NE 223rd Avenue Stonework Wall
In 1935, Works Progress Administration (WPA) stone workers built a retaining wall along the east and west banks of NE 223rd to finish a Multnomah County road improvement. The road project involved constructing a railroad bridge and underpass for improved traffic safety. The stonework completed this road improvement in the area of Depot Street and NE 223rd.
A 2001 Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) report documented the 340-foot retaining wall along NE 223rd in Fairview, arguing for its significance as an example of the craftsmanship of WPA workers. Drawing inspiration from work completed on the Columbia River Highway and National Park Service designs, WPA workers used the rustic hand-cut basalt for many other state and local highway projects as well.
Decades after the ODOT report, only a small portion of the WPA stonework remains on this stretch of roadway. As shown in the featured images, there is a striking contrast between the original rustic stonework that remains and the prefabricated concrete “stonework” that replaced the majority of it.
"Stonework Retaining Walls (WPA)," Oregon Department of Transportation: Request for Determination of Eligibility. January 1, 2001. Submission to Oregon State Historic Preservation Office.
Project originally submitted by Judith T Kenny on January 10, 2022.
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