National Geographic : 1969 Jan
Fair as the cherished blooms of Portland, Christine Bertrand strolls amid Queen Elizabeth roses and a sprinkling of gloriosa daisies in the city's International Rose Test Garden. Here at the famous gar den in Washington Park, hundreds of varieties are tested, judged, and displayed. Each June the "City of Roses" honors its flowers with a festival and show. Portland, proud of 7,200 acres of parkland, preserves landscaped city blocks as breathing spaces and protects Douglas fir trees that stood when explorers Lewis and Clark camped nearby in 1806. Snow-capped companion of a city, Mount Hood-50 miles to the east-provides Portlanders with a cooling view on a clear day. Here a telephoto lens brings it closer. The dormant volcano, at 11,235 feet Oregon's highest peak, signaled journey's end for pioneers trekking west on the Oregon Trail. From the first cluster of log cab ins, Portland has sprawled into Oregon's largest city. Astride the Willamette River, foreground, near its confluence with the Columbia, the city serves as crossroads for farmers, wheat shippers, lumber men, and merchants. Most of the city's 386,000 resi dents live on the east side, here stretching beyond a new high-rise apartment building and double decker freeway toward the majes tic mountain. together with Swedes, Danes, and Norwegians - settled here by the hundreds. They man the fishing vessels, work in the salmon, tuna, and crab canneries, and own many businesses. To the south, along the shore, mountains of the Coast Range come right down to the sea.t Motorists follow U. S. 101 uphill, downhill, and around bold promontories, each com manding a spectacular seascape that often includes a pod of spouting whales. This is the tourist's Oregon, and drivers on 101 might as well resign themselves, as I did, to creeping along in an endless file of trailers and camper-pickup rigs. I saw license plates from at least 20 states; California's out numbered even Oregon's. One Saturday night I arrived without a reservation at a large beach-front motel near Newport and asked for a room. The clerk seemed amused. "Sorry," he said. "We're full." "Why don't you light your 'No Vacancy' sign?" I asked. "On weekends," he replied, "we take it for granted that everybody knows we're sold out." This was the usual story along the coastal strip-a long, winding avenue of motels, piz za parlors, salt-water-taffy stands, and rock hound shops that too often hid the seashore's natural beauties. But I found welcome oases at many tasteful and well-planned private *See "Following the Trail of Lewis and Clark," by Ralph Gray, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, June 1953. tSee "Oregon's Sidewalk on the Sea," by Paul A. Zahl, GEOGRAPHIC, November 1961.