Cooper DuBois explains Portland is a populous city in Oregon with over 652,500 residents. It’s a significant part of the Pacific Northwest and Willamette Valley. That being said, Portland’s history dates back to 1843. Most settlements were established in the 1800s but were initially occupied by the Chinook people.
At first, the American colonizers took over Clackamas and Multnomah County. But before Americans settled here, Portland was a dense forest on the pacific coast. Over the years, the city earned several titles like the City of Roses or Rose City.
Portland History Explained by Cooper DuBois
Founding of Portland
In the 1840s, Portland was occupied by Canadian, American, and British Travellers. But an adventurous Massachusetts captain, John Couch, assessed the depth of Willamette River. In 1843, the clearing of land was done by Oregon’s provincial government. However, another interested party (William Everton) claimed that he had the rights to the land. This conflict of land attracted other individuals like Lovejoy and Prettygrove. After flipping the coin, Lovejoy got a more significant share but later sold the land to Benjamin.
Three years later, Portland earned the title of California Gold Rush. In 1948, Prettygrove sold the lot to prominent individuals (Daniel H. Lonsdale and Stark). Stark owned half of the town side and had no plans to return to Oregon.
In 1849, Portland was split, with William W. taking a third of the overall claim. In 1850, he was left with a power of attorney, and the settlement was reduced by 10%.
After the first census in 1850, the population stood at 851 people. Portland was still a frontier village and had sidewalks that disappeared during flooding. In 1860, countless Chinese workers were recruited to provide cheap labor. They were given the task of groundbreaking, carving out the paths, and laying the rails.
There were also dozens of workers that consisted of carpenters, longshoremen, typesetters, printers, and bricklayers. This led to the formation of the largest unions like the United Brotherhood of Carpenters.
In 1873, a fierce fire broke out and destroyed Morison and Yamhill. In 1889, Portland had unsanitary sewers and gutters. And this is the time the bridge across the Willamette River was constructed. In 1890, a railroad was erected to help residents access Seattle and other points to the east. Goods could now be transported easily to the northwest coast and other parts of the Columbia River. After 1890, Portland was segregated by the ethnic district.
There was a lot of development between 1900 and 1930. During the second war, the population stood at 301,000. In 1942, this was the first American city to feature the Pacific International livestock exposition. But again, there were numerous incidences of violence and strikes.
Another factor that contributed to Portland’s history is the Second World War. In 1941, Henry Kaiser built two shipyards and recruited over 150,000 workers. At the end of the war, the population grew to 359,000 residents. And many jobs attracted African-Americans. It’s believed that the newcomers helped to strengthen civil rights and build African American political influence.
Some of the effects of the war were increased racial tensions and overcrowding in the African American community.
In the 1950s, Portland was notorious for criminal activities. By 1957, the city enjoyed an industrial and economic surge.
At this time, the population had grown to 150,000. In the 1960s, this city became a hub for food cooperatives and psychedelic culture. A few years later, the presence of social activists started – it was a genuine concern for Native Americans.
McClellan Commission and Jim Elkins led the network. Unfortunately, the crime problem had severe ramifications. Then, public transport transitioned, and private companies were having a rough time trying to profit. This problem continued until the tri-county metropolitan transport district intervened. The Blue Bus Lines were introduced to the suburbs to ease transport.
In 1970, Portland was becoming a progressive city that had registered an economic boom.
In the 1990s, the dot com generation took over. The larger population consisted of people in their 20s and 30s. Those who came here were drawn by the promise of urban growth boundaries and abundant nature. With time, the internet and graphic design industries took over. This led to the formation of companies like Adidas, Nike, Wiede+ Kennedy, and Doc Martens.
In the mid-1990s, there was a dramatic rise in site-specific shows and independent artists. This contributed to publications like modern art, Artforum, ARTnews, and Art in America.
More artists streamed to Portland, as Cooper DuBois explains, due to the relatively low cost of living. In recent years, several institutions were established including, the Portland State University and Oregon Health & Science Technology.