EASTPORT PLAZA
Southeast 82nd Avenue and Southeast Holgate Boulevard
Portland, Oregon

Portland's second shopping mall was built on a 28-acre plot, located 4.9 miles southeast of the center city. The site, in PDX's Lents community, was once the A.V. Folkman farm. It was bought by the Pacific Coast League Portland Beavers baseball team in 1945, with plans for an eventual stadium.

The stadium plan never panned out. The property was acquired by the US National Bank in 1955. They retained a 2-acre plot and sold the remainder of the property to Fligelman & Meltzer, a joint venture of three California-based developers. Robert J. Meyer & Associates, of Los Angeles, were hired to design a single-level, open-air mall. Ground was broken on October 20, 1959.

Meanwhile, US National Bank had built a branch office on their property which opened for business on December 15, 1956. The first three stores in the adjacent shopping mall opened their doors on September 15, 1960. These were a 2-level (90,000 square foot), Portland-based Lipman & Wolf, Fabric House and Nordstrom's Shoes. 

On October 27, 1960, the 5 million dollar EASTPORT PLAZA was officially dedicated. There were twenty-two operational stores and approximately 286,000 leasable square feet. When fully-leased the complex contained forty tenant spaces. J.C. Penney and J.J. Newberry 5 & 10 were junior anchors, with both of these stores having basement sales floors. 

Charter EASTPORT PLAZA tenants included Fabric House, Pay 'n Save Drug, Leeds Qualicraft Shoes, Lerner Shops and an S & H Green Stamps Redemption Center. A bell carillon at the mall played throughout the business day. Shopping malls in the immediate vicinity were LLOYD CENTER (1960) {4.4 miles northwest} and MALL 205 (1970) {1.5 miles northeast}.

EASTPORT PLAZA was renovated in the late 1970s. The existing shopping concourse was enclosed and climate-controlled. A 91,000 square foot North Wing was built; this concourse also being fully-enclosed. The addition was anchored by a 1-level (55,100 square foot), Wilsonville, Oregon-based G.I Joe's Sports & Automotive. This store was inaugurated in March 1979. The mall renovation was completed in October.  

EASTPORT PLAZA now housed approximately 376,800 leasable square feet. Lipman & Wolfe, now known as simply Lipmans, had been shuttered in the summer of 1979. The building was leased by Hayward, California-based Mervyn's, who opened their EASTPORT PLAZA store on October 3, 1979.

In September 1982, a large waterslide, known as The HydroTubes, was installed just outside the G.I. Joe's mall entrance. The attraction was eventually shut down by lawsuits filed by parents of children injured during waterslide mishaps.

EASTPORT PLAZA began to decline after the 1981 completion of CLACKAMAS TOWN CENTER {3.6 miles south, in Clackamas}. The older mall held on for some years, but the 1986 defections of Mervyn's, J.C. Penney and Albertsons can be likened to nails driven in a proverbial coffin. J.J. Newberry bailed out in the early 1990s, leaving only G.I. Joe's and eleven inline stores in business...one of these being Tower Records. A redevelopment was announced in April 1995. The mall was demolished the next year, leaving G.I. Joe's and two smaller peripheral structures standing.

A power center was built, anchored by the existing G.I. Joe's. A 1-level (137,000 square foot) Wal-Mart SuperCenter was dedicated October 29, 1997. The Century 16 Eastport Plaza presented its first features on November 12, 1998. EASTPORT PLAZA now encompassed 406,600 leasable square feet and thirty-five stores and services.

A few changes have been made since the power center was completed back in the late 1990s. G.I. Joe's (eventually known as simply "Joe's") closed in March 2005. Its space was divided between a (35,000 square foot) Jo-Ann Fabrics Superstore and (20,600 square foot) Ross Dress For Less.

The megaplex cinema became a Cinemark venue in 2006. Albertsons pulled out the shopping complex (again) in September of the same year. Its space became an LA Fitness in August 2008. WalMart (now spelled sans-hyphen) expanded their EASTPORT store by 22,000 square feet. Its grand re-opening was held November 14, 2012.

Sources:

The Eugene (Oregon) Register-Guard
The Oregonian
preservenet.cornell.edu/publications/Longstreth Branch Store.doc
http://www.eastportplaza.com
http://blogswweek.com
http://eastportplaza.blogspot.com
www.cinematreasures.org
http://www.loopnet.com