The Motels of Interstate Avenue, Portland Oregon
Before Interstate 5 was built in 1957, Interstate Avenue was a main route to downtown Portland, Oregon from Vancouver, Washington
and other points north. The I-5 bridge is even named "The Interstate Bridge." Motels were built to cater to weary travelers driving
from Los Angeles to Seattle or wherever along the west coast they were coming from and going. Interstate Avenue is still a busy street,
and now has the MAX Yellow Line light rail running along its entire length; but there are seven weary old motels waiting for travelers who will never arrive.
I've stayed at six of these seven motels and written short reviews here, because there is scarce information on other web sites
about these places.
UPDATE: In late 2013 some of these motels stopped offering weekly rates. I think the owners all know each other. Rates are fairly uniform
across all the motels at $60 per night.
Palms Motel 3801 North Interstate Avenue Portland, OR 97227 (503) 287-5788
Palms is the only motel on North Interstate Avenue that has an online booking engine and is also listed on
travel sites like Travelocity, Orbitz, and hotels.com. They have wireless Internet here that is fast and reliable. Each room has electronic card entry locks, satellite TV with
about 100 channels and a fancy remote, a microwave, refrigerator, air conditioning and heat. There is a guest laundry. Rates at The Palms vary from $47 to $60 per night (plus 12% lodging tax)
depending on the number of people staying in the room and how many beds you want in the room. They also have a Jacuzzi tub room for $100. The cheap
rooms are hit and miss. Some have been remodeled and are quite pleasant. Some have not been remodeled and will make you say "ugh." Aside from random
cigarette burns, dents in the walls, holes punched in the bathroom door, and other permanent damage; the rooms are clean and bug free. There is daily
housekeeping. Two Hispanic women who don't speak much English are the main housekeeping staff, so I suggest you learn a few words like "clean towels"
(toallas limpias) "cup for water" (taza para el agua) "please" (por favor) "thank you" (gracias.) Some guy who I think is part of the family who
owns the motel does the housekeeping on Sundays. Check out time is 11 a.m. and check in time is 3 p.m.
although they'll let you check in early unless all the rooms are occupied.
Economy Inn - 3971 North Interstate Avenue Portland, OR 97227-1070 (503) 287-1149
Economy Inn is the lowest priced motel on North Interstate Avenue but is also the only one of the six I've stayed at that doesn't have wireless Internet.
They also call your room at 10 a.m. to ask if you're checking out at 10:30 or "staying over." Their check out time is a half hour earlier
than the other motels. Check in is at 3 p.m. Every room has electronic card entry locks, cable TV with remote, phone, microwave, refrigerator,
and AC/heat unit. Economy Inn rooms are old and worn out but clean and bug free. At $45 per night, Economy Inn is the most economic but also one
of the oldest and most worn out. This is the only motel (or hotel) I've stayed in that experienced a clogged toilet. They have plungers in the laundry
room so I think it's a common occurance. Economy Inn is also the only place where they ask you whether or not you want housekeeping.
Westerner - 4333 North Interstate Avenue Portland, OR 97217-3286 (503) 281-0097
Westerner's web site is the same as Sixth Avenue Motel's web site. I was disappointed with the Westerner when I stayed there in Sept. 2011.
It looked nicer than the other motels from the outside, but was one of the worst on the inside. Westerner is almost identical to the Economy Inn
both in decrepitude and architecture. It is closer to a MAX light rail stop than any of the other motels, however; so they charge a little more
than the others. MAX stops right in front of the motel at the Prescott Street station. The Westerner quoted me a price of $70 per night in early
2010 but was $60 per night in September 2011. This price includes the lodging tax. Check in time is 2 p.m., check out is 11 a.m. There is housekeeping Monday thru Saturday. Each room has cable TV, a refrigerator, microwave, phone,
and AC/heat unit. The room I had was missing the remote for the TV, and the TV would only change channels upward. If you wanted to go from channel
8 to channel 7 you had to go up past channel 99 and back up to 7. The bathroom seemed to have outdoor tile and you had to step up about 2 inches.
The floor in the room was very unstable, with a lot of squeaky spots and weird bulges under the carpet. It was a very well worn room but clean and
bug free. There is wireless Internet which is reliable, but hijacks your browser at times when you click on a link. I don't know if it's supposed
to do this or if their router has a virus. The Westerner is also one of the two motels on North Interstate that use old fashioned metal keys instead
of electronic cards on the entry locks.
Budget Motel - 4739 North Interstate Avenue Portland, OR 97217 (503) 847-9209
I haven't stayed at Budget Motel, all I can tell you about it is that they have the old fashioned metal key locks
on the doors
rather than electronic cards; and that in 2010 their rate was $50 per night plus a $5 key deposit.
Monticello Motel - 4801 North Interstate Avenue Portland, OR 97217-3623 (503) 285-6641
Monticello is $60 per night and much nicer than The Westerner and Economy Inn. Every room has extended cable TV with 10 different HBO channels and
remote, phone, refrigerator, microwave, AC/heat unit, daily housekeeping and electronic card entry locks. They have reliable and fast wireless Internet. Check in
time is 3 p.m. and check out is 11 a.m. My only complaint about Monticello is that the AC/heat unit didn't work quite right. They're also the only
nosy motel, asking me if the address on my ID was current.
Super Value Inn - 5205 North Interstate Avenue, Portland, Oregon (503) 285-2556
Super Value Inn used to be Mel's Motor Inn. The rooms "in the back" are nicer than the ones facing Interstate Avenue, having been
partially remodeled. Some people think the showers don't work... they just have an unusual configuration. You have to pull down on a ring at
the end of the bathtub faucet to turn on the shower. Every room has daily housekeeping, cable TV with remote, electronic card entry locks, telephone, microwave,
refrigerator, and AC/heat unit. I've had several of their "nice" rooms, which are on a par with Monticello's rooms... old and worn out, but not
as old and worn out as the Westerner or Economy Inn. However, even these nice rooms have one fatal flaw: a pervasive bizarre odor of mold and old cigarettes.
This odor will stay with your luggage. Super Value Inn also once stuck me in a room that had cockroaches and other weird beetle-like insects.
They moved me to a bug free room. One of their front desk clerks also charged me for September 31, 2010 (there is no such date, ever.) I was staying
there on a weekly rate of $280. I mentioned the error three or four times and eventually got it corrected by showing that I was charged for a date
that doesn't exist. Lucky for me they write them down in a big book. Super Value Inn has fast wireless Internet but it has very strict anti-war driving
software ("war driving" is driving around with a laptop and seeing where you can log into an unsecured WiFi network.) Their system locked me out
several times and I had to call a toll free number to get my computer "unblacklisted." The phone number comes up on a screen when you log in,
be sure and write that number down. The daily rate is $50 to $60 and the quoted price includes the lodging tax.
Viking Motel - 6701 North Interstate Avenue, Portland, OR (800) 308-5097
Viking is probably the least decrepit of the Interstate Avenue motels. As you can see by its address, Viking is 15 blocks away
from its nearest motel neighbor. The other six motels are stretched out over 14 blocks. It isn't a remote location, however; being the closest to
the Interstate Fred Meyer and Interstate Transit Center. The price here is $50 to $60 per night plus tax. They have fast and reliable wireless Internet
and a guest laundry room. Every room has daily housekeeping, a phone, refrigerator, microwave, cable TV with remote, AC/heat unit, and electronic card entry lock.
I'm not calling The Viking the nicest motel on Interstate because most people who are used to Holiday Inns and Marriotts and Hiltons would refuse
to stay here. So I think "least decrepit" is a more accurate description. The rooms are bland and depressing but have much less damage and wear
than the rest of the Interstate motels.
The room I had at Viking was clean but the bathroom was infested with ants.