- "Portland (Amtrak station)" redirects here. For the train station in Maine, see Portland, Maine (Amtrak station).
The initial design for the station was created in 1882 by McKim, Mead, and White. Had the original plan been built, the station would have been the largest train station in the world. A smaller plan was introduced and accepted in 1895. Construction of the station began in 1890. It was built by Northern Pacific Terminal Company at a cost of $300,000, and opened on February 14, 1896. The signature piece of the structure is the 50 ft. tall Romanesque clock tower. The "Go By Train" neon sign was added to it after World War II.
Besides serving as an Amtrak station, the building contains offices on the upper floors, as well as Wilf's Restaurant and Piano Bar on the ground level. It also has Amtrak's only Metropolitan Lounge (reserved for first-class passengers) on the West Coast.
Southeast of the station, the tracks make a sharp turn and cross the river on the historic Steel Bridge. To the northwest, they follow the river, passing through rail yards before crossing the river again on the Burlington Northern Railroad Bridge 5.1.
Union Station serves as a transportation hub for Portland. Portland's Greyhound bus station is the next building to the south. The Portland Transit Mall was extended to the station in the early 1990s, providing local TriMet bus (and, in the future, light rail) service to points in the Portland region. The stops are in Fareless Square, so trips to downtown are free. In addition, it is only a short walk to the Portland Streetcar, which provides service to the Pearl District or south through downtown to Riverplace.
In 1987 ownership of the station and surrounding land was transferred to the Portland Development Commission as part of the Downtown/Waterfront urban renewal district. Shortly afterwards, Union Station underwent a renovation. It was rededicated in 1996.
The PDC earns $200,000 a year from nearly 30 tenants. Amtrak, the main tenant, has a lease through 2010 with a renewal option through 2015.
In 2004, the roadway in front of the station was redone, providing a new connection to the northwest and a forecourt. In addition, the area is being redeveloped, including new housing where railroad tracks once were.