Trudging along for over 30 years, Mall 205 left an indelible mark on shoppers located on the east side of Portland, Oregon. The mall opened in 1970 anchored by Montgomery Ward and White Front department stores, with enclosed in-line space between them. White Front went out of business in the late 1970s, but the mall didn’t suffer. Instead, it converted White Front’s space into more space for stores and added an Emporium location which would also close.
Demand was high in this mall, which filled (and continues to fill) a shopping void between several larger malls in the Portland area, all within a 10 minute drive via expressways: Lloyd Center to the west near central Portland, Westfield Vancouver Mall to the north, and the large Clackamas Town Center to the south. The mall chugged along into the 80s and through the 90s and was going just fine until a devastating closure in 2001 when Montgomery Ward departed as that chain went out of business nationwide.
Following the devastating departure of Montgomery Ward, vacant space inside Mall 205 shot up fast. Almost immediately, local mall owner Center Oak Properties decided a radical revamp of the mall was in order. In 2002, Mall 205 got a radical facelift – the first and only major renovation the center received. Home Depot, Target and 24 Hour Fitness stepped in where Montgomery Ward left the reigns and the mall’s interior received brand new fixtures, flooring, ceiling, and the whole kitchen sink. Part of the overhaul was also a complete change in the mall’s blank, walled exterior, giving it a downtown look complete with glass storefronts, colorful awnings and tree-lined sidewalks. Inside, the mall has a new food court, ceiling and floor. The parking lot was also extensively renovated with all-new light fixtures, a system of rectangular grids with 20-foot-wide sidewalks and 900 new trees. A ditch for catching parking lot runoff looks more like a park, complete with plantings and bird feeders.
Mall 205 remains successful today as it ever was, existing mostly as an ancillary mall to the larger centers it supports. Some of its tenants include Famous Footwear, a bakery, car stereo place, pizza parlor, and other shops and services. A final notable thing about the mall is that it’s one of two enclosed malls I can think of named after an interstate. The other was called Mall 189 in Burlington, Vermont, and has since been disenclosed. Thankfully, this is one of the few mall renovations that allowed for enclosure. I took the pictures in November 2005.