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.
In 1915, the two largest sawmills in the country (Shevlin-Hixon and Brooks-Scanlon) sat facing each other across the Deschutes River in Bend. It’s doubtful that anyone could have, through all that smoke, predicted that one day the small timber town would morph into a winter recreation destination. Perhaps a few of the Swedish and Norwegian loggers and mill workers, who brought the ski sports to Bend and Central Oregon, might have had a momentary flight of fancy that involved a future with an alpine ski area, miles of cross-country ski trails and possibly more breweries than churches.
Eons of spewing volcanoes and cataclysmic floods created the Columbia River Gorge, where Oregon’s grandest river rolls through towering cliffs of basalt. Even Congress agreed this place was special. Twenty-five years ago, it named the Columbia River Gorge the country’s first National Scenic Area, protecting the Columbia’s most dramatic stretch, the eighty-five miles between the Sandy and Deschutes rivers.