Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Portland (Oregon)
PORTLAND, the largest city of Oregon, in the United States, the capital of Multnomah county and the seat of the United States courts for Oregon, is situated at the head of ship navigation (river craft ascend 126 miles farther) on the west bank of the Willamette, 12 miles above its junction with the Columbia river and about 120 from the ocean. It is a well-built and rapidly-growing city, laid out on a piece of level ground gradually rising from the river bank, and enclosed on the west by a semi-circle of fir-clad hills. Except in the business parts, the streets, which are remarkably well kept, are planted with maple trees; and a park about 200 feet broad runs through nearly the whole length of the city from north to south. Besides the schools, several of which are especially noteworthy, the public buildings comprise a county court-house, a United States custom-house and post-office, three public halls, three theatres, and spacious markets. In 1883 no less than $4,039,100 were expended on building enterprises, $2,000,000 of this sum being for business and manufacturing establishments. Portland is the natural centre of the rapidly developing railway system of Oregon and the neighbouring Territories (see Oregon, vol. xvii. p. 824). It is the terminus of the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company's system, which forms the connecting link with tide water of the Northern Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads, thus making Portland virtually the Pacific coast terminus of these two transcontinental lines. Vessels drawing from 19 to 21 feet of water can load at its wharves, and, though it is still dependent on San Francisco for a large proportion of its foreign supplies, it trades directly with Great Britain, China, the Sandwich Islands, the South-American republics, &c. Wheat, flour, tinned salmon, and lumber are the principal articles of export. In 1883 the value of the exports amounted to $10,984,963 and that of the imports to $27,668,787. The manufacturing establishments—foundries, saw-mills, breweries, soap-works, boot and shoe factories, &c.—had in 1883 an aggregate production valued at $11,423,000, or an increase on the production in 1880 of $8,521,000. The valuation of property for the purposes of taxation was $9,622,750 in 1877 and $19,397,750 in 1883. The population, which was only 2874 in 1860 and 8293 in 1870, had increased by 1880 to 17,577, or, including the suburban city of East Portland, 20,511; and it is estimated that the present (1884) total is about 40,000. A separate district is inhabited by the Chinese, who number several hundreds.
December 1872 it was visited by a destructive fire, and it had hardly recovered when, on 2d August 1873, a more disastrous conflagration destroyed about twenty blocks in one of the most crowded parts ofthe city, and caused a total loss of $1,345,400.