Tag Archives: Portland

The story of creative destruction at Mount St. Helens


Just a short drive of 50 miles northeast from Portland, Mount St. Helens may as well be on a different planet. On May 18, 1980 – exactly 32 years ago – the mountain’s 9,677 ft (2,950 m) tall summit blew its top off and became reduced to 8,365 ft (2,550 m) with much of its northern face replaced by a mile-wide crater. Eruptions are nothing new to this mountain. In fact, local Native American tribes gave it names that clearly indicated a history of violent outbursts, such as Lawelatla (“One From Whom Smoke Comes”), Tah-one-lat-clah (“Fire Mountain”) or Loo-wit (“Keeper of the Fire”). The first European to see the mountain was British Captain George Vancouver. While on a mission exploring the Pacific coast in 1792, he spotted the peak from his ship Discovery as he sailed past the mouth of the Columbia River. He named it after his friend and the British Ambassador to Spain at the time, Alleyne Fitzherbert, Baron St. Helens. Read the rest of this entry


The city of roses and bridges


Portland roses

Thinking about Washington, DC streetcars made me think about Portland – and how easy it was to get around without a car. The Portland Streetcar, which opened in 2001, is the first new streetcar system in the U.S. since WWII. Combined with the network of MAX light rail it makes for a great public transportation system – unfortunately a pretty rare thing in this country. Portland is just such a friendly and pleasant place! Public transportation that works is just one element of it. The city also consistently ranks as one of the “greenest” in America based on a variety of economic, environmental and clean tech categories.

Portland is called the City of Roses – quite deservedly. There are several theories as to where that nickname came from but the undisputed fact is that roses have a long tradition here. Back in 1888 the first show of the Portland Rose Society took place and Portland Rose Festival has been an annual tradition since the early 20th century. Not surprisingly, the place not to miss on a visit to Portland is rose related: the International Rose Test Garden. Read the rest of this entry