Portland, Oregon has expanded its quirkiness in the forty-six years since I left. Back in my day there was one brewery and we bought wine from France or Italy because California wines were poor imitators. The Willamette River is no longer limited to industry, the southeast section of the city is a hip place to live, the light rail system is a model for other urban cities, and the carpet at the airport is a collectible item. But some of the area’s attractions continue to merit a visit.

Summer Sunshine

Summer Sunshine

The Portland Rose Garden, established in 1917, displays 10,000 roses representing 600 varieties on its 4.5 acres with views of Mt. Hood. One of the roses that caught my eye, “Monkey Business,” won a 2014 Gold Medal Award. Other roses that posed for a picture included “Peace,” “Centennial,” “Summer Sunshine,” “Strike It Rich,” “Princess Anne,” and “New Zealand.” Passing through the Shakespeare Garden brought back memories of the wedding of a nephew.

The home where I grew up in West Linn doesn’t look so good these days. We stopped for a walk through the Mary S. Young State Park that was developed in the early 1970s after I had left Oregon. In nearby Lake Oswego, the George Rogers Park located where Oswego Creek flows into the Willamette, looks better than ever. In addition, informational signs explain the remains of the first iron furnace on the West Coast. There were iron deposits nearby, the forests provided charcoal fuel, and there was abundant water power. Limestone was imported from the San Juan Islands in British Columbia. I also learned that the Clackamas branch of Chinookan people fished on the Willamette in this area and that they were great traders.

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls

The Columbia River Gorge is a great place to visit. Early settlers visited by steamship and railroad before the first paved road was constructed between 1913-1922. We traveled on part of this Columbia River Highway which originally was 73.8 miles between Portland and The Dalles. The theme “Get Oregon Out of the Mud” developed Highway 30 for motorized views of the Columbia River and access to its concentration of “hanging waterfalls.” We stopped at Chanticleer Point and then visited Vista House, built in 1916, at Crown Point State Park for panoramic views of the Columbia River Gorge. Everything looked better after we discovered that we were wearing the others glasses. At our first waterfall, Latourell Falls, we viewed it from different perspectives and hiked a loop through the woods. Bridal Veil Falls offered three spectacular vistas at the edge of sheer cliffs as well as a descending trail for views of this waterfall from a well positioned viewing stand. The remains of an old mill pond and log flume are nearby. Multnomah Falls is the central waterfall of some 77 waterfalls found on the Oregon side of the Columbia. It is considered the second highest year-round waterfall in the lower United States. The Upper Falls cascades 543 feet and the Lower Falls is 69 feet. The water comes from underground springs on Larch Mountain. The area also receives 75 inches of rain per year. We learned that a wedding party was drenched on September 4, 1995 when a 400-ton rock that slid from the face of the Upper Falls and created a 70 foot splash.

Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood, 11,249 feet high, was our final destination. We drove a scenic road from Hood River to Timberline Lodge which is 6,000 feet above sea level. The Lodge, constructed by the Works Progress Administration in 1937, is 55,000 square feet. It appears to be an interesting place to spend the night. The numerous ski lifts and runs are undoubtedly well used in the winter. A surprise was the great view of Mt. Jefferson south of Mt. Hood. This second highest peak in Oregon has an elevation of 10,497 feet. While on Mt. Hood we hiked a fragment of the Pacific Crest Trail admiring the wildflowers and walking through a patch of snow.

Our Portland visit allowed me to visit with a college friend in his home city of St. Helens. At a park near the city marina was a statue of “Seaman,” the Newfoundland dog that traveled with the Lewis and Clark expedition. In Milwaukee, we visited the retired minister and his wife who taught my Sunday School class. In Tigard, we stayed with my nephew’s mother-in-law. We were blessed with good weather, good friends, and interesting sites which make for fond memories.

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