn's shuttered their WASHINGTON SQUARE store in November 2005. It was renovated and re-opened, as a Pittsburgh-based Dick's Sporting Goods, on March 13, 2008.

Sources:

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