I've long wondered about this. We're a few blocks from the Brooklyn Rail Yard; Milwaukie Ave. had a streetcar line several decades ago; these rails don't seem to connect to either of those (and there's no way it linked to the riverside rail line on the other side of the hill), so why were they there? And that's "were"; those tracks are gone. My best guess (just a guess) is that maybe before TriMet built its garage/yard on the east side of 17th, a spur of the rail yard extended into this part of the neighborhood. I've seen a map of the streetcar lines Portland used to have, and there's nothing east-west on Mall, so it probably wasn't connected to the streetcars. Maybe it was older. Again, was.
This is the back of a building that used to house TriMet offices, a convenience store, and a barber shop I never went into. I'd wondered before if maybe the building would be partly saved, but by October 2012 (not pictured) the whole building was going to go. You don't shave off parts of a building without A LOT OF SUPPORT.
Some flair for the barber shop. Another copy of this image was on a sign at the street corner, though that one was defaced.
Looking west down Mall to the parts of the neighborhood that are still standing. That morning, the #19 bus had to be re-routed around an accident near Milwaukie and Holgate.
A wider view.
The rails again.
Looking north, with the main TriMet offices a couple of blocks up.
And here's the February view:
Approaching the work zone.
New road, with the Max tracks in the middle. That road goes through where the building used to be. As usual, I see where buildings used to be and wonder "how did the building fit into that space?"
Northward view again.
I'm guessing these tracks partly go through where the building used to be, too. THIS IS WHY TIME TRAVEL IS DANGEROUS; how did the lay of the land change? How is it going to change? DON'T TIME-TRAVEL INTO A CAR OR A WALL.
New road, waiting (eventually) for cars.
Once again, a westward look down Mall.
Two years from now, this will be a really dangerous place to stand due to those Max trains that'll be running through, but at the moment it's one of the safest places. Go fig.
Old road in the front; new rails and new road in the farther-from-the-front.