Avast ye, mate.

I don’t know what that means but, man, it sounds cool, doesn’t it?

While we’re on the subject of being shanghied in Portland, let’s discuss really important stuff.

By the way, Stumptown Confidential has moved.

I like the stories about ordinary citizens being rousted and involuntarily joining a ship’s company way back yonder.



Portland sits near the confluence of two of the West’s mightiest rivers
, the Columbia and the Willamette (w-lamb-it), so it’s not surprising that the city’s early growth was fueled by shipping and trade. The terminus of the continental railroad and a major port city to the Pacific Rim, Portland was ideally situated to export the agricultural riches of the western USA.

The settlement of Portland is inextricably linked to nearby Fort Vancouver, the Hudson’s Bay Company fur-trading post established in 1825 on the northern bank of the Columbia River. Retiring trappers moved south, up the Willamette River, to establish settlements. The first building in what would become Portland was erected in 1829 by Etienne Lucier, a former trapper looking to establish a farm along the Willamette. Although Lucier abandoned his homestead a year later and moved farther up the river to Champoeg, activity continued at the site of future Portland.

In 1844, two New Englanders filed a claim for 640 acres (255 hectares) of land on the west bank of the Willamette River. They built a store, planted streets and decided to name the new settlement after one of their hometowns. A coin-toss resulted in Portland winning over Boston, and the new town was up and running.

Trade, not industry or natural-resource exploitation, was the engine that drove the growth of the city. The California gold rush of 1849 and the building of San Francisco demanded lumber, which was routed through the fledgling port city. At the same time, Oregon Trail settlers brought agriculture to the Willamette Valley, and mining and ranching developed throughout the inland West. Each demanded a coastal city of trade, and Portland became the mercantile and shipping centre for much of the Northwest.

Portland’s primacy in the Northwest was cinched when the Northern Pacific Railroad arrived in 1883, linking Portland and the Pacific Northwest to the rest of the country. The first bridges were built across the Willamette in the late 1880s, and the city’s population increased five-fold between 1880 and 1900.

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