Take a Closer Look Inside Portland’s Most Mysterious Ruins

This week, our podcast is accompanied by a photographic tour.

What’s your favorite abandoned building? We all have one, right?

For the longest time, I was obsessed with the Radke Auto Parts building at that weird angular intersection of North Fessenden and Columbia Way. Couldn’t you just imagine two candy-paint, kitted-out classic Cadillacs on display on the little triangle pocket of sidewalk in front of the entrance? It’s been empty for as long as I remember. But what was that place like in its heyday?

I’m also bird-dogging that red building on the corner of Northeast MLK and Skidmore. Before it vacated, there were always cool works of metal art in the little parking lot. Stuff you might see at Burning Man. It seemed like the resident might have passed away. If all that cool art was left on that parking patio, can you imagine what they left inside?

I could name a dozen or more vacant buildings I’d consider risking a B&E for, but I never went all in and investigated any of them. Which is why I was particularly excited about this week’s cover package, “Chasing Ghosts,” an examination of some of the most iconic longtime deserted buildings in the city.

On the Dive podcast, Nigel Jaquiss and I chat about buildings left vacant in a city experiencing a houselessness crisis, and what gets left behind when those places are left to rot.

Listen on Spotify.

Listen on Apple Podcasts.

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And while you’re listening, check out this gallery of ruins photography—photos Michael Raines captured at the 12 sites profiled in this week’s paper.