SE Yamhill Sinkhole

SE Yamhill Street is closed from SE 76th Avenue to SE 73rd Avenue due to a sinkhole. People began reporting the collapse of the road surface on Friday, May 12th. The sidewalks remain open to pedestrians. A significant section of the street is fenced off to keep people away from the unsafe area.

According to the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), the hole is approximately 10 feet deep and 30 feet across, although the open aperture of the void and visible bottom appear less than reported. However, similar to an iceberg, the perceptible danger of a sinkhole can be smaller than the danger below the surface. PBOT cautions people to stay behind the protective barricades until crews can repair the roadway.

This section on SE Yamhill Street began as a dirt road between two farms, as visible in a photograph from 1906. The road’s incline was so steep in this section of Yamhill that the Mount Tabor Street Car line Diverted to SE Taylor Street to bypass it. Current public transportation, however, continues to use Yamhill. Due to the sinkhole, the TriMet number 15 bus line will skip eastbound service at SE Yamhill & 73rd (Stop ID 6445) and SE Yamhill & 76th (Stop ID 6447). Drivers are also bypassing stops for westbound riders at SE Yamhill & 73rd (Stop ID 6446) and SE Yamhill & 71st (Stop ID 6444).

PBOT asks drivers and cyclists to find alternate routes, and TriMet requests bus riders adjust the stops they intend to use. Expect to see PBOT workers address this issue soon. However, the underlying street structure could require extensive repair.

Yamhill Street at 71st looking East. Photo by Karl J Straub, 1906.

About Karl J Straub, believed to be the photographer of the 1906 Yamhill image. – Born around 1882 in Oklahoma, Straub relocated to Portland before the turn of the last century. In the last hours of 1902, Straub is recognized as an officer of the Carnation Social Club, celebrating New Year’s at Burkhard Hall. In January 1908, he married Catherine Stopper. He and his wife lived at 1973 East Main Street (Currently addressed as 1228 SE 78th Avenue) according to the Sunday Oregonian birth announcement section on December 29th, 1912. According to the Morning Oregonian, a son soon followed on May 27th, 1914. By 1940 he had moved to 1340 SE 88th Avenue, a home later owned by his daughter Clara Straub through the1960s.

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