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June 26, 2016

Oregon City Municipal Elevator

by Jim

Oregon City Municipal Elevator
This is the Oregon City Municipal Elevator.

(Click here to view the interactive picture in a new tab. When it opens, click and drag to look around.)

The Oregon City Municipal Elevator is a public elevator that connects two neighborhoods in Oregon City, Oregon. The two neighborhoods are vertically separated by a 90-foot cliff — without the elevator, pedestrians would have to go quite a bit out of their way to get around the steep slope (not to mention climbing a lot of stairs!). The elevator was built in 1915, and is still popular with commuters. It is also popular with tourists, partly because its distinctive structure is clearly visible from the nearby interstate freeway.

The elevator is unique for several reasons. It is the only outdoor municipal elevator in the United States, and one of only four in the world. “Elevator Street” provides continuity for 7th street, which runs on both the upper and lower parts of the town, and is touted as the only vertical street in North America.

Although not visible from the VR, another unique aspect of the elevator may be the nature of the observation deck and its location right at the edge of the cliff. It has a UFO-like shape, making it stand out even from a distance, and is one of the reasons the structure is so noticeable from the nearby interstate freeway.

There is a small tunnel that accesses the lower elevator stop, and some unusual pictures line the walls of the tunnel. The image displayed on each picture changes depending on the angle at which the picture is viewed, shifting between views taken during construction, and some taken after. There overall effect when walking through the tunnel is to give a sense of time to the photos. Similar pictures line the bottom of the observation deck, as can be seen in the VR.

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