Salem G.I. Joe’s on Lancaster Drive NE, built in 1976. It was the first store built outside the Portland Metro area. This was the 7th store in the 5th location (because there were 3 stores in North Portland adjacent to each other). My dad, Ed Orkney led the opening celebration for the last time for a new store, as he passed away later that year.
As Joe’s Sr. VP Ron Menconi said, “This was one of the biggest grand openings we ever had. Great store and outdoor-loving community!” Brian Seiler commented, “Gary O and I opened that store…we set up for hire screening in a construction trailer…we had about 400 people in line to screen for interviews…it was a long day.”
“CONCERT HOPEFULLS – After standing in the cold and wind for nearly two hours, these people are finally inside the Oak Grove G.I. Joe’s store with a good chance to buy tickets to the Kenny Rogers-Dolly Parton concert Feb. 10 in Portland’s Memorial Coliseum. Some 600 tickets sold fast.”
Photo and text from The Oregonian, January 8, 1985.
G.I. Joe’s offered Christmas shoppers the largest toy selection in Portland in the late 1950s and 1960s. Since this photo is marked 1958, the toy department must have been in the original store on Vancouver Avenue in North Portland. In 1966, Dad opened Store 2 adjacent to the original store and moved Toyland there to coincide with that store opening. When he opened Store 3 in 1968, he again moved the toys there.
G.I. Joe’s started sponsoring G.I. Joe’s Portland Grand Prix in 1984 and the last lap was run for Joe’s in either 2006 or 2007. I first got to watch the race cars fly around the P.I. R. track in a previous race G.I. Joe’s sponsored in 1978. I still remember that it was a hot day, the hot dogs tasted great, and excitement and gas fumes filled the air!
Thanks to Wil Askew for sharing the poster he designed.
Heading for Delta Park, elephants and their handlers trudge in front of the original expanded G.I. Joe’s store in 1956 or 1957. They were part of a huge circus that put on shows for a few days.
I remember going to the circus site and watching the elephants help put up the tents! It was almost a better show than seeing the actual performance in the three rings. My brother Corky and I had mixed feelings about circuses anyway, because we had seen a few movies that I think had scary clown murderers in them.
I had thought that the circus was Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey, but on the internet, I found a list of cities they toured in those years and it did not include Portland. Time for more research!
Mom snapped this photo.
Thank you so much for liking “Growing Up With G.I. Joe’s” on Facebook! At 10:30 this morning, there were 307 likes. It feels good because the likes are basically a tribute to all the folks that built the company or enjoyed shopping there (or both).
What a great ad! Wil Askew designed it for G.I. Joe’s back in the day and then shared it with me recently. Can’t you just feel the rain and sleet and snow when you look at the ad?