Mike Koller's Commentary

Posted January 28, 2006 (user submitted)

In the 1970's Eastport Plaza had a very nice Lipmann's(sp) department store in the location that eventually housed Mervyn's. I don't remember who owned Lipmanns, but they all went out of business in Portland by the early 80's. Mervyn's probably kept the mall alive longer than it would have after Lipmanns closed.

I thought Eastport Plaza was unusual in the fact that it had four strong anchors (GI Joes,Tower Records,Mervyn's and JC Penney)for quite awhile, but it was a very small mall with only about twenty specialty shops on the inside. I also remember a DJ's Sound City which I believe was a national music chain, but they left when Tower Records came aboard. There was also a Hush Puppies shoe store that liquidated at some point in the 80's and a local shop called Doo Da's that was kind of a poor man's Spencers Gifts!

I Christmas shopped there in about 1987 and remember enjoying that it was great to get in and out and avoid the huge crowds and traffic jams at Clackamas Towne Center, but also thinking that the mall would not be long for this world because Mervyn's announced they would be moving to a strip center next to the Clackamas Mall.

Eastport Plaza still exists as a massive strip center as the area is still very valuable real estate. The GI Joes is still standing, but the enclosed mall is gone.

AJ's Commentary

Posted October 17, 2005 (user submitted)

Eastport Plaza was an enclosed mall in outer southeast Portland. It was sited strategicly close to Foster Road and was off 82nd Avenue, the two main thouroughfares through this section of town. Also, it was not too far from I-205, which was built through southeast after the mall opened. I'm not sure when it was built, but from what I remember, it looked like a 1960's to late 1970's enclosed mall.

Until the larger Clackamas Town Center was built nearby, Eastport Plaza was the main shopping mall for the south metro area. My father remembers that it was a very popular hangout for teenagers. I was very young, but remember that it was starting to decline in the early 1980's.

From what I recall from my earliest memories, the northern end of the mall was anchored by a GI Joe's, a local sporting goods company. There was a waterslide park and arcade just outside GI Joe's in the mall, where we would watch people slide into the pools from slides originating in a tower far above the mall (waterslides in or near smaller malls were a big thing in 1980's Oregon for some reason). The mall curved to the south at a Mervyn's anchor store, and ended at the southern entry. Between the south entry and Mervyn's was an outdated JC Penney and an JJ Newberry five and dime store across the hall from it.

I remember that the minor stores in the mall were mostly outdated, but major brands. Soem stores had pulled out to move to Clackamas Town Center, but the mall was doing well enough at the time to continue business for those that remained: JK Gill (local stationary store), Tower Records, Lerner New York, an Orange Julius kiosk, a King's Table buffet, and Foxmoor. An Albertsons grocery store was an outparcel on the southeast premises.

The first to go was the water park, a victim of sucessful litigation against the chain. All of its infrastructure was removed, and hidden behind a nice wood barrier. The arcade moved and lingered on for a few more years. For the rest of the mall's life, the former waterpark storefront remained tastefully boarded up.

Business began to decline, despite Eastport Plaza's prime location. By the 1990's, JC Penney decided not to invest any more effort into Eastport Plaza, baing happy in their new and larger Clackamas Town Center store. Also, Albertsons closed, to be replaced with a sucession of flea markets and vacancy. The Malmanac listed a triangular "future development" seperated from the main body of the mall on the Albertson's site. This would never be built. The mall started to rapidly lose stores, eventually leaving only GI Joe's, JJ Newberry, Mervyn's, and some small secondary stores among mostly empty storefronts. Mervyn's and Newberry's eventually left, moving to newly built stores farther south along 82nd.

The loss of Mervyn's dealt the death blow to Eastport Plaza. Many of the secondary stores and anchors were redundant thanks to Clackamas Town Center. The mall was still open, but only Tower Records and GI Joe's remained. The US Post Office and an Armed Forces Recruiting Center set up shop in parking-lot facing storefronts toward the end.

At the end of the nineties, it was decided to demolish most of the existing mall and redevelop it towards "Big Box" retailers. Only GI Joe's and a very small portion of the enclosed mall attached to it survive today. Albertsons returned to the premises in a new store, as did Wal-Mart. The rest of the premises were converted to strip-mall style development around the parking lot, and a large multiplex cinema was built behind the surviving buildings. The new development has been sucessful.

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