Portland, Oregon

Encyclopedia Article


The largest city in the U.S. state of Oregon, the southernmost state in the Pacific Northwest region. Portland is situated close to the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers, with the Willamette River passing through the city as it flows north, the city is famous for the many historical and modern bridges that cross the river. The area surrounding Portland was inhabited by Upper Chinook Native peoples for centuries before the arrival of white settlers in the 1830s. The city was founded in 1845 and named after one of its founder’s hometown of Portland, Maine. Its strategic location at the crossroads of major pioneer routes and its access by river to the Pacific Ocean allowed the settlement to develop as a port town and a center for culture and commerce. Today, Portland is known for its high-tech industry, public parks, liberal politics, and many small breweries and coffee shops that give the city its unique local character.

Photo Credit: 

"Downtown Portland, Oregon and the Steel Bridge on the Willamette River, June 20, 2006" by Stuart Seeger is licensed under CC BY.

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