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Portland History, Oregon

Portland is the largest and most populated city in the US state Oregon. Portland is known across USA as the ‘City of Roses’ and it is recognized as one of the greenest cities in the country (take a look at Portland Sights and Portland Travel Guide articles for more information on the city with the same name in Maine). Probably the most interesting event in Portland history is the legend of its foundation: it all began with a quarter of a dollar.

Portland History – The Legend of Portland’s Foundation

At its origins, Portland was a small resting place on the banks of Willamette River, known by trappers and pioneers as ‘the Cleaning’. William Overton claimed the land around the Cleaning with the help of Asa Lovejoy, who borrowed him the 25 cents needed to process the papers. But Overton soon changed his mind and sold his share to Francis W. Pettygrove. The new partners had problems deciding how to name the settlement, so they finally flipped a coin and Pettygrove’s variant – Portland, after the homonymous city in Maine, was chosen.

Portland History – Early Years

By the mid 19th century, Portland had grown to be quite a view: in opposition to its muddy roads and predominantly masculine population, Portland was already the most populous city on the northwest coast and had its own newspaper. On February 8, 1851, Portland, Oregon was incorporated as a city, and the incorporation was soon followed by the election of the first mayor and city council. The city’s economy grew rapidly in the second half, facilitated by the waterway transportation. The efforts to make the river accessible to steamboats and freights were soon rewarded, as Portland played a major role in the transportation of precious metals during the Gold Rush. Portland’s history took a major turn with the arrival of the railroad in 1868 and the installation of the first telephone lines and electric streetlights in the 1880s. A destructive fire hit the town’s business district in 1873 and the damages were estimated to more than 1 million dollars.

Portland History – Portland in the 20th Century

In the first decade of the 20th century, the population again doubled. The first part of the century was a time of violence and riots. The West Coast waterfront strike and the organized crime networks in the ‘40s were important challenges for the city administration. During the 80s and 90’s, Portland underwent a series of infrastructural improvements, following the Central City Plan drawn in 1987. Portland’s economy took a new ascending path at the end of the century, as the new IT and design companies attracted a lot of young artists. It is estimated that 10000 artists live and work in Portland in the present. In 2000, just one year before the city’s 150 celebration, Money Magazine declared Portland the number one city to live in.

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Read our members' reviews about Portland

  • MadSuhWhat to do in Portland
    review by MadSuh posted more then 30 days ago
    Although I was in Portland only when I was young, I can say that it's a nice clean place with nice outdoor activities not too far away. Mt. Rainier is one of my favorites. It is not very busy, but maybe that's why it is so attractive. It's calm andnot thenightlife is the best thing about it....
  • mohds2Portland for visitors
    review by mohds2 posted more then 30 days ago
    Portland is biggest capital in entire Maine. Its population in the beginning identified as the town Machigonne. While first British arrangement union set up the town, they altered its nickname to Casco. The town experienced numerous name modifications before in conclusion settling along Portland...
  • mohds2Check the Ikea shop in Portland
    review by mohds2 posted more then 30 days ago
    Ikea Portland Oregon is the most important store for house furniture in a region and numerous clients persist to gather to the shop daily and have their requirements for furnishings met. The liberal shop lies in the space of 280,000 square feet. There’re nearly 10,000 things to select from...
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Read our members' travel tips about Portland

  • itachanOregon Museum of Science and Industry
    travel tip by itachan posted more then 30 days ago
    This museum is heaps of fun for anyone who is interested in natural sciences, industry, and technology, and it's a good place to bring your kids to for some intellectual fun. OMSI has five different exhibit halls specialized in...
  • tylerdHat Museum in Portland
    travel tip by tylerd posted more then 30 days ago
    The Hat Museum in Portland is the largest hat museum in the United States, where you can see the evolution through the ages of this most essential accessory. If you have an interest in fashion (or history, as a matter of fact), the...
  • evike14Roseway Theatre
    travel tip by evike14 posted more then 30 days ago
    I you feel like going to a movie while you're in Portland, buy a ticket to one of the shows at Roseway Theatre, a historic theatre from the 1920' which hasn't lost its vintage charm despite all the modern equipment. All the shows...
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Portland City Ratings

  • Rating66%
    City Rank261
  • History & Culture: rated for 30%
  • Night Life & Entertainment: rated for 70%
  • Family & Fun: rated for 70%
  • Outdoors Activities: rated for 90%
  • Food: rated for 60%
  • Sightseeing: rated for 70%
  • Shopping: rated for 80%
  • Public Transportation: rated for 70%
  • Must visit this place: rated for 60%
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