March 31, 2014
As the Oregonian Media Group prepares to move out of the Oregonian building on Southwest Broadway later this year and over to a new location a few blocks away, there's some housecleaning that inevitably needs to be taken care of.
One piece of business is combing through the old photo negatives, to choose what will be converted into digital form.
With approximately 100 vertical filing cabinets and 50 loose boxes worth of negatives, slides and hard-copy prints to sort through, it isn't what you'd call glamorous work. There is some upside, however. For every thousand photos of car crashes along I-5, there's a handful of gold nuggets: photos of the Mount St. Helens eruption, semi-vintage shots of Trail Blazers, and the Rose Festival.
So when a small envelope was spotted at the bottom of a folder with the description, "Elvis w/ Kids," admittedly, thoughts of a potential Antique Roadshow-esque discoverycrossed my mind. Inside were two 4x5 copy negatives of original prints; one was of Elvis Presley performing and the other was The King with three autograph-seeking kids. Were these never-before-seen images? Perhaps a 'Da Vinci Code' message was embedded about Presley's 'real' whereabouts? Not quite, but if you're an Elvis fan from the Portland area and haven't seen the photos before, it's still pretty neat.
With a little digging by staff news researcher Lynne Palombo, it was confirmed that both photos were taken on Sept. 2, 1957 when Presley visited Portland for a concert at Multnomah Stadium (now Providence Park). The shot on stage was published by The Oregonian and the other was printed by The Oregon Journal, which was purchased four years later by The O.
As Journal staff writer Dorothy Lois Smith penned in her column the day following the concert, there was "definitely the on-stage Elvis and off-stage Elvis." The juxtaposition of a rhinestone studded Presley that can hardly contain himself in one photo and the tender loving, mild-mannered Presley in the other gives a good representation of just that.
In the slideshow, you can get a good look at the photos and negatives found, with the original captions that ran when they were published. Also included are the newspaper pages and photos published the day after the concert. Lastly, a shot of our lovely basement, where the negatives are stored.
If you happen to recognize the kids in the photo or if you just want to share your memories of Elvis visiting Portland back in the day, feel free.