Mall 205 is going to be one of the happier stories you read about on this site. It’s currently a mall that’s been redeveloped on the outer east side of Portland, and it’s definitely fought hard, and it’s won its challenge to maintain its business. The mall went through a lot of hard times, and its owners have put a lot of money and effort up all throughout its existence to keep the shopping center in existence. It’s right now classified as a community shopping location.
The late part of the 1970s and the early part of the 1980s saw Interstate 205 get completion. There was a new freeway that was coming in, and developers saw a lot of opportunities to bring those commuters into the shopping centers and start eyeing properties near 82nd Avenue and the freeway too. Before the Clackamas Town Center opened, Mall 205 was probably the biggest freeway-spurred development ever.
The original decor and configuration was basically typical of the latter 1970s and early 1980s. The mall was enclosed completely, and the only outparcel was a Montgomery Wards auto center. It had a shape that was rectangular, and the main walkway that veered off to the west on the side that was on the north side. This old mall was pretty dark inside, and it just had the occasional fluorescent light to light it up. This was probably done to make the shops look a little brighter, and it gave shoppers a lot more incentive to go inside the mall.
There was an Emporium and a Montgomery Wards as the anchor stores. There was another anchor store that was home to a lot of different big department stores. There were two big grocery stores, a Payless Drug Store, now called a Rite-Aid, and there were some minor stores there too. The mall had a movie theater also. It wasn’t accessible through the mall interior though.
The mall did pretty well throughout the whole 1980s, even though there were some major anchor store shuffles. The owners wanted to freshen the mall up with a facelift in the early part of the 1990s. This encouraged customers and tenants to be happy. Sadly, Mall 205 was going up against the Clackamas Town Center to the south, and a lot of the minor stores in Mall 205 could be found, along with several other stores. There were just a ton of empty storefronts here.
However, when the 2000′s hit, there was a recession, and Mall 205 went into dire straits. Payless Drugs had merged with Rite Aid. Playless had a ton of other stores in smaller Oregon malls, but Rite Aid wanted to close the majority of these stores in favor of developing a new stand-alone store.
The mall was returned to vitality with its owners. The Big Box craze was definitely in full swing, and Mall 205 brought in a lot of “category Killers” to the mail to fill up that renovated space in a configuration that was all brand new. A lot of the enclosed mall still survives to this day. The new configuration has a little less space though.