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September 21, 2017


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that's the way I want to remember it! I was so young I asked did we get our gas from the plane today? lol, I thought I heard someones restoring it?

Just asking....did the nose head to Oregon City or to Portland? This picture seems to show it heading to Portland. I remember it going toward Oregon City to the South. I`m so cornfused. Help.

The Bomber was at two locations. It was moved in about 1970.

lee, I seem to recall the plane was facing north towards Portland? not positive though.

That picture is looking West the nose is pointed North towards Portland. Based on the price of gas this was probably taken in the mid 70's. Also there used to be a staircase leading up to the plane so you could go inside it but that may have disappeared by the 70's. It certainly was there in the 1960's.

My grandmother lived just around the corner...on Courtney Road...from the bomber, but I couldn't tell you which direction it pointed. I just remember that it was already in pretty bad shape. This was in the early 60s.

On Google maps, in a picture taken a year ago, the bomber is gone. But, in the aerial, it's there -- minus its nose -- and pointed toward Portland.

The photo shows the Bomber pointed to the North towards Milwaukie & Portland since Mclaughlin Blvd. is shown in the foreground. The Bombers original orientation had the nose of the plane pointed towards Mclaughlin Blvd., and it did have stairs so you could enter the plane.

"Shortly after WWII a guy named Art Lacey went to Kansas to buy a surplus B-17. His idea was to fly it back to Oregon, jack it up in the air and make a gas station out of it. He paid $15,000 for it. He asked which one was his and they said take whichever you want because there were miles of them. He didn't know how to fly a four-engine airplane, so he read the manual while he taxied around by himself. They said he couldn't take off alone so he put a mannequin in the co-pilot's seat and off he went.

"He flew around a bit to get the feel of it and when he went to land he realized he needed a co-pilot to lower the landing gear. He crashed and totaled his plane and another on the ground. They wrote them both off as "wind damaged" and told him to pick out another. He talked a friend into being his co-pilot and off they went.

"They flew to Palm Springs where Lacey wrote a hot check for gas, then they headed for Oregon. They hit a snow storm and couldn't find their way, so they went down below 1,000 feet and followed the railroad tracks. His partner sat in the nose section and would yell, 'TUNNEL!' when he saw one and Lacey would climb over the mountain.

"They landed safely, he made good the hot check he wrote, and they started getting permits to move a B-17 on the state highway. The highway department repeatedly denied his permit and fought him tooth and nail fora long time, so late one Saturday night he just moved it himself. He got a $10 ticket from the police for having too wide a load."

Update: The B-17G, named "Lady Lacey" (after Art Lacey's British wife), began undergoing a serious restoration effort in 2012, when the nose and cockpit were removed. On August 13, 2014, the rest of the bomber was removed, and the restoration proceeds at the B-17 Alliance Museum in Salem. The Lacey family estimated that the plane could be worth millions if restored to flying condition, which meant bye-bye bomber forever as a gas station awning.


The nose always pointed north. you could climb up inside via stairs and sit in the cockpit from the beginning, all the instruments and controls were pristine; you could sit in the bombardier seat and the tail gunners seat. this was back in the day when 99e was called the Super Highway and the most direct route to Salem at the time. our family would pile in to Dads 39 Pontiac and head to Salem once a month for sunday dinner at the grandparents. back then 99e had other attractions of Americana which for an 8 year old held lots of fascination. i think the last time i was up inside it had extensive damage. Sad. Art and Mrs Lacey were good customers at Don Belles Brookside Restaurant, my first job out of high school, which may have inspired them to open their restaurant at the Bomber. Lovely people

Good story Gent. Thanks for sharing.

UrbanGent please Google "Bomber service Portland history" for additional photos of the Bomber which will clearly show the aircraft nose pointed toward Mcloughlin Blvd (99E). I also looked at a 1960 aerial photo showing it pointed toward Mcloughlin, then pointing toward Milwaukie in a 1970 aerial photo.

UG...great story. Thanks to all for the info of North/South.

Final answer: the bomber was first put in place in 47, facing East, until 54, then rotated facing North until its removal, now in Salem being restored. Just had to get this right.

From my last post the bomber can be seen with the nose to the East in a 1960 aerial photo, and then pointing North in a 1970 aerial photo. From a classified ad placed by The Bomber Service Station 9/4/65 they list their address as 13745 SE Mcloughlin which is the location when the plane faced East. From a classified ad placed by The Bomber Service Station July 1968 their address is listed as 13515 SE Mcloughlin when the plane faced to the North. Oregonlive has a article from 8/14/14 that states that The Bomber moved to a new larger location in the mid 60"s. Aerial photos do not support the 1954 date, as well as address changes.

I agree, good info ug, I wonder if it saw much action in wwII?

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