Portland is the largest Oregon’s city on the Willamette and Columbia rivers. It is located in the snow-capped shadow Mount Hood. Portland is prominent for it bridges, parks and bicycle paths, besides is known for its coffeehouses, microbreweries and eco-friendliness. The city is dotted with music and theater scenes, besides thriving art and encompasses beautiful sites including the Oregon zoo, railway to Japanese Garden.
Portland history begins with William Clark and Meriwether Lewis exploring in 1805 this area. However, they overlooked the Native Americans rich oral accounts before the arrival of white settlers. They belonged to the Chinook tribe and continued with foraging, fishing and trading that many landmarks such as the Multnomah Falls and Willamette River bore the original inhabitants names. But, as the settlers made Portland their home, settlers stepped off and began giving their own names to the areas. In fact, Stump town was given to the city owing to the felled trees in that area.
Portland was a typical lumber town featuring endless expanses of forest. But, the old growth trees were knocked down and emerged swiftly with more expansion that adventurers and pioneers flocked the city from the Maine merchant Massachusetts Lawyer Asa Lovejoy and Francis Pettygrove, the next was from the East Coast and with a coin-toss, they chose the name of the city between their hometowns of Boston and Portland. It came to be the “The Portland Penny” and it is at the Oregon Historical Society Museum on display.
Strategically located on Willamette River, and its proximity to Pacific Ocean and Columbia River, made Portland grew into a shipping hub soon that it transformed into a wild haven for sailors. In fact, legend says that some workers were kidnapped and sold to sea captains who made use of these workers in the Asia-bound vessels.
The waterfront activities in Portland saw a change after World War II. The boom of Portland began as the local ports began building for Great Britain cargo ships and spread on Pearl Harbor after the attack. The region received new residents and swelled as suburbs easily housed them. Portland had 360,000 inhabitants. The original planners of the city developed wisely even the downtown area. A major highway in 1974 was re-routed that was disconnected such that Portland was away from its waterfront and now in its place a Waterfront Park of 30-acre for the public was installed. In the 1970s, later part Portland developed artificial border restricting development and promoted green space in the city. Though, Portland can never rewrite history or undo the pollution caused owing to the rapid growth, the green feats help reverse the damage and this may help the city’s people and its history to have more chapters coming.
Portland, Oregon houses a thriving Culture District spanning more than 12 city blocks. You can find an array of attractions and activities. The culture district at the center gives a chance to see public art and multiple statues. There are lots to offer as there are best museums including the Portland’s international art museum and the Oregon Historical Society Museum that gives you a detail about the Oregon state. In fact, Portland has great architecture examples and includes the Portland Center for Performing Arts and the First Congregational United Christ Church presenting exquisite concert hall. Newer parks addition gives kids a chance to run through the fountains. Farmers market at Portland State University Culture District south end is worth visiting at least once. The Culture District includes some of the best to fall in love.
Northwest Film Center
This is housed within the Portland Art Museum and hosts each February and March the Portland International Film Festival. Throughout the year, they host in Portland other events including the popular Portland roof top hotels. Every week there are independent films, documentaries, art and foreign films. This is a treasured institution giving an opportunity to see French film black and white film and film classes are also taken for people to understand how to take films of love to a new level.
Portland Art Museum
This museum was founded in 1892 and is the seventh oldest museum in the nation and in the Pacific Northwest. It is renowned for its permanent collection that showcases ancient to contemporary veritable masterpieces that are rare and expertly restored. Highlights include Native American art as a diverse collection, authentic English silver, photographs of 19th and 20th century and European art collection including Vincent van Gogh's The Ox-Cart.
Keller Fountain Park
Keller Auditorium has the unique fountains. Portland, Oregon downtown wads away heat if you sit near this multi-tiered fountain. This area enables swimming and going under the waterfalls, while the drop-offs are severe at some places that you must warn the kids about where they cannot play.
Portland Saturday Market
This market is open on Sundays as well between March to December. The market is a glass- roofed structure on the Willamette River West Bank and is sheltered by Burnside Bridge featuring open-air shopping on rainy days. Arts and crafts are available in original creations form vendors and on Saturdays you get the best fashion, freshly cooked, live music to see on the stage while shoppers can eat international food sitting there. Enjoy market and entertainment.
This is a public piazza located downtown Portland. This park is located on underground parking garage. There are large fountains to please kids on hot days. Director Park is perfect for free activities such as art events, concerts, chess, trivia nights, cooking, plays and more. This is an ideal spot to enjoy lunch break as there are tables and chairs in plenty, besides concrete benches also are seen throughout the piazza. Lunch and dinner is served at Elephants Café and they sell ice cream and drinks.
First Congregational United Church of Christ
This church building represents Venetian Gothic architecture made from sandstone and stone. It is 120 years old. It is owned and occupied currently by the United Church of Christ. It was designed by Henry J. Hefty, the Swiss architect. The church windows and made by Portland Povey Brothers. The bell tower was started in 1891 and it is 175 feet tall. The Church is adjacent to the Oregon Historical Society and it is possible to see form the Museum’s patio the Church.
Powell’s City of Books
It is a five-story building known as the City of Books occupying an entire block. This is the largest in Portland and is also the independent book store. There are new and used books and the print is great at the price that shoppers will have all reasons to stop. The floor space covers 1.6 acres and navigation with the map at the front desk is simple. The coffee shop at Powell’s feature satellite locations and there are three at the airport.
Oregon Historical Society Museum
This is an informative museum located downtown suitable for novices and history buffs telling the Native Americans tales and how the Oregon Territory was occupied by the hearty pioneers in the 19 th century mid. It exhibits the Oregon’s entire history displaying the history and includes the Great Depression, Oregon Trail and World War II. This museum houses photos, map, books, artifacts and videotape, besides research library relating the history of Oregon from the past to the present. There are historians ready to speak with and have lots of details about Oregon.
Portland Center for the Performing Arts
This is an umbrella organization that conducts in three buildings five performance spaces and it includes The Schnitz (Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall) and houses Oregon Symphony Orchestra, the Newmark Theatre houses the Oregon Ballet Theater performances and Keller Auditorium houses the Portland Opera and Oregon Ballet Theater performances in the Culture District. This building has a striking lobby with amazing sound and the theater is really very beautiful.
Best time to visit
The best time is from June to August, as the weather is warm allowing the outdoorsy culture of the city to thrive. This is the peak tourist season, so an early bird enjoys the best. a winter trip ensures bargain price as the chilly temperatures pull sightseers away, but is a fascinating destination for winter sports enthusiasts. However, there are niche local events any time you visit.
Portland has spring with scattered rain showers and this may hinder sightseeing. the weather is not ideal for touring, but you can enjoy good deals on your stay.
March: Spring Beer & Wine Fest
May: Cinco de Mayo Fiesta
Time to enjoy the beauty of ‘City of Roses experience’. The warm temperatures and bright sunny skies ensure gardens are in full bloom. There is lot of abuzz in the outdoor markets activity and the city sets celebrate special events. Portland's peak tourist season is the summer, so rates are higher and hotels fill quickly.
May- June: Portland Rose Festival
June: World Naked Bike Ride
July: Oregon Brewer’s Fest, Waterfront Blues Festival and PDX Bridge Festival
August: The Bite of Oregon and Hawthorne Street Festival
September: Portland Pirate Festival
Portland temperature drops and Time for best bargains.
September: Time-Based Art Festival
October: Portland Marathon and Portland Fashion Week
November: The Northwest Food & Wine Festival
Time for winters and have rain. The low temperatures welcome winter-sports enthusiasts. Lots of skiers and snowboarders go on daytrip. The museums stay open, but the gardens and parks operate for short hours. There will be hotels in slashed rates.
December: Holiday Ale festival, Festival of lights and Christmas Ships parade
February: Portland International film festival, Portland Jazz festival, Portland seafood and wine festival and KidFest Northwest.
Portland is at the Willamette Valley northern end, a diverse and rich agricultural region. The Willamette Valley temperatures are favorable for agricultural products in diversity. Owing to the high ground water level, it is easy to carry on irrigation to raise cannery crops, pastures, berries and grass seed. Portland (city center) is above sea level at 20 feet, near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. Portland is between the west to the lower Coast Range and to the east the high Cascades Range, each at a distance of 30 miles.
The skyline is dominated by two volcanoes, one to the northeast of Portland about 40 miles is the Mount St. Helens (8,300 feet high) and Mt. Hood (11,238 feet) to the east about 40 miles. Mount Jefferson explains the southeast edge. These landmarks coincide well with the CMSA (Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area) edges. Now, it can be reached in a vehicle within 120 minutes, it is around the original city at a radius of seventy-five mile.
Highest Point in Portland
The highest point is Council Crest, at 1083 feet. Actually, there are many within the city limits standing in elevation in Portland. Inside Portland boundaries, the Willamette Stone Heritage Site is 1143 feet and the NW Skyline Boulevard is higher to Council Crest. Both these points are higher at least by 60 feet and qualify to be the highest point in Portland.
City of Bridges
Portland is called Bridge Town as it has ten bridges in the metro area spanning the Willamette River. The Portland bridges are numerous and diverse. The structures range from 30 plus years to 100 years representing different construction types including double leaf Bascule draw spans, vertical lift spans and the Fremont is the second longest arch in the world. On the other hand, the Andrew Hall’s Bridge Gallery reveals all the bridges and this also encompasses Tilikum Crossing, the newest one.
Multnomah County operates six Willamette River Bridges: Broadway, Burnside, Hawthorne, Morrison, Sellwood bridges and Sauvie Island. The county maintains 20 smaller bridges.
The Oregon Department of Transportation maintains the Fremont, Ross Island, Marquam and St. John’s bridges. The Steel Bridge is maintained by the Union Pacific Railroad. The Fremont and Marquam carry traffic over interstate highways.
River traffic is given priority over cars. In case a sailboat wants any of the lift bridges raised at 3 a.m. Or some rush hour, it is done.
Hills in the West and Mostly Flat in the East
Looking east you can notice Mt. Hood from downtown Portland, the Cascade Mountain Range, and the east side flat landscape across from the Willamette River.
Looking west there are hills and some houses uncovered up by greenery dominating the view. Traveling on the west over the ridge of hills is a flat valley. The Tualatin plains, look to the west, and there is a group of hills referred to as the Oregon Coastal Range.
The plains are in the Washington County Hillsboro-Forest Grove-North Plains-Banks area. The plains were important agricultural district once around Portland. Today, the Tualatin Plains is dotted by industrial areas and communities, though crops cover a fair share of the plains.
The highest point is Mt. Tabor, a vanished volcanic cinder cone, rising to 636 feet. Nearby are the Rocky Butte and Powell Butte rise to 612 feet and 613 feet, respectively. On clear days Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood dominate the horizon, while Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams are visible in the distance.