The Harbor Drive expressway in downtown Portland was opened to traffic in 1942. It was, arguably, the first freeway in Oregon, though a very short one. Harbor Drive was popular in its early years, but during the 1960s and 1970s, city planners began to reconsider the expressway. Could the area be redeveloped to provide more open space, or to help connect the downtown business district to the river? Government and private groups issued several proposals, and eventually the open space idea won out. Harbor Drive was demolished in 1974, and construction on the new Waterfront Park began. The park opened to the public in 1978.
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