Hill Block Then and Now

Hill Block 1910

Hill Block Building - 1910
Hill Block Building – 1910

The Hill Block Building was built by Charles H. Hill, Albina’s first mayor. Located at the corner of Russell and Williams it was at the center of the business district for Albina.

Hill Block 1962

Hill Block Building in 1962
Hill Block Building in 1962

Though somewhat depressed the wonderful building thrived into the late 1960’s.  By this time Williams Avenue was a one way street North.  The building was home to a cafe, a repair shop, cleaners, and a market.  The corner store under the dome was still a drug store. Williams and Russell became a popular gathering place for the African-American community.

Hill Block building site 2007

Hill Block Building Site - 2007
Hill Block Building Site – 2007

In the late 1960’s, Emanuel Hospital planned to build a 19-acre health campus around the existing hospital. Clearing the land for this project removed the last remaining sections of Russell Street’s commercial area as well as further displacing many residents from the area. The health campus was never built. After the buildings were removed in 1969, funding ran out. The entire block has remained vacant ever since.