Oregon’s largest city spreads across both banks of the Willamette River. The City’s harbor is visited by more than 1,400 vessels each year from throughout the world. Plentiful electrical power comes from dammed rivers. Impressive Mount Hood looms to the east. A large number of conventions are attracted to the City. It has a reputation as “a city of roses.” Portland is an educational center with four colleges and universities.
In 1993, 471,308 people lived in the city. It is the largest city in the state.
The city was founded in 1842 by F.W. Pettygrove and Amos Lovejoy, who argued over the name and tossed a coin to settle the debate. The city was incorporated in 1851, when is was important for exporting lumber and grain. Today, the city is second to Boston in the processing and shipping of wool. Lewis & Clark College, the University of Portland, Concordia College, Reed College, Warner Pacific College, and Portland State University are all within the city. The city has become a major tourist and convention center, due, in part, to three large convention halls. Since 1907, tourists have flocked to the city for the Rose Festival. I visited the city rose garden, and it is exceptional, as is the well-known Japanese garden. We also visited the nearby Columbia River Gorge, which is spectacular.
Because the city decided not to let the car ruin the downtown, important steps have been taken to rein in the dominance of the car. As a result, Portland is commonly known to have the most livable downtown of any large American city. The car was held in check by putting a cap on the number of downtown parking spaces, establishing an urban growth boundary, ripping out a highway along a downtown riverbank and replacing it with a park and a promenade featuring shops and residences, and installing a highly popular light rail. The photo to the right shows how streets have been re-configured to promote walking and transit. The photo above shows how the city converted a downtown parking lot into a popular park that features speeches, lots of places to sit and socialize, and concerts.