The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of Mall 205 in Portland, OR

The Birth and Rise of Mall 205

The Inception of a Retail Landmark

In the bustling Hazelwood neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, a new chapter in retail history began with the birth of Mall 205.

Located at the strategic junction of Interstate 205 and S.E. Washington Street, this enclosed shopping haven became a beacon of commerce and leisure.

Opening its doors in September 1970, Mall 205 stood on the grounds of the former Morningside Hospital, which had closed its doors in 1968. The transformation from a hospital to a shopping mall significantly shifted the area’s landscape and utility.

Anchoring the Retail Revolution

Mall 205 initially boasted two major anchor stores – Montgomery Ward and White Front – that drew crowds and set the tone for a thriving retail environment.

Over the years, the mall underwent several changes, adapting to the evolving needs of its patrons. The closing of White Front in June 1974 led to a reshuffling of the mall space, paving the way for new entrants like Emporium and Pay Less Drug Stores in 1978.

These changes reflected the mall’s ability to stay relevant and competitive in a rapidly changing retail scene.

A Hub of Activity and Commerce

Beyond being a mere collection of stores, Mall 205 emerged as a community hub. Its two-story Target store, the largest in Oregon, became a landmark in its own right.

The mall’s evolution continued into the new millennium when it was acquired and renovated in 2001 by CenterCal properties.

This renovation not only refreshed the mall’s appearance but also brought in a mix of new tenants, enhancing the shopping experience.

Mall 205, with its varied offerings and central location, became an integral part of the “things to do in Portland, Oregon,” attracting locals and tourists alike.

Expansion and Competition in the Late 20th Century

Facing the Heat of Competition

The opening of Clackamas Town Center in 1981, just a few miles away, introduced a new level of competition.

This larger mall presented a challenge, yet Mall 205 held its ground. Through the 1990s, despite the rising competition, Mall 205 managed to maintain its relevance and appeal to its customer base.

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This resilience reflected the mall’s ability to adapt and evolve in a dynamic retail environment.

The Era of Ambitions

In the 1990s, Mall 205 eyed a significant expansion that would transform its landscape.

Plans for a 75,000-square-foot multi-screen movie theater and a new food court were set in motion, signaling a bold step towards becoming a premier shopping destination. However, the realization of these plans has been delayed.

Steadfast Through Changing Times

Throughout the 1990s, Mall 205 mainly remained unchanged in its core structure, a testament to its initial design and planning. However, the mall didn’t just rest on its laurels.

The management’s strategic decisions, from diversifying the tenant mix to enhancing customer experience, played a crucial role in keeping the mall afloat amid growing competition and changing consumer preferences.

Renovation and Rebranding in the Early 2000s

A Time for Major Changes

The turn of the millennium marked a pivotal moment for Mall 205. In early 2001, two of its anchor stores, Montgomery Ward and Emporium, closed their doors, leaving significant vacant spaces.

This closure led to a domino effect, causing many smaller tenants to leave. However, this challenging period also opened an opportunity for revitalization.

Center Oak Properties, later known as CenterCal Properties, initiated a massive $20 million renovation project. This move signaled a fresh start and a commitment to reinvent Mall 205.

The Transformation Begins

The renovation transformed the mall’s landscape significantly. A two-level Target store occupying the former Montgomery Ward space became a new draw for visitors.

On the site of the former Emporium, The Home Depot opened its doors, adding a different retail dimension to the mall.

These changes were not just about filling vacant spaces but were strategic moves to diversify the mall’s offerings and attract a broader customer base.

Adding notable tenants like Arch Fitters, Bed Bath & Beyond, Circuit City, and Famous Footwear further enhanced the mall’s appeal.

A New Chapter in Retail

The renovation marked the beginning of a new chapter for Mall 205. It transitioned from a traditional shopping mall into a more dynamic retail environment.

The changes reflected an adaptation to the evolving retail trends and consumer expectations.

This period of transformation was crucial in keeping Mall 205 relevant in the competitive Portland retail market, ensuring it remained a key destination for shopping and leisure activities.

Challenges and Decline in the 21st Century

The Decline of Foot Traffic and Tenancy

The reduced foot traffic resulted in a decline in small businesses within the mall. Many of these businesses relied on the steady stream of customers that larger stores like Target and Home Depot attracted.

This decline was a stark reminder of the interconnected nature of tenants in a shopping mall ecosystem and how changes to one part can significantly impact the whole.

The Pandemic’s Impact on Retail

The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the challenges faced by Mall 205. The global health crisis devastated many aspects of the retail industry, leading to decreased footfall and increased economic pressures on businesses.

For Mall 205, which was already grappling with the effects of reduced traffic and tenant closures, the pandemic may have accelerated the need for a major rethink of its role and function in the Portland retail landscape.

The Transformation of Mall 205 into Marketplace 205

A New Vision for an Old Favorite

2021 marked a significant turning point for Mall 205. It was purchased by Rhino Investments Group for $43 million, signaling the beginning of a major transformation.

The new owners envisioned a revitalized shopping experience, a move sparked by the departure of Bed Bath & Beyond.

This sale provided an “exciting repositioning opportunity” for the property, which had slowly lost its traditional mall identity.

From Traditional Mall to Retail Hybrid

The transformation plan for Mall 205, now quietly renamed Marketplace 205, aimed at redefining its role in the retail world.

The space inside the mall, vacated by Bed Bath & Beyond, was earmarked for division between new tenants. Rumors hinted at Hobby Lobby and Burlington Coat Factory being potential new occupants.

This shift was not just about changing tenants but transforming the entire concept of what Mall 205 had been – from a conventional mall to a more contemporary retail hybrid.

Adapting to the Retail Evolution

This phase in the life of Mall 205 reflected a broader trend in the retail industry: the evolution from traditional shopping malls to spaces that offer a more varied and dynamic shopping experience.

As consumer preferences shifted and online shopping grew, places like Mall 205 had to adapt to remain relevant.

This transformation represented an attempt to stay in tune with the times, offering a mix of retail options that could draw in a diverse range of shoppers and breathe new life into this long-standing Portland landmark.

The Relocation of Mall Tenants and Future Prospects

Facing New Retail Challenges

The decision by anchor stores Target and Home Depot to close their interior mall entrances, primarily to combat theft, had a substantial impact.

This change dramatically reduced foot traffic within the mall, severely affecting the smaller retailers.

These developments underscored the evolving challenges in the retail sector, especially regarding security and customer flow.

The Final Days for Small Retailers

The transformation of Mall 205 into Marketplace 205 brought significant changes for its small retailers. By the end of March 2022, the last remaining small businesses, including All-American Magic and Demba, were given notice to vacate.

This marked the end of an era for these small vendors who had relied on the mall’s foot traffic for over a decade.

Their departure symbolized the final shift away from Mall 205’s traditional mall setup, paving the way for a new retail structure under the new ownership.

Embracing Change and Looking Forward

As Mall 205, now Marketplace 205, embarks on its new journey, the future seems promising. With plans to introduce new stores like Hobby Lobby, the mall is poised to become a revitalized shopping destination.

The ongoing transformation reflects the ever-changing nature of retail, adapting to recent trends and consumer preferences.

As Portland continues to evolve, places like Marketplace 205 will be crucial in shaping the city’s retail landscape, offering fresh experiences to a new generation of shoppers.


The story of Mall 205 is a compelling tale of evolution in the retail world. From its inception as a bustling shopping center in the 1970s to its transformation into Marketplace 205, the mall has mirrored the changing trends and challenges of the retail sector.

The journey of Mall 205 showcases the resilience and adaptability required in an ever-evolving landscape where consumer preferences and market dynamics dictate the course.

As Marketplace 205 steps into its new era, it carries a rich history and the promise of a revitalized retail experience, continuing to be an integral part of Portland’s commercial tapestry.

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Comments: 12
  1. Avatar of J. Marti
    J. Marti

    There was an Alley Cat Pet Store… I was a student at Russellville Elementary School when the Mall opened. I remember one Easter I asked my folks for a chocolate Bunny they said I was to old…. I said if I don’t get one I’ll get a real Bunny. I saved up my lunch money & went to Ally Cat Bought a bunny. I asked did you get me a chocolate Bunny? They said no! I presented My real Bunny I named Pepper😊 I followed up with “I told you I was gonna buy a real bunny” I got to keep Pepper.

    1. Avatar of Spencer Walsh
      Spencer Walsh (author)

      It’s heartwarming to hear about your memories of Mall 205 and how you acquired your pet bunny from the Alley Cat pet store. It sounds like this mall held a special place in your heart and gave you some beautiful memories. Thank you for sharing your story with us!

  2. Avatar of Dawn Hull
    Dawn Hull

    I worked at Barts Hush Puppies Shoe Store. I only worked there a couple of months. Worst job I ever had.

    1. Avatar of Spencer Walsh
      Spencer Walsh (author)

      I’m sorry to hear that your time at the shoe store wasn’t enjoyable. I hope that you’ve been able to find a job that you’re passionate about.

  3. Avatar of Julie Ferrell
    Julie Ferrell

    There was a screenprinting shop that made custom t-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, etc. the name escapes me now, but my Gran worked there for a couple of years, and I had my 11th or 12th Birthday party there where I got to bring a group of friends, and we each got to pick out a t-shirt to make. we had cake and ice cream! It was super fun.
    My aunt worked at The Closet before it moved to Lloyd Center. Talk about fashion! Shoulder pads and Suede were totally IT!!!
    Lastly, I recall one of my most memorable Christmas gifts was a trip to Glamour Shots!! they did your hair and makeup, and let you choose from their gigantic selection of outfits, then took your photo. I was 10 but looked about 22 in those photos! specifically remember this sailor hat and leather coat, whoa! Hot stuff!!! tons of great memories there. I was always sad to see it go. I do hope that Hobby Lobby and Burlington come. That would be great! Thanks for the jog down memory lane!

    1. Avatar of Spencer Walsh
      Spencer Walsh (author)

      It’s delightful to hear about your cherished memories at Mall 205, about the screenprinting shop where you celebrated your birthday. What a unique and engaging way to mark the occasion with friends! And your Glamour Shots experience sounds positively enchanting!
      The prospect of Hobby Lobby and Burlington revitalizing Mall 205 is indeed heartening. It’s beautiful when cherished locations continue to evolve and provide joy to new generations. Thank you for sharing your lovely trip down memory lane.

  4. Avatar of Mark Carbaugh
    Mark Carbaugh

    Great memories of the old tenants in the late 70s, early 8os.
    Emporium, Payless, the arcade, Orange Julius, the theater ( saw Rocky and Saturday Night Fever there with my college girlfriend and now wife of 44 years.)
    Sounds like they are shifting to a Cascade Station/ Bridgeport Village model.

    1. Avatar of Spencer Walsh
      Spencer Walsh (author)

      It’s lovely to hear about your experiences at Mall 205 from decades ago. It’s fascinating to reflect on how such places have been part of our personal stories. Such stories give a place its soul.

  5. Avatar of Nm

    here’s an off the wall vision maybe a long with having hobby lobby and Burlington or whoever inhabits the space I think should make the roof like one big skylight and a fun scenery but make it home to nothing but food carts, it would provide maybe a safer setting for them and make it easier for them to operate with all the regulations that got handed to them, maybe set it up in a theme way, so give people a sense of being in Mexico and another an Asian or Hawaii setting.

    1. Avatar of Spencer Walsh
      Spencer Walsh (author)

      I appreciate your creative idea for Mall 205. The concept of a skylight roof with themed food areas is intriguing and could really enhance the mall’s appeal and functionality.

  6. Avatar of J Lambert
    J Lambert

    That idea to open up the place for food carts is brilliant. What I miss about the mall is walking there every day. It was a safe place that was dry to walk for health. So many people walk there every day, and it sat to have lost this piece of mall, 205.

    1. Avatar of Spencer Walsh
      Spencer Walsh (author)

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Mall 205. The mall was a safe, dry place for many to walk and stay active. It’s important to find ways to preserve these community spaces.

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