Portland Oregon history.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


You can wait a long time between trains in Astoria. The last scheduled passenger service between Portland and Astoria ended in January 1952. After that, save for a few excursion specials, the line has been used only to haul ever decreasing amounts of freight. Nothing is hauled on the last twenty five miles to Astoria.

Things changed three years ago when the State of Oregon launched the "Lewis & Clark Explorer" to bring people from Portland to Astoria for the bicentennial of the Lewis & Clark expedition. Coordination between the necessary agencies eventually prevented the train departing from Portland's Union Station, but for the last three summers the "Lewis & Clark Explorer" ran Friday through Monday from Linnton, (north of the St. Johns Bridge) to Astoria.
Two weeks ago, just before the service was scheduled to end its final year, Jill and I took the train to Astoria. The plan was to ride the train, explore the city and run in the race across the Astoria-Megler Bridge scheduled for that Sunday.

The train consisted of 1950's era self-propelled RDC (Rail Diesel Cars) bought second had from British Columbia. The cars are functional and comfortable, although because of their age they are expensive to maintain.

It takes three and a half hours to get from Linnton to Astoria by rail. The first half of the trip parallels Highway #30 a
nd offers little in the way of surprises for those familiar with that road. People waved at the train as we passed through the small towns of Scappoose, Warren and St. Helens. People like to wave at trains.

The second half of the trip is more interesting. The highway pulls away inland while the railroad follows the Columbia River. Wildlife, especially birds, e
specially herons and cormorants abound. There is a close up view of the de-commissioned Trojan nuclear plant. Shortly thereafter the train passes moored ruins of the River Queen, a former San Francisco Bay ferry boat used for many years as a restaurant in Portland. Forlorn and rotting in a backwater, the River Queen is a perfect haunted derelict.

The train ran down the center of the street through the oldest part of Ranier. At Wauna,
seventy-five miles from Portland the railroad passes through a huge paper mill complex where Brawny paper towels are made (now you know!) At Point Adams along the Columbia River you are at the north-most tip of Oregon. The Astoria Column from the Hotel Elliot.
I like Astoria. It is far enough away from Portland so that you know you are somewhere else. It feels like a small city instead of a coast town. It has history.
Lots of it.

Astoria has been called "Little San Francisco" which is an apt nickname. Picture standing simultaneously on
Astoria's waterfront and on San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf. Both landscapes are dominated by large bridges. Both waterfronts have largely transitioned from fishing and shipping to the care and feeding of tourists. Both have a streetcar next to the piers to move the tourists around. Both have sea lions. Each city has a waterfront museum.

Both cities had their downtowns destroyed. San Francisco in the earthquake and fire of 1906, Astoria in the fire of 1922, which took out thirty-two blocks. Both cities have Victorian houses in the hills above. Both cities sport hill top erections (!) the Astoria Column and Coit Tower. Depending on your perspective, Astoria can be a little like San Francisco or like a little San Francisco.

It took us two days to explore the town on foot. Along the way we took in the usual (the Victorian Flavel House) and the unusual (a shop that sold marbles).

The Flavel House is a Queen Anne style wonder with fourteen foot high ceilings on the first floor. When I was a kid I lived in Newport Rhode Island where I went on more than a few mansion tours through the homes of the Vanderbilts and other tycoons of the Gilded Age. While not as grand as those homes (George Flavel owned a firm that piloted vessels through the mouth of the Columbia) the house is still very impressive.
On the other hand, the shop that sold marbles was notable because it was just that, a shop that sold marbles. Marbles of every size shape and description. The owner was an enthusiastic true believer who would suggest and demonstrate stances and techniques to improve ones marble playing prowess. He gave us each a marble and pronounced them as lucky. He made me want to buy marbles even though I reall
y had no use for them. I already had a lucky one, what more could I need? Now I kind of wish I bought one. The world is a more interesting place with marble shops in it.

We walked from the waterfront up through the neighborhoods all the way to the top of the Astoria Column. Many of the houses had historic plaques, some made from old Route #30 highway signs, noting who had built the house and what they had done in the cities early days. In this way the place has an almost east coast feel to it.
To the east of the Column there is a trail that goes one and a half miles to a large three hundred year old Sitka Spruce known as the Cathedral Tree. Fifty yards down the trail and it looks and feels as if you are in the middle of the Coast Range. It is hard to believe you are less than a mile from the center of town, save for the occaisional disorienting sound of sea lions barking from a distant waterfront dock.

On the final day of our visit we ran across the four mile long Astoria-Megler bridge on the only day of the year that it is legal to do so. Five hundred runners and fifteen hundred walkers took part in the race which ended with a rainy finish. On the bus ride to the start of the race, people remarked on how nice it had been last year. Bright and sunny. Alas, this year it was not the case.

With or without the train, Astoria has a lot going for it. There is talk though of local interests reviving the train, perhaps the year after next. There are also rumors that cruise ship operators that use Astoria as a port of call might also be interested. Such a scenario might be similar to other
cruise ship / rail operations on
the Alask and White Pass & Yukon Railroads.
It is an intreguing idea, one that could lead to trainloads of well off tourists travelling to Portland and Portlanders riding to Astoria for a
weekend out of town.

Astoria Attractions:
Beer: The Astoria Brewing Company's Wet Dog Pub on the waterfront.
Wine: The basement wine cellar bar (The Vintners Room) beneath
the Hotel Elliot (literally under the side walk).
Food: The Baked Alaska Restaurant, on the waterfront. Watch the
ships slowly spin at anchor while eating some excellent food.
Spiders: Some of the largest ones ever, hanging off neighborhood branches and fences.

Astoria (founded in 1811 is the oldest non-Native American settlement west of the Rocky Mountains. As a British outpost of the Hudson's Bay Company it was known as Fort George.

Only one third as many people currently live in Astoria now as there were
at the height of the city's population.

Jill on the Columbia.


Blogger Leslita said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:28 PM

Blogger Leslita said...

I do NOT have a deer hunting supplies site, but I did go to Astoria on the train in summer of 2004 with my mom and sister. It was a really nice ride. You inspired me to upload my photos from that trip to Flickr so you should log on and have a look. Here's a public one

9:37 PM

Blogger Ranger Bob said...

Enjoyed the description of your visit to Astoria. I've wanted to go there for quite some time, mostly on account of the historic significance, and this just whets my appetite further. Sorry to learn I've apparently missed out on getting there by train, but one can't have everything, I suppose. (Did get to ride RDCs along the Potomac from Washington to Harpers Ferry WV in the early 90s, at least.)

7:02 PM

Blogger penguindevil said...

Great post! Astoria is a great town, one of my all-time favorites!

And it's nice to hear that the River Queen is still out there somewhere, as it was one of my favorite restaurants while growing up.

2:22 PM

Blogger Fangyaya said...

coach factory outlet online
ralph lauren outlet
lebron 13 shoes
gucci belts
cartier watches outlet
adidas yeezy
ralph lauren home
adidas superstar shoes
coach outlet online
montblanc pens
cheap jerseys
ralph lauren outlet
oakley outlet
louis vuitton handbags
cheap basketball shoes
supra shoes
ray ban sunglasses uk
nike running shoes
mont blanc pens outlet
oakley sunglasses
kate spade outlet
basketball shoes
louis vuitton purses
ray ban outlet
jordan concords
nfl jerseys
air jordan shoes
juicy couture
celine outlet
louboutin femme
coach factory outlet online
adidas uk
louis vuitton handbags
retro 11
retro 11
longchamp le pliage
insanity workout
louis vuitton outlet
coach factory outlet online
abercrombie and fitch outlet

4:03 AM

Blogger aditya said...

Packers and movers in Delhi, list of best packers and movers, bike and car transportation services in Delhi, local packers movers and good movers and packers in Delhi
packers and movers in Delhi
local packers and movers in Delhi
top 5 packers and movers in Delhi
packers and movers Delhi
movers and packers in Delhi
movers and packers Delhi
packers movers in Delhi
movers packers in Delhi

5:14 AM

Blogger dada24 Xu said...

tommy hilfiger windbreaker
gucci handbags outlet
ralph lauren
louboutin outlet
pandora charms
canada goose jackets
dolce and gabbana outlet online
michael kors outlet online
north face outlet

6:32 PM

Blogger eric yao said...

Coach Outlet ED Hardy Outlet Coach Outlet Store Online Kate Spade Outlet Cheap Jordans Coach Purses Coach Outlet Kate Spade Outlet Toms Outlet Louis Vuitton

1:07 AM

Blogger swdw said...

coach outlet
converse all-stars
nike outlet store
nike blazer low
ralph lauren outlet
hugo boss sale
true religion outlet store
nike roshe
nike shoes
nike shoes outlet

12:48 AM

Blogger jeje said...

cheap ray bans
oakley sunglasses
coach outlet online
valentino shoes
oakley sunglasses
cheap ray bans
skechers outlet
saints jerseys
coach handbags
oakley sunglasses

6:45 PM

Blogger Xinda 1987 said...

ferragamo shoes

coach outlet

fitflops sale clearance

coach outlet online

christian louboutin outlet

cheap jordan shoes

golden goose sneakers

reebok outlet store

ferragamo outlet

christian louboutin

7:01 PM

Blogger haiyan wu said...

jordan shoes
adidas flux
nike x off white
jordan 6
true religion outlet
prada sunglasses
fila outlet
huarache shoes
air jordan 11

7:06 PM

Blogger SWAMI AYYAPPA said...

tank trouble unblocked
tank trouble unblocked games
tank trouble unblocked at school
unblocked game tank trouble
tank trouble unblocked

4:08 AM

Blogger Yaro Gabriel said...


longchamp outlet
true religion jeans
ray ban sunglasses
toms shoes
ugg outlet
true religion outlet
new balance shoes
hermes outlet
polo ralph lauren
keen shoes

10:43 PM

Blogger ou xiao said...

20180718 xiaoou
cheap ray ban sunglasses
canada goose jackets
adidas yeezy boost
kate spade sale
kate spade handbags
fitflops sale clearance
givenchy jewelry
cheap oakley sunglasses
cheap ray ban sunglasses
kevin durant jerseys

10:49 PM

Blogger SSSSSS said...

moncler jackets
jordan retro
golden goose
kobe 9
chrome hearts
100% real jordans for cheap
michael kors outlet online
cheap jordans
cheap basketball shoes
off white nike

10:35 PM

Blogger zzyytt said...

golden goose
yeezy boost
ysl handbags
coach outlet sale
air jordan 13
tory burch shoes
yeezy boost 350 v2
nike flyknit
nhl jerseys
air jordan

1:55 AM

Blogger Naincy Kumari said...

noida escorts
cuttack escorts
puri escorts
bhubaneswar escorts
gurgaon escorts
kolkata escorts
mumbai escorts
gurugram escorts

noida call girls
cuttack call girls
puri call girls
bhubaneswar call girls
gurgaon call girls
kolkata call girls
mumbai call girls
gurugram call girls

call girls in noida
call girls in cuttack
call girls in puri
call girls in bhubaneswar
call girls in gurgaon
call girls in kolkata
call girls in mumbai
call girls in gurugram

11:03 PM

Blogger Rani Sharma said...

If you are in Jaipur and need beautiful Jaipur Call Girls or white skin Jaipur Call Girls then you can simply book call girls in Jaipur from one of the best escort agency named Jaipur Call Girls. It is No.1 premier escort agency and provide both incall or outcall facility to clients.Please click on the following link to check the official websites Jaipur Call Girls

11:40 PM

Blogger Puja Kumari said...

Very nice post I really enjoyed it...You can also visit my website for....

Call girls in Bangalore
Call girls in Lucknow
Call girls in Guwahati

Call girls in Gurgaon
Escorts in Bangalore
Escorts in Lucknow

Escorts in Guwahati
Escorts in Gurgaon
Bangalore escorts

3:15 AM

Blogger xiaoouou xiaoou said...

20181105 orf
oakley sunglasses
knicks jerseys
coach factory outlet
gucci outlet
pandora charms
moncler outlet
lakers jerseys
ray ban sunglasses
longchamp outlet
ugg outlet

1:00 AM

Blogger กวิน ฮา said...

slot online
casino online

2:46 AM

Blogger cheipzs 64 said...

ฟินกันให้สุด ๆ กับโปรโมชั่นโบนัสเงินฝากรายวัน E-SPORTS 10% จ่ายโบนัสสูงสุดถึง 2,500 บาท ฝากทุกวัน รวยทุกวันสล็อตออนไลน์ บาคาร่า

สมัครเลย >>> satu88 <<<

11:02 PM

Blogger www.satu88.com said...


11:42 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home