An Extant Asset
It was just a quick trip on the Tri-Met green line south past Mall 201 and into the aptly named suburb of Happy Valley. Clackamas Town Center looks like many of its peers, with a faux town center abutting the main entrance and an interior decked out in all shades of white. But it still seemed to be drawing in crowds during my visit on a sunny spring day. And that’s always good to see as too many old destinations like it seem to be falling by the wayside.
Clackamas Town Center opened in 1981 in this largely suburban area to the southeast of Portland. The first store to open, Meier and Frank, predates the rest of the facility by several months, opening in late 1980. Meier and Frank was joined by JCPenney, Nordstrom, Sears and Montgomery Ward when the balance of the shopping center was completed.
The mall remained pretty much unchanged for the next two decades, when Montgomery Ward closed shop along with the rest of the chain. During these banner two decades, Clackamas Town Center was home to a regulation size ice rink which used to draw crowds when the now infamous Tonya Harding would practice there.
In 2003, Macy’s, having taken over Meier and Frank during their late nineties/ early aughts buying spree, took over both the original location and the former Montgomery Ward. Then, in 2005, the biggest changes to date came to the town center when a lifestyle outdoor element was constructed on the south side of the building.
The recent years haven’t been as kind to the aging destination. Sears closed in 2018 to be replaced with Dick’s Sporting Goods, but was followed soon after by the permanent closure of original tenant Nordstrom in 2020, which never reopened after closing during the Covid pandemic. Today, JCPenney, Macy’s (still with two anchor spots) and Dick’s remain as the facility keeps its tenuous hold on the title of the retail hub of the area.