Soon to be gone but never forgotten

Back in the late 70’s my first job was working at McDonalds. The one in SW Portland where Capitol Highway and Barbur Boulevard cross. I took great pride in my $3.35 per hour role. At the time, I thought that McD’s was the place for me. I didn’t want to work anywhere else. I was an ace on the grill and could handle even the longest lines on the front-end. When I was promoted to Swing Supervisor, my wage skyrocketed to $4.10 per hour! I didn’t think I’d be able to spend all that money. I’ll never forget the day I got my first 2-week check and it topped $200… Was there anyone wealthier than me? I didn’t think so.

That was 40-ish years ago. I really only worked there for about 3 years – then one thing led to another and I was off to another “life changing” career. The strange thing is, I have always felt like I remained part of the McDonalds family. I never got tired of Big Macs or Quarter Pounders. The fries dipped in a chocolate shake are still the bomb, and for some reason, a Coke from McD’s always tastes better to me.

A few weeks ago I heard that the nostalgic McDonalds on 92nd and Powell was soon so suffer the fate of the proverbial wrecking ball. It was almost as if that same wrecking ball had hit me square in the stomach. Although I grew up on the West side as a kid, and never really had the chance to go inside this historic place, I always admired it from the outside looking in as I was zipping by on my way to Gresham, or wherever. I knew that it was not open to regular service but I thought it would live in infamy for kids parties and other general nostalgic reasons.

Nope. Not the case. Property is more valuable than memories. Corporate value is worth more than historic value. Rumor has it there are only 3 of these… Soon to be 2. Then 1, then just just photographs and stories.

As I eagerly approached from the parking lot today, it looked as it has always looked to me. But sadly, as I moved in closer for photos, it was evident that time had caught up to this place. There were tiles that were missing, a few boarded-up windows, thick dust was evident through the dirty windows on the kids tables, and signs of those without homes taking up temporary residence on the sidewalk out front that once guided the kids (and the big kids) to the front counter.

But as I was photographing this great place today, something really cool happened. A few other people approached me. Some with cameras and iPhones in hand. They didn’t have to ask why I was there taking pictures today. They already knew why. They each had their own story to tell and, they too, where there to record time and preserve memories with their own photographs.

I will really miss seeing these Golden Arches reaching for the sky when I’m on my way to Gresham…. Or wherever.

Two-All-Beef-Patties-Special-Sauce-Lettice-Cheese-Pickles-Onions-on a sesame seed bun.




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