Early emigrants scurrying toward the Willamette Valley on the Oregon Trail barely gave the Grande Ronde Valley a nod. By the 1860s, the enchanted valley—ringed by the Wallowa and Blue mountains and rivers running through it—called out to settlers. There was gold in the hills, decent soil and water for farming. Settling here meant no more arduous mountain crossings or rafting down treacherous rivers. Some stayed to build a thriving hub between Portland and Boise, initially dubbed Brownsville but incorporated as La Grande in 1865 after city leaders learned another town had already claimed the name.
1859’s Trip Planners are your source for exploring the great state of Oregon. Whether you are a local looking for a weekend family getaway or just visiting, each article is an insider’s guide to the best trips in Oregon.
IF ITS SHOPS ARE ANY INDICATOR, Northeast Portland’s residents are likely the best manicured, tattooed, caffeinated beer-drinkers who ever set foot to pedal. Among other things, Northeast Portland is home to scores of tattoo parlors, spas, yoga studios, breweries and the powerful mani-pedi lobby. Once a bedroom community for Portland industry, Northeast—bordered by Burnside to the south, the Columbia River to the north, Williams Avenue to the west and past I-205 to the east—is a cultural destination, a Brooklyn-on-the-Columbia.
On September 28, 1937, an entourage of hundreds of dignitaries and craftsmen assembled on the south flank of Mt. Hood. History was in the making from what had just been made. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his wife rolled up the winding dirt road through the Ponderosa pines, and as the auto swung around the final curve, the massive and new symbol of his administration’s policies came into view.
IN 1950, CREATURES FROM ANOTHER WORLD SELECTED McMinnville, Oregon, planet Earth as a place of curiosity and research. Their vehicle was nearly thirty feet in diameter and shaped like a flying saucer or a garbage can lid. If it weren’t for Mr. and Mrs. Paul Trent out feeding the rabbits on their farm that day, this foray would have gone unobserved by humans, and the saucer pilots would have quietly collected data before reporting back their observations.