NW Cornell Road Tunnel 2, West Portal
The second of two tunnels on NW Cornell Road constructed by WPA workers, the 250 long Tunnel 2 was completed in 1941. It was prioritized among infrastructure improvements as a means of opening up residential development in Portland’s West Hills. As an element of the City’s infrastructure, its design was intended to fit into the beautiful and rough landscape of the West Hills by using local basalt on its portals that were finished in the National Park Rustic style.
The crew of masons on the project were employed by the Oregon WPA and supervised by Raffale (Ralph) Curcio, who had two decades of experience working on masonry structures in the metropolitan area. Curcio and his WPA masons had completed work on the Rustic-style portals and associated retaining walls for the Rocky Butte tunnel, and the West Burnside Tunnel before their employment on the two NW Cornell tunnels. The Sunset Tunnel would be completed by the WPA masons in 1941 as well. It is likely that Curcio and his crew also worked on the New Deal funded Toothrock Tunnel and Salt Creek Tunnel.
Hadlow, R. (2004) Oregon Inventory of Historic Properties: Oregon Highway Tunnels. Section 106 Documentation Form. Oregon State Historic Preservation Office.
Project originally submitted by Judith Kenny on October 23, 2019.
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