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Large numbers of pioneer settlers began arriving in the Willamette Valley in the 1830s via the Oregon Trail, though life was originally centered in nearby Oregon City.In the early 1840s a new settlement began emerging ten miles from the mouth of the Willamette River, In 1845 Overton sold his remaining half of the claim to Francis W. Both Pettygrove and Lovejoy wished to rename "The Clearing" after their respective hometowns (Lovejoy's being Boston, and Pettygrove's, Portland).Clockwise from top: Downtown Portland viewed from east bank of the Willamette River; the Wells Fargo Center; Portland Aerial Tram and Mount Hood; Jackson Tower and Fox Tower viewed from Pioneer Courthouse Square; St. Its Combined Statistical Area (CSA) ranks 18th with a population of 3,160,488. National Bank Building) is the largest city in the U. The city covers 145 square miles (380 square kilometers) and had an estimated population of 639,863 in 2016, Approximately 2,424,955 people live in the Portland metropolitan statistical area (MSA), making it the 25th most populous MSA in the United States.Though much of downtown Portland is relatively flat, the foothills of the Tualatin Mountains, more commonly referred to locally as the "West Hills", pierce through the northwest and southwest reaches of the city. Three of downtown's most heavily utilized bridges are more than 100 years old and are designated historic landmarks: Hawthorne Bridge (1910), Steel Bridge (1912), and Broadway Bridge (1913).Council Crest Park, the tallest point within city limits, is located in the West Hills and rises to an elevation of 1,073 feet. Tabor, an extinct volcanic cinder cone, which rises to 636 feet. Portland's newest bridge in the downtown area, Tilikum Crossing, opened in 2015 and is the first new bridge to span the Willamette in Portland since the 1973 opening of the double-decker Fremont Bridge.Johns Bridge, a Gothic revival suspension bridge built in 1931, to the north. Jackson Memorial Bridge and the Interstate Bridge provide access from Portland across the Columbia River into Washington state.

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Portland is about 100 miles upriver from the Pacific Ocean on the Columbia. Portland's cityscape derives much of its character from the numerous bridges that span the Willamette River downtown, several of which are historic landmarks, and Portland has been nicknamed "Bridgetown" for many decades as a result.At the turn of the 20th century, the city had a reputation as one of the most dangerous port cities in the world, a hub for organized crime and racketeering.After the city's economy experienced an industrial boom during World War II, its hard-edged reputation began to dissipate.The article, which focused on crime boss Jim Elkins, became the basis of a fictionalized film titled Portland Exposé (1957).In spite of the city's seedier undercurrent of criminal activity, Portland was experiencing an economic and industrial surge during World War II. Kaiser had been awarded contracts to construct Liberty ships and aircraft carrier escorts, and chose sites in Portland and Vancouver, Washington, for work yards.

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