(Staleys Jct. to Davies Jct.; Hwy #47 MP 45.48-49.31, 3.83 miles)
(within Madras; Hwy #4 MP 91.94-97.29, 2.43 miles)
(Mt. Vernon to John Day; Hwy #5 MP 154.03-162.29, 8.26 miles)
(Vale to Idaho Border; Hwy #7 MP 246.41-266.82, 20.41 miles)
(Cairo Jct. to Nyssa; Hwy #7 MP 258.20-265.97, 7.77 miles)
"Over the Sunset Highway from its junction with the Oregon Coast Highway, US101, approximately four miles south of Seaside, easterly via Elsie, Manning, (common with ORE47 from a point near Buxton to a point near Banks), and North Plains to its junction with the Stadium Freeway, I-405, in Portland;
"Thence southeasterly over the Stadium Freeway Highway (common with I-405) to its junction with 6th Avenue and Broadway; thence over 6th Avenue, Broadway, Sheridan, Arthur, and connecting streets to the Mt. Hood Highway near the Ross Island Bridge; thence easterly over the Mt. Hood Highway via Powell Boulevard, Gresham, Sandy, and Government Camp to its junction with the Warm Springs Highway approximately three miles east of Government Camp;
"Thence southeasterly over the Warm Springs Highway via Warm Springs to its junction with The Dalles-California Highway, US97, at Madras; thence southerly over The Dalles-California Highway (common with US97) to its junction with the Madras-Prineville Highway approximately one mile south of Madras; thence southeasterly over the Madras-Prineville Highway to its junction with the Ochoco Highway, OR126, in Prineville;
"Thence easterly over the Ochoco Highway to its junction with the John Day Highway, OR19, at Rock Creek Junction; thence easterly over the John Day Highway via Dayville, Mt. Vernon, John Day (common with US395 from Mt. Vernon to John Day), Prairie City, Unity, Ironside, and Jamieson to its junction with the Central Oregon Highway, US20, in Vale;
"Thence southeasterly over the Central Oregon Highway via Cairo and Nyssa to the Idaho State Line (common with US20 between Vale and the Idaho State Line, and with OR201 between Cairo and Nyssa). (Rev. 5/19/2005)"
~ ODOT, Descriptions of US and Oregon Routes, March 2007
US-26 was created at the inception of the original United States Interstate Highway System in 1926, but it only ran as far west as Dwyer, Wyoming from Ogallala, Nebraska. It was subsequently extended to Alpine, Wyoming (Grand Teton National Park) in 1948, Idaho Falls, Idaho in 1951, and finally into Oregon in 1952. US-26 was signed all the way to Astoria via Central Oregon and Seaside, replacing a portion of US-28 from Cairo Jct. to Prineville, a portion of OR-27 from Prineville to Madras, OR-50 from Madras to Portland, and OR-2 from Portland to Cannon Beach Jct.; it was cosigned with US-20 between the Idaho border and Vale, OR-201 between Nyssa and Cairo Jct., US-395 between John Day and Mt. Vernon, US-97 within Madras, US-99W (now OR-99W and OR-10) within Portland, OR-6 from Portland to Sylvan, OR-47 through Manning, and US-101 from Cannon Beach Jct. to Astoria. When created, US-26 was given its only child, US-126, routed from Prineville to Florence along the rest of old US-28's alignment.
US-26's original routing in Portland was along the Jefferson-Columbia St. couplet, but in 1957 was slightly changed; though it entered Portland from the west on Jefferson and Columbia, it then jogged down 12th and 13th Sts. two blocks before continuing eastward on Clay and Market Sts. towards the Portland Waterfront. At the same time, OR-6 was placed on a new alignment from Gales Creek to Tillamook Jct., eliminating the duplex in Portland; OR-6 became OR-8 from Gales Creek to Sylvan. In the late-1960's, the Vista Ridge Tunnel opened in Portland's West Hills, providing a direct freeway link for US-26 into Portland; as a result, US-26 was taken off of the Jefferson-Columbia and 12th-13th couplets and put on Clay and Market Sts. completely. Many thought this was the last rerouting of US-26 in Oregon, but in August 2003, the Oregon Transportation Commission eliminated the redundant US-26 designation off of US-101 from Astoria to Cannon Beach Jct. It has already taken effect, as an "End US-26" shield assembly was spotted at its western terminus at US-101. Before the removal, US-26 was the holder of the longest route in Oregon at 490.58 miles, but this record now belongs to US-30.
Some maps place US-26 along a short section of I-405 between Exits 1C and 1D. This is due to signage on Exit 1C Southbound for US-26 East to the Ross Island Bridge, as well as signage on I-5 and I-405 implying a cosignage of I-405 and US-26. In reality, those signs should all read "To US-26 East" and "To US-26 West;" Oregon has a habit of leaving off those pesky "TO" banners everywhere. Not helping matters is signage on US-26 East itself. For as long as I can remember, signs on US-26 East approaching I-405 showed a US-26 shield over the "Market St., City Center" sign; as of December 2005, the US-26 sign is now positioned next to the I-405 South shield and above the "The Dalles, Salem" sign, alluding to a rerouting of US-26 through Portland. All other signage I've seen shows that US-26 still remains on the Market-Clay couplet and on Naito Pkwy. through Portland. Who knows, this may change soon.
In the 1970's, there was a plan to put US-26 on a complete freeway alignment through Portland, much like US-30 is. It was going to be called the Mt. Hood Freeway, and you can read more about it here.
There are so many current and pending US-26 construction projects that I created a separate page for them. Click here to go to the page.
There are many potential old alignments of US-26 throughout the state, but two previous alignments that are known to exist are in Portland. From 1952 to about 1957, the first alignment (shown in red) came into town from the west along Canyon Rd., which split coming out of the West Hills into Jefferson St. (Eastbound) and Columbia St. (Westbound). The highway ran to the Harbor Drive (US-99W) along the waterfront before turning south and eventually merging onto Front Ave. This route was cosigned with OR-6 during this time, and before it was US-26, it was OR-2. In 1957, coinciding with the completion of the Wilson River Highway (OR-6) in western Washington County and (most likely) the planning of the Vista Ridge tunnels, US-26 was shifted to a slightly different alignment. This alignment (shown in green), came into town the same way as the 1952 alignment, but only until the 12th-13th St. couplet, where it jogged two blocks to the south to the Clay-Market St. couplet that US-26 is aligned today. The 1957 alignment again utilized Harbor Drive (then called US-99), but were routed onto ramps to Clay and from Market. With the completion of the Vista Ridge tunnels, US-26 was completely shifted to its current alignment through the West Hills and Downtown, but remained on the Harbor Drive and ramps until 1974, when it is removed to make way for Waterfront Park; US-26 is subsequently routed along Front Ave., its current alignment. Much of the old portion of Canyon Rd. serves as Exit 73 from current US-26.
These are some of the many possible alignments of US-26. These alignments (shown in blue), were definitely a part of old US-28, but I am unsure of when they were bypassed by the current alignment. In the ODOT logs, the first section is simply known as "Road," but the second and third sections are called the "Old Hwy." on maps; the third segment is also Mitchell's Main St.
The final former alignment of US-26 that is intact is this section along the Grant-Baker County Line. This section, shown in purple, survives as National Forest Road 500, but is also called the Old Hwy. This was most likely bypassed to eliminate a sharp 180° turn along the highway, but it is unknown if this route was ever US-26.