Fun Fact # 58 Which Slabtown building has the tallest fire escape?

Fun Fact # 58 Which Slabtown building has the tallest fire escape?

Which Slabtown building has the tallest fire escape?

Answer: Montgomery Park has the tallest series of fire escapes and possibly the most banks of fire escapes in Slabtown.

Two banks of fire escapes on the north facade. Courtesy Unico Properties purchased building in 2019 from Bill Natio Comp.

Currently, this building is the second largest office building in Portland.  Montgomery Ward & Company building was a department store and warehouse distribution center in operation from 1920-1985.

Postcard c. 1920 showing the Portland Montgomery Ward & Co. building. There were similar buildings in Oakland, Chicago, Baltimore, Kansas City, St. Pauls, and Fort Worth.
Close up of a fire escape on the south facade.
Cropped in image from the historic marker in front of the fountain on the west side of the building. The building is under construction yet you can clearly make out a train locomotive peeking out of the building (c.1920)

I use to think historic postcards that are bereft of the fire escapes were pulling my leg when they depicted a train with smokestack billowing entering the structure.  In fact trains were able to deliver directly to basement. The building housed a postoffice for many years.

Fire escape used in Drug Store Cowboy:

The Irving Street Apartments’ (now “The Irving”) the fire escape was featured in Drugstore Cowboy (1989) American crime drama film directed Portland film maker Gus Van Sant.Link to all PDX Location in the film. Image MLS Listing
Fire escapes are not protected in Oregon, even when they were included in the original architectural drawings and are attached to designated landmark buildings, and like curb guards they are fading away. During Covid-19 you might be looking for something new to watch why not pick a movie that features a fire escape?
The Irving Street Apartments’ (now “The Irving”) the fire escape was featured in Drugstore Cowboy (1989) American crime drama film directed Portland film maker Gus Van Sant.Link to all PDX Location in the film. Image MLS Listing