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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Portland, Oregon"
Includes ... Portland, Oregon ... Willamette River ... Boring Lava Field ... "City of Roses" ... "Rose City" ... Portland Rose Festival ... Lewis and Clark 1905 Centennial Exposition ... Union Station ... "Made In Oregon" Sign ... Portland Skidmore/Old Town Historic District, National Register of Historic Places ... Christmas Ships ... The Golden Age of Postcards ...
Image, 2010, Portland, Oregon, from Mount Tabor, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Portland, Oregon, from Mount Tabor. View of Portland from Mount Tabor, a Boring Lava Cone located east of Portland. The Tualatin Mountains, also known as the Portland West Hills, rise as a backdrop to Portland. Image taken May 9, 2010.

Portland ...
Portland, Oregon, is located on the Willamette River, approximately 10 miles upstream from the Willamette's confluence with the Columbia River. Historians are uncertain as to when Portland was first established. Records show a settler Etienne Lucier may have settled in what was later East Portland in 1829, and in 1842 a William Johnson had a cabin at what is now SW Macadam Avenue and Curry Street. A.L. Lovejoy and William Overton landed at the site of Portland in November 1843 on their way from Fort Vancouver to Oregon City. They returned and took a land claim of 640 acres. In 1844 Overton sold his part of the land to Francis W. Pettygrove, who had arrived at the Columbia River in 1843. In 1845, Lovejoy (from Boston, Massachusetts) and Pettygrove (from Portland, Maine) laid out 16 blocks of a townsite, flipped a coin as to which hometown would be honored, and Portland, Oregon, was born. The Portland Post Office was established in November 1849. Today the city of Portland is the largest city in the state and it's metropolitan boundaries stretch to the Columbia River. Mount Hood, a Cascade Range Volcano, looms over the city. The Portland International Airport lies on the northeast side of the city and once was the location of a large "Skil-loot" village visited by Captain Clark in 1806. On April 2, 1806, Captain Clark camped at the location of today's St. Johns Bridge across the Willamette, just north of downtown Portland.

Image, 2004, Jolie Prairie and Portland, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Portland, Oregon, just visible in the distance, as seen from Jolie Prairie, Vancouver, Washington. The Columbia River can be seen in the middle of the image. Image taken March 8, 2004.

Portland Geology ...
The Geology of Portland:

"The City of Portland sits at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers and occupies the western half of the Portland Basin and much of the adjacent Tualatin Mountains. The flat floor of the Portland Basin is punctuated by several small buttes and the Boring Hills, a complex region where small volcanic cones mix with blocks uplifted by faulting. The Tualatin Mountains, a straight and narrow range with a sharp, fault-bounded eastern edge, separate the Portland Basin from the Tualatin Basin to the west."

Source:    Ian P. Madin, 2009, "Portland, Oregon, Geology by Tream, Train, and Foot": Oregon Geology, vol.69, no.1, Fall, 2009, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, Portland.

"City of Roses" ...
Portland was dubbed "The City of Roses" during the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial.

"... Portland has long had a love affair with roses. In 1888, Georgiana Burton Pittock, wife of pioneer publisher Henry Pittock, invited her friends and neighbors to exhibit their roses in a tent set up in her garden; thus the Portland Rose Society was established. By 1905, Portland had 200 miles of rose-bordered streets - a strategy to draw attention to the Lewis and Clark Centennial celebration - and had been dubbed the 'City of Roses.' ..." [Portland Parks and Recreation website, 2006]

The Portland Auditor's Office website suggests a bit different history for the moniker "City of Roses".

"... Charles Paul Keyser (Portland Parks Superintendent 1917-1950) stated that Portland was "christened the City of Roses by visitors to an Episcopal Church convention which was held in the city in 1888 when the Portland Rose Society was formed. In 1889 Portland's first annual Rose Show was held and from 1904 through 1906 the Portland Rose Society sponsored a Fiesta along with its annual rose show. In a 1905 address at the Lewis and Clark Exposition, Mayor Harry Lane suggested that Portland needed a "festival of roses." Two years later, in 1907, the first Rose Festival was held. [Portland City Auditor website, 2006]

Another common name used to represent Portland is "Rose City".

Portland, etc.

  • Belgian Blocks ...
  • Boring Lava Field ...
  • Broadway Bridge ...
  • Christmas Ships ...
  • Lewis and Clark 1905 Centennial Exposition ...
  • Portland Rose Festival ...
  • Portland Skidmore/Old Town Historic District ... "Made in Oregon" ...
  • Union Station ...

Belgian Blocks ...

Boring Lava Field ...
The Boring Lava Field surrounds Portland. Rocky Butte, one of the better known of the Boring Lava Cones, is located east of downtown Portland and is a good location for views of Washington State, the Columbia River, and the city of Portland. Good views of Portland and other Boring Lava Cones can also be had from the Willamette National Cemetery, south and east of Rocky Butte.

Image, 2006, Boring Lava Cones east of Portland, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Boring Lava Cones east of Portland, Oregon. View from the Interstate 205 Bridge crossing the Columbia River. Image taken August 30, 2006.

Broadway Bridge ...
(to come)

Image, 2006, Portland's Broadway Bridge, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Broadway Bridge, Portland, Oregon. Image taken September 24, 2006.

Christmas Ships ...
The year 2004 marked the 50th anniversary of Portland's Christmas Ships. What began with one ship back in 1954, now consists of 50-60 ships sailing nightly for two weeks up and down both the Columbia River and the Willamette River. Each night they sail a different section of rivers, from Washougal, Washington to Scappoose, Oregon. Highlights of the season are sailing around the Interstate 5 Bridge, nights which pack the riverside restaurants and motels full.

Image, 2004, Christmas Ships, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Christmas Ships - "Modern Art". View on the Columbia River from Washougal, Washington, Marina. Image taken December 19, 2004.

Lewis and Clark 1905 Centennial Exposition ...
Portland, Oregon, hosted the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition, a "World's Fair" to mark the 100-year anniversary of the Lewis and Clark expedition. The exposition was built on land created by filling in Guild Lake in Northwest Portland, next to the Willamette River. The Forestry Building won acclaim as "the world's greatest log cabin."

Penny Postcard, Lewis and Clark Centennial, Portland, Oregon, 1905 Penny Postcard: Lake View Terrace, Lewis and Clark Exposition, 1905, Portland, Oregon. Caption on top reads: "Official Mailing Card Lewis & Clark Centennial, 1905, Portland, Oregon". Published by B.B. Rich, Official Stationer. View shows Guild Lake on the right. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.

Portland Rose Festival ...
The first "Portland Rose Festival" was held in 1907.

Penny Postcard, Portland, Oregon, ca.1916 Penny Postcard: "City of Roses", Portland, Oregon, ca.1916. Penny Postcard, Postmarked 1916, "Beautiful Homes and Side Walks Lined with Roses, Portland, Oregon.". Published by Lipschuetz Company, Portland, Oregon. Card #289. April 4, 1916, date is handwritten on back. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Portland, Oregon, Rose Festival, ca.1909 Penny Postcard: Portland Rose Festival, Portland, Oregon, ca.1909. Penny Postcard, Postmarked 1909, "Forestry Building, Rose Carnival, Oregon.". The Foresty Building was built for the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial and left as a memorial to the explorers. Published by E.P. Charlton & Co., Portland, Oregon. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.

Portland Skidmore/Old Town Historic District ... "Made in Oregon" ...
Portland's "Made in Oregon" sign is part of the "Portland Skidmore/Old Town Historic District, listed in 1975 on the National Register of Historic Places.

Image, 2009, Made In Oregon Sign, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
"Made in Oregon" Sign. Image taken February 14, 2009.

Union Station ...
Portland's Union Station once had on display the Oregon Pony, the first steam engine in the Pacific Northwest. The Oregon Pony hauled passengers and freight at the portage at Cascade Locks on the Columbia River.

Image, 2006, Portland's Union Station, click to enlarge
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Union Station, Portland, Oregon. View from car heading to the Broadway Bridge. Image taken September 24, 2006.

"The Golden Age of Postcards" ...

The early 1900s was the "Golden Age of Postcards", with the "Penny Postcard" being a popular way to send greetings to family and friends. Portland was a popular view and thousands of images exist.

Penny Postcard, Portland, Oregon, and Mount Hood, ca.1905 Penny Postcard: Portland, Oregon, and Mount Hood, ca.1905. Penny Postcard, ca.1905. Caption reads: "City of Portland & Mt. Hood." Published by B.B. Rich, Official Stationer. Card is in the same style as offical cards from the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Portland, Oregon, River Front, 1899 Penny Postcard: River Front, Portland, Oregon, 1899. Penny Postcard, Copyright 1899 by H.A. Hale, "River Front, Portland, Oregon." Card #5914. Card is postmarked October 19, 1904. Undivided back. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Portland Harbor, Portland, Oregon, ca.1910 Penny Postcard: War Vessels, Portland Harbor, Portland, Oregon, ca.1910. Penny Postcard, ca.1910, "U.S. War Vessels in Harbor, Portland, Ore.". Published by M. Rieder, Los Angeles, California. Card #3945. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Portland Harbor, Portland, Oregon, ca.1920 Penny Postcard: Portland Harbor, Willamette River, Portland, Oregon, ca.1920. Penny Postcard, ca.1920. Caption on the front bottom reads: "Shipping Scene, Portland, Oreg.". Caption on the front top reads: "Grain, Lumber, Flour, Fruit, etc., to All Parts of the World.". Caption on the back reads: "Steamship lines ply from the city to the Orient and to all Pacific and Atlantic Coast ports. Tramp steamers and sailing vessels carry lumber, grain, flour, fruit, etc. to world-wide markets. Large foreign shipping houses have branches here. The harbor is in the heart of the city, and vessels dock close to warehouses." Published by Chas. S. Lipschuetz Company, Portland, Oregon. Card #274. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Aerial view, Portland, Oregon, Willamette River, ca.1930 Penny Postcard: Aerial view, Portland, Oregon, and the Willamette River, ca.1930. Penny Postcard, ca.1930, Portland, Oregon. Caption on front reads: "View from a Skyliner over Willamette River, Looking North Toward Mt. St. Helens, Wash." Caption on back reads: "Portland, 'The City of Roses.' Population 325,000, a city rich in attractions and charm for the visitor. Beautiful parks, delightful drives and points of historic interest dot nearly every section of the city. It is not only a vacation center, but a thriving industrial city of 600 plants, producing for home and foreign markets. It has a fresh water harbor and is a major seaport." Image copyright Brubaker Aerial Surveys, Portland, Ore. Published by Wesley Andrews Co., Portland, Oregon. Card #749. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Mount Hood and Portland, Oregon, ca.1940 Penny Postcard: Mount Hood and Portland, Oregon, ca.1940. Penny Postcard, ca.1940. Caption on front reads: "Mt. Hood, from Portland, Oregon". Caption on back reads: "Portland, Oreogn. 'The Rose City'. Mt. Hood (Altitude 11,225) in background. Population 500,000." Published by Angelus Commercial Studio, Portland, Oregon. Card #3. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Portland, Oregon, ca.1945 Penny Postcard: Portland, Oregon, Public Market, and Seaplanes on the Willamette River, ca.1940. Penny Postcard, ca.1945. Caption on the front reads: "$1,000,000 Public Market on Portland Harbor, Showing Patrol Boat and Seaplanes, Portland Oregon." Caption on back reads: "One Million Dollar Public Market, Portland, Oregon". Published by Angelus Commercial Studio, Portland, Oregon. Card #31. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.

The 220,000-square-foot Portland Public Market opened in 1933 and closed in 1942. In 1943 it was leased to the U.S. Navy, and in 1948 it was taken over by the Oregon Journal News, a paper eventually bought out by the Oregonian. In 1969 the Public Market was demolished and the area became the Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, April 2, 1806 ...
This morning we came to a resolution to remain at our present encampment [Cottonwood Beach, Washougal, Washington] or Some where in this neighbourhood untill we had obtained as much dried meat as would be necessary for our voyage as far as the Chopunnish. ...     about this time Several Canoes of the nativs arived at our Camp [Cottonwood Beach] among others two from below with Eight men of the Shah-ha-la Nation those men informed us that they reside on the opposit Side of the Columbia near Some pine trees which they pointed to in the bottom South of the Dimond Island [Government Island], they Singled out two young men whome they informed us lited at the Falls of a large river [Willamette Falls] which discharges itself into the Columbia on it's South Side Some Miles below us. we readily provailed on them to give us a Sketch of this river [Willamette River] which they drew on a Mat with a coal, it appeared that this river which they Call Mult-no'-mah discharged itself behind the Island we call the image Canoe island [Hayden Island], and as we had left this Island to the South both in decending & assending the river we had never Seen it. they informed us that it was a large river and runs a Considerable distance to the South between the Mountains. I deturmined to take a Small party and return to this river and examine its Size and Collect as much information of the nativs on it or near its enterance into the Columbia of its extent, the Country which it waters and the nativs who inhabit its banks &c. I took with me Six Men. Thompson J. Potts, Peter Crusat, P. Wiser, T. P. Howard, Jos. Whitehouse & my man York in a large Canoe, with an Indian whome I hired for a Sun glass to accompany me as a pilot. at half past 11 A. M. I Set out ...     at 8 miles passed a village on the South side [Chinook Landing and Blue Lake area] at this place my Pilot informed me he resided and that the name of his tribe is Ne-cha-co-lee, this village is back or to the South of Dimond island [Government Island], and as we passed on the North Side of the island both decending & assending did not See or know of this Village. I proceeded on without landing at this village. at 3 P. M. I landed at a large double house of the Ne-er-cho-ki-oo tribe of the Shah-ha-la Nation. at this place we had Seen 24 aditional Straw Huts as we passed down last fall [November 4, 1805, in the vicinity of the Portland International Airport] and whome as I have before mentioned reside at the Great rapids of the Columbia [Celilo Falls].     on the bank at different places I observed Small Canoes which the women make use of to gather Wappato & roots in the Slashes. those Canoes are from 10 to 14 feet long and from 18 to 23 inches wide in the widest part tapering from the center to both ends in this form and about 9 inches deep and So light that a woman may with one hand haul them with ease, and they are Sufficient to Carry a woman on Some loading. I think 100 of those canoes were piled up and Scattered in different directions about in the Woods in the vecinity of this house, the pilot informed me that those Canoes were the property of the inhabitents of the Grand rapids who used them ocasionally to gather roots. ...

I left them [village near today's Portland International Airport] and proceeded on on the South Side [North Portland Harbor] of Image Canoe Island [Hayden Island] which I found to be two Islands hid from the opposit Side by one near the Center of the river. the lower point of the upper and the upper point of the lower cannot be Seen from the North Side of the Columbia on which we had passed both decending and ascending and had not observed the apperture between those islands. at the distance of 13 Miles below the last village [location of Portland International Airport] and at the place I had Supposed was the lower point of the image Canoe island [Hayden Island], I entered this river which the nativs had informed us of, Called Mult no mah River [Willamette River] so called by the nativs from a Nation who reside on Wappato Island [Sauvie Island] a little below the enterance of this river. Multnomah [Willamette River] discharges itself in the Columbia on the S. E. and may be justly Said to be the Size of that noble river. Multnomah had fallen 18 inches from it's greatest annual height. three Small Islands are situated in it's mouth [Belle Vue Point and Kelley Point, on opposite sides of the mouth of the Willamette, use to be islands] which hides the river from view from the Columbia.     from the enterance of this river [Willamette River] , I can plainly See Mt. Jefferson [Mount Jefferson, Oregon] which is high and Covered with snow S. E. Mt. Hood East [Mount Hood, Oregon], Mt St. Helians [Mount St. Helens, Washington] a high humped Mountain to the East of Mt St. Helians [Mount Adams, Washington, is east of Mount St. Helens]. I also Saw the Mt. Raneer [Mount Rainier, Washington] Nearly North. Soon after I arived at this river an old man passed down of the Clark a'mos Nation who are noumerous and reside on a branch of this river which receives it's waters from Mt. Jefferson [Mount Jefferson, Oregon] which is emensely high and discharges itself into this river one day and a half up, this distance I State at 40 Miles. This nation inhabits 11 Villages their Dress and language is very Similar to the Quath-lah-poh-tle and other tribes on Wappato Island [Sauvie Island].

The Current of the Multnomar [Willamette River] is as jentle as that of the Columbia glides Smoothly with an eavin surface, and appears to be Sufficiently deep for the largest Ship. I attempted fathom it with a Cord of 5 fathom which was the only Cord I had, could not find bottom ? of the distance across. I proceeded up this river 10 miles from it's enterance into the Columbia to a large house on the N E. Side and Encamped near the house [downstream of Cathedral Park and the St. Johns Bridge, Portland, Oregon, near Portland's Terminal 4.], the flees being So noumerous in the house that we could not Sleep in it.

this is the house of the Cush-hooks Nation who reside at the falls of this river which the pilot informs me they make use of when they Come down to the Vally to gather Wappato. he also informs me that a number of other Smaller houses are Situated on two Bayous which make out on the S. E. Side a little below the house. this house appears to have been laterly abandoned by its inhabitants ...     The course and distance assending the Molt no mar R [Willamette River] from it's enterance into the Columbia at the lower point of the 3rd Image Canoe island.

[This area has changed during the past 200 years. Lewis and Clark called today's Hayden Island "Image Canoe Island". Their "3rd Image Canoe Island" however maybe in reference to the "three Small Islands are situated in it's mouth" (see journal entry above), two of the islands possibly were islands which are today's Belle Vue Point on Sauvie Island, and Pearcy Island which eventually became Kelley Point. Lewis and Clark's route map (Map#79 and Map#80, Moulton, Vol.1) shows a long "Image Canoe Island" with two small islands on the north side of "Image Canoe Island", and three small islands at the mouth of the "Multnomah R.". ]

S. 30 W. 2 Miles to the upper point of a Small Island [???] in the Middle of Moltnomar river [Willamette River]. thence

S. 10 W. 3 miles to a Sluce 80 yards wide [Multnomah Channel] which devides Wappato Island [Sauvie Island] from the Main Stard. Side Shore passing a Willow point on the Lard. Side [???].

S. 60 E. 3 miles to a large Indian house on the Lard Side below Some high pine land.

[Lewis and Clark's map plotted against an 1888 map of the area shows this location to be closer to 2 miles from the Multnomah Channel, just upstream from Portland's Terminal 4, and across from the community of Linnton.]

high bold Shore on the Starboard Side [Tualatin Mountains]. thence

S. 30 E 2 miles to a bend under the high lands on the Stard Side [St. Johns Bridge area located at the base of the Tualatin Mountains]

miles 10 passing a Larborad point [???].

thence the river bends to the East of S East as far as I could See [the stretch through Portland, Oregon]. at this place I think the wedth of the river may be Stated at 500 yards and Sufficiently deep for a Man of War or Ship of any burthern.

Vancouver PlainsReturn to




*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

Sources:    Madin, I.P., 2009, "Portland, Oregon, Geology by Tream, Train, and Foot": Oregon Geology, vol.69, no.1, Fall, 2009, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, Portland;    McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2003, Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society Press, Portland;    "PDXHistory.com" website, 2006;    Portland Parks and Recreation website, 2006;    "PortlandOnLine.com" website, 2004, 2006;   

All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
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June 2015