Season is here, and I’ve been sharing itinerary ideas to help get you started.
So far we’ve hit the southeast with an America’s Best Barbecue pilgrimage and the northeast
with a New England’s Literary Treasures itinerary. Up next: The
side of Portland lie the
Willamette Valley’s vineyards that produce some of the country’s best pinot
noirs. It’s a greener, more rustic version of Napa; the vineyards are less
manicured, the mood more relaxed. On the other side of the city lie dramatic
gorges and waterfalls where the Columbia River cuts through the Cascade
Mountains. You could spend a week oohing and aahing your way along the back
roads in this part of the country. Heck, you could even take a few summer ski
runs down a volcano, on the only slopes in the U.S. that are open year-round. If you’ve only got a weekend,
though, you can base yourself in Portland and still get a flavorful taste of
the area. Here’s how:
Portland (1), head southwest on 99W into the Willamette Valley, stopping at any
of the many picturesque wineries whose vistas and tasting rooms will
beckon. Ponzi Vineyards (2) is a must—you can taste
leading pinots and pick up some Ponzi Reserve for a picnic lunch later—as
is Beaux Freres (3) (email ahead to make an
appointment for a tour and tasting). At lunchtime, grab some local provisions
and head to Erath Vineyards (5) for your picnic with
sweeping views of the Jory Hills of Dundee. Don’t miss Domaine Drouhin (6) and Archery Summit (7) en route to McMinnville, a
hub of excellent shops and restaurants. Choose Nick’s Italian Café (8), an Oregon wine country
institution, where you can shoot pool with local winemakers and taste any wines
you may have missed in the vineyards. Drive—carefully—back to Portland.
head east along the historic Columbia
River Gorge Scenic Highway (1). Make quick pit stops at the Portland Women’s Forum State Scenic
in Corbett and at Vista House (3) at Crown Point for the
stunning views of towering cliffs and waterfalls. Consider a morning hike to
the top of Multnomah Falls (4), a 542-foot plume that
plummets into a forest grotto, or along the Eagle Creek Trail to Metlako Falls
and Punch Bowl Falls (5). At the town of Hood River,
if it’s a clear day, make the 25-mile detour to Lost Lake (6) for its spectacular views
of Mount Hood, the greatest of the Oregon Cascades. Continue south on Route 35
through the fruit orchards of the Hood River Valley, stopping to pick your own
apples, cherries, peaches, and tomatoes. Where Route 35 meets Highway 26, make
a quick detour to Timberline Lodge (7), a National Historic
Landmark that you might recognize from the movie “The Shining.” (If you had
more time, you could squeeze in the aforementioned summer skiing.) Back on 26,
wend your way west, through forest and Cascades, back to Portland.
Troutdale is a community with a rich historic past. The area at the confluence of the Sandy and Columbia Rivers was “discovered” in the autumn of 1792 by Lt. Broughton and his men. The Crew was traveling aboard a British vessel under command of Captain George Vancouver who was aboard another vessel. They were ascending the Columbia River, when they reached a point just east of the mouth of the Sandy River. This point, immediately across the Sandy River from Troutdale, was named Broughton’s Bluff, many years later. Mount Hood, however, was seen and named on this location at that time.
The earliest settlers came in 1850 and 1851. Early donation land claims were filed by John Douglass, D.F. Buxton, Benjamin Hall, Stott and Hicklin. Family records credit David F. Buxton as Troutdale’s true founder. He filed a donation land claim in 1853 in the center of the present city of Troutdale. Buxton developed the town’s first primitive water system, which was in use until the 1960’s. He died in Troutdale in 1910.
PDX shuttle airport say However, it was Captain John Harlow, a former sea captain from Maine and successful Portland businessman, who conceived a plan for the town and made it happen. In 1872 he purchased part of Buxton’s land claim to build his country home. Because he raised trout in ponds on his farm, he called his farm “Troutdale.” He convinced the railroad to build a depot at the site of his farm so he could ship his produce. On November 20th in 1882, Troutdale had a rail line; an important step in becoming a bonafide town.
After Harlow’s death in 1883, Celestia, his widow, began platting a town with blocks and streets. Much of the city was built in 1890 and 1891. The first edition of Troutdale’s newspaper announced the opening of Aaron Fox’s new store, a restaurant, and included ads for a hardware store, surgeon, notary public and blacksmith.
The town’s major industry was the American Dressed Meat Company, later sold to become Portland’s Swift and Company. Other industries that rose were a lumber mill, a hotel and a distillery. The distillery burned in what was reported as a “bright blue flame” in the 1890’s.
Aaron Fox was instrumental in incorporating the City in 1907 and became its first mayor. It had become a town of saloons, and incorporation arose from the necessity to exercise some controls over them. Huge licensing fees precluded the need for city taxes.
In 1907, a disastrous fire swept through the city burning the 1890’s buildings. A church built on a hillside two blocks from the business district was one of the few 1890’s buildings that survived. Some homes also survived.
In 1914, two years after women got to vote in Oregon, Clara Latourell Larsson become mayor of Troutdale and one of Oregon’s earliest women mayors.
The Columbia River Highway was built and ran through Troutdale in 1916. Enterprising residents opened businesses, restaurants, tea rooms, hot dog stands and dance pavilions to feed and entertain the travelers.
In 1924, Laura Harlow, daughter-in-law of Captain John Harlow was elected Mayor of the city.
In 1925, a second fire mostly destroyed the business district. This fire is believed to have resulted from an explosion of a still in the garage of John Larsson, the former mayor’s husband. The Tiller Hotel and Helming’s Saloon, both built after the first 1907 fire, are two of the pre-1925 buildings left in the business district today.
John Harlow’s original house was torn down in the 1920’s. The only original building remaining was the home of his son, Fred, built in 1900 on the original farm site. That building is now the Harlow House Museum of the Troutdale Historical Society. The original rail depot burned in 1907 and was replaced by a second depot that is now the Rail Museum. It was moved from its original location to its present site in 1979.
In the 1920’s, Troutdale claimed the title of the “Celery Capital of the World” as a result of prize winning celery grown here. But farmers also grew wonderful produce and gladiola bulbs… grown in the area’s fertile, sandy soil and shipped all over the nation by rail.
The Troutdale City Hall was completed in 1923. The original wood dance floor is now covered by city offices. The dances were an important part of Troutdale’s social life for years.
Construction of an aluminum plant was a boon to the economy in the mid 1940’s, but eventually its emissions ended the gladiola industry and damaged other crops. Completion of Interstate 84 in the 1950’s pulled traffic off the Columbia River Highway and away from Troutdale. The City remained fairly quiet during the 1950’s.
Suddenly in the 1960’s, Portland suburbanites discovered Troutdale and the City built its first subdivision and made plans for a new sewage treatment plant. Under the guidance of Mayor Glenn Otto, who later became a state senator and statewide leader, the city boundaries expanded from 320 to more than 2000 acres.
There were 5,671 households of which 40.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.7% were married couples living together, 12.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 25.8% were non-families. 18.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.81 and the average family size was 3.20.
The median age in the city was 34 years. 27.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.9% were from 25 to 44; 27.1% were from 45 to 64; and 7.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.0% male and 51.0% female.