Portland, the City of Roses
Portland is known as the CITY OF ROSES. Each June the city holds its annual Rose Festival which is highlighted by the "Starlight Parade" and the "Grand Floral Parade". Throughout the year the area in and around Portland is packed full of things to do and things to see. The area is also rich in history and resplendent in natural scenic beauty.
The photo above is taken from Portland's West Hills looking east over the city towards Oregon's Mt Hood and the Cascade Mountain Range.
The Birth of Portland
It all began in 1843 when Tennessee drifter William Overton and Massachusetts lawyer Asa Lovejoy beached their canoe on the banks of the Willamette River. Overcome by the beauty of the area, Overton saw great potential for this mountain-ringed, timber-rich land. His only problem was that he lacked the 25 cents needed to file a land claim. So, he struck a bargain with Lovejoy: In return for a quarter, Overton would share his claim to the 640-acre site known as "The Clearing."
Soon bored with clearing trees and building roads, Overton drifted on, selling his half of the claim to Francis W. Pettygrove. The new partners, Lovejoy and Pettygrove, however, couldn't decide on a name for their budding township. Lovejoy was determined to name the site after his hometown of Boston, while Pettygrove was equally adamant about his native Portland, Maine. They decided to flip a coin, now known as the "Portland Penny," to settle the argument. Pettygrove won on two tosses out of three.
Lovejoy and Pettygrove were confident that Portland, with its deep water and abundant natural resources, would one day become a popular and prosperous port. They might have been shocked, however, to learn how popular it soon became and for what sort of activities.
Portland has a dark history that began in the late 1800s with Joseph "Bunco" Kelly, a hotelier notorious for kidnapping young men and selling them to ship captains. Many bar owners and hotel operators relied on this shanghai trade to supplement their businesses and Kelly was one of the best. Paid by unscrupulous captains to intoxicate potential crewmembers, Kelly would deliver his drunken quarry to waiting ships. The unfortunate men would wake up the next day - stranded at sea and forced to work for indefinite periods of time.
Kelly often bragged that he could gather a full crew in less than 12 hours. Inevitably a ship captain would challenge him. One evening, in his quest to fulfill a boast, Kelly ran across a group who had stumbled upon the open cellar of a mortuary. Thinking the cellar was a part of the Snug Harbor Pub; the men had each consumed cups of embalming fluid, which they had mistaken for liquor. When Kelly found them, several had died and others were dying. Claiming the dead were merely unconscious from too much drink, Kelly sold all 22 to a captain whose ship sailed before the truth was discovered.
In another attempt to make a quick buck, Kelly delivered a dime store Indian heavily wrapped in blankets to a ship. When the captain learned the next morning that his new crewmember was a wooden statue, he became so angry that he threw it overboard. Two men operating a dredge nearly 60 years later recovered it.
"Sweet Mary," the proprietor of a brothel, is another interesting figure in Portland's history of the late 1800s. In order to elude taxes and city laws, she operated her bordello on a barge that ran up and down the Willamette River. Technically, she was outside everyone's jurisdiction.
The turn-of-the-century, however, seems to have brought a close to Portland's colorful early years. Secure jobs in lumber mills and wealth from providing goods to the California Gold Rush helped stabilize the economy, giving the city's population more time to regulate the seedy activities of its busy waterfront.
Personifying this shift in attitude was Simon Benson, a tea totaling lumber baron and philanthropist. While walking through his mill one day, Benson noticed the smell of alcohol on his workers' breath. When Benson asked these men why they drank in the middle of the day, they replied there was no fresh drinking water to be found downtown. Upon hearing this, Benson proceeded to commission 20 elegant freshwater drinking fountains, now known as the Benson Bubblers. Beer consumption in the city reportedly decreased 25 percent after the fountains were installed.
Simon Benson's water fountains still bubble invitingly on Portland's downtown streets. And around the fountains has grown a city of parks, outdoor artwork, coffee carts, microbreweries, bridges and bookstores.
The turn of the 20th century, however, seems to have brought a close to Portland’s colorful early years. Secure jobs in lumber mills and wealth from providing goods to the California gold rush helped stabilize the economy. Portland is a people town, whose pedestrian-friendly city blocks are half the size of those in other towns, where outdoor benches are crowded with readers enjoying good books and spring sunshine, and where limits on growth have kept the surrounding countryside within a 20-minute drive of the city's core. Not a bad investment for a quarter!
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Wheat and Flour Trade
The growing of wheat was the first great industry of the region to be developed for export to Europe and Asia. The manufacture of flour then, naturally, followed and its sale, both in Europe and the Orient was tremendous. At one time the proportion of wheat grown in Oregon was larger than that of the mid-west. Total shipments from Portland in 1904, when wheat crop was the smaller than average, was 12,000,000 bushels. That year the entire yield of the state was 13,000,000 bushels. At the turn of the 20th century, the three northwest states shipped their grain through Portland; the average shipment of wheat for export was 14,500,000 bushels. In the early 1900’s, Portland was the home of the largest flour mill on the Pacific Coast.
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At the turn of the 20th century, Oregon had approximately 205 billion feet of timber over half of its nearly 100,000 sq miles. In 1904 the state cut approximately 2.4 billion feet of lumber with a value of about $12.65 million. The Portland mills manufactured 413,559,285 feet of that for export
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The City of Portland is located in a good position at the end of the rich Willamette Valley on the Willamette River, 13 miles upstream from where it enters the mighty Columbia River. That juncture is 121 miles from the Pacific Coast. Even with all of that in its favor, it wasn’t the easiest place to develop a port. The mighty Columbia River carries a greater volume of water than the Mississippi and has a tendency to shoal. The Portland Commission was formed to work with the US government to maintain dikes and dredge the lower Columbia River to facilitate water traffic
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Money Magazine rated the “City of Roses” as one of the best American cities in which to live (December 2001). According to Money Editors, Portland won a top ranking by “avoiding urban sprawl and overcrowding” and for “placing a premium on green space, culture and an accessible city center”. Travel & Leisure Magazine also took notice of Portland recently with a #5 ranking on its list of “100 fantastic places (and things) for 2001”. The magazine’s editors say Portland is “reaching new levels of cool”, citing the city’s restaurants, art galleries, the Pearl District, Portland Art Museum and the new Portland streetcar as notables. Portland also made American Lifestyles Magazine list of the country’s “top 25 Arts destinations” four years running.
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Portland is the home of both the world’s smallest dedicated park, Mill Ends Park (24 inches square in size) and the nations largest forested city wilderness, the 5,000-acre Forest Park. Portland’s parks are as much a part of the quality of life as the coffeehouses, bookstores and raindrops. Tom McCall Waterfront Park used to be the Interstate Highway and is now a major venue for festivals and special events.
Portland is the only major city in the United States with an extinct volcano within its city limits. The volcano’s name is Mt Tabor and it is now a city park. Our volcano is extinct, but we have a view to the north of a more famous, active volcano named Mt St Helens.
Millions of years or so ago, Mt Tabor was an island in the big inland sea which covered the present site of Portland. Nearby Kelly Butte and Rocky Butte appeared just above the surface. Further away, Council Crest lifted its head above the flood. Mt Tabor erupted before Mt Hood, the state’s tallest mountain today, was even formed. Mt Tabor was named after another mount of the same name which sits six miles east of Nazareth in Palestine. Interestingly enough, the true volcanic origins of Mt Tabor were not discovered until 1912, years after it became a public park.
Other amenities that Portland has to offer are:
Sidewalks paved with famous quotations
It has more Micro-Breweries & Brewpubs than any other city
It is renowned for coffee shops selling unique Northwest blends
It is home to the country’s largest independent bookstore, Powell’s City of Books”, a whole city block with more than a million volumes
It features a 25-foot weather machine in the downtown Pioneer Square that predicts the weather each day at noon amid a fanfare of trumpets
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Places to Visit and Sights Worth Seeing
Portlandia, based upon the female figure dressed in classical clothes on the City of Portland's seal, is the second largest hammered copper statue in America. Raymond Kaskey created this 36 feet tall statue which, if she stood up, would be 50 feet tall. Located at Portland Building, 1120 SW 5th Avenue, Portland, Oregon, she is worth visiting when you are Portland.
OREGON MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY (OMSI)
OMSI is the nation's fifth largest science museum and contains, among other wonderful things, an Earthquake Room, a Planetarium, National Touring Exibitions and the USS Blueback Submarine.
The Grotto is 62 acres of wooded beauty, gardens, fountains and towering firs. Our Lady's Grotto, a shrine carved into the face of a 110-foot cliff, is the focal point of the attraction. The shrine contains a white marble replica of Michelangelo's beautiful Pietà. Towering above the shrine and accessible via a 10-story outdoor elevator are The Grotto's upper gardens. Here, visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of Portland's highlights including the Columbia River Valley, the Cascade Mountain Range and explosive Mount St. Helens.
Home to one of the nation's most comprehensive collections of American, European, Asian and Native American art
Linked via the City's new streetcar this eclectic warehouse area features art galleries, antique stores, cafes, restaurants, artists' studios and residential lofts. Book lovers will find this area irresistible.
BRIDGEPORT BREWING COMPANY
An transformed historic factory, located on a cobblestone street in the Pearl District, is the home of the state's oldest operating microbrewery. The building that once turned out acres of rope for sailing vessels now produces British-style ales and gourmet pizza with a secret ingredient - wort, a byproduct of beer production that gives BridgePort's pizza dough a unique nutty flavor.
PORTLAND BREWING COMPANY
Visitors can sample microbrews in the Taproom restaurant, which overlooks the brewery's distinctive 140-barrel copper brewing vessels.
The Pittock Mansion is listed on the National Historic Register and is located just up West Burnside Street. The Chateau-esque residence boasts a spectacular view of the city and the mountains and rivers that surround it.
Built in 1914 by the original owner of The Oregonian newspaper, the mansion is furnished with antiques and fine art.
Washington Park is the home of the International Rose Test Garden. Established in 1917, it is the oldest public garden of its kind the United States. The four-acre garden is home to 9,000 roses of 590 varieties. Also located within the park is the Japanese Garden, the most authentic Japanese Garden outside of Japan. The 5.5-acre garden includes a tea house, five beautiful garden styles and still more breathtaking views of Portland and Mount Hood.
The Oregon Zoo contains more than 1,000 animals representing 200 species. It is a 61-acre facility in the hills overlooking the City Center. One of its most notable attractions is the Steller Cove, an ocean exhibit complete with Steller sea loins, sea otters, a large tide pool and underwater viewing areas.
HISTORIC SKIDMORE DISTRICT
Set in the downtown area is the historic Skidmore district. The area is noted for its beautiful cast-iron buildings, decorative fountains, lively public squares and the busy and colorful Portland Saturday Market. Billed as the nation’s largest open-air market for handcrafted goods in the United States with more than 270 craft booths, food vendors and live entertainment, it is open Saturdays and Sundays (March-December 24)
PORTLAND FARMERS' MARKET
Saturdays (May-October) the market springs to life in the South Park Blocks on the campus of Portland State University. Wednesday (mid-May-early October), the market moves closer to the downtown hotel core, setting up shop in the South Park Blocks just behind the Portland Center for the Performing Arts.
OLD TOWN/CHINATOWN DISTRICT
An area of variety ranging from nightlife, dining and commerce to the Portland Classical Chinese Garden. This walled garden encompasses an entire city block and features the work of more than 60 Chinese artisans who spent the better part of a year lending their talent to the garden's intricate design.
This is a 5-mile pedestrian/cycling trail that extends along the east side of Willamette River waterfront between the Steel and Hawthorne bridges. Some 1,200-foot floating walkway actually sits atop the river!
Sternwheelers and dinner boats still ply the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. Enjoy a leisurely cruise while watching the magnificent sites along the way and enjoy lunch, dinner and moonlight cruises. Also, Willamette Jetboat Excursions whisk adventurous passengers from the submarine dock at OMSI upriver to the impressive Willamette Falls and back
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The Port of Portland's combined terminals handle $10.5 billion worth of cargo each year.
Portland's Junior Rose Festival Parade is the largest children's parade in America.
Portlandia is the second-largest hammered-copper statue in the world (the Statue of Liberty is the first).
More Asian elephants (27 to date) have been born in Portland than in any other North American city.
The Portland Youth Philharmonic is America's first established youth orchestra.
Portland is known as the epicenter of America's craft brewing renaissance.
Portland has 37,000 acres of parks in the metro area.
Portland's nicknames include "Rose City," "City of Bridges," "Rip City," and "Rivercity."
The Oregon Brewers Festival is the largest gathering of independent brewers in North America.
The city of Portland was officially incorporated on February 8, 1851.
There is No Sales Tax anywhere in Oregon!
Here you may not pump our own gas, by law!
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Links to Tourism Sites of the Area
City of Beaverton The City of Beaverton is a close neighbor. Originally a farming community, it has grown to be
Oregon's fifth largest city with a population of almost 84,000. Beaverton is located in the Tualatin River
Valley just seven miles west of the City Portland and encompasses 18.6 square miles.
Read more about it...
Washington County Washington County spans 727
square miles and includes the communities of Beaverton, Hillsboro, Forest Grove, Tigard, Tualatin, Sherwood and Wilsonville.
It has thriving corporate business parks which house some of the largest high-tech and industrial companies in the
Read more about it...
Vancouver, Washington Vancouver, our immediate neighbor to the north, lies just accross the mighty Columbia River from Portland. Steeped in history, culture and friendliness, Vancouver provides us with a most amiable companion.
Read more about it...
Oregon State The beautiful and scenic state of
Oregon in the Pacific Northwestern part of the United States is where we call home. Portland is located in the Northwest
corner of the state at the junction of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. Read more about it...
Southwest Washington State Our immediate neighbor
to the north is Washington State. As we share the banks of the mighty Columbia River, our histories and enterprises
are closely linked. There is much to see and do here and all within an easy drive of Gateway Lodge. Read more about it...
Oregon City Just south of us is the beautiful city of Oregon City. Oregon City is the first incorporated city west of the Mississippi. Established in 1829 by Dr. John McLoughlin as a lumber mill near Willamette Falls, it was later designated as Oregon's territorial capital. Read more about it...
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