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Peaceful Places in Portland: McLoughlin Promenade in Oregon City

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Jan 23, 2014

Peaceful Places in Portland: McLoughlin Promenade in Oregon City

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Every now and then I like to profile a place from my book, Peaceful Places in Portland. This week it’s off to Oregon City and a rather unknown little treat, the McLoughlin Promenade.

McLoughlin Promenade above Willamette Falls in Oregon City.

McLoughlin Promenade in Oregon City has a great view of Willamette Falls — and an interesting history.

Let’s go back in time a little. 1829: Hudson’s Bay Company founds Oregon City. 1844: John McLoughlin buys this land. 1845: Oregon City becomes the first incorporated American city west of the Rockies. 1851: McLoughlin donates land along the bluff for a park.

When you stand out on the McLoughlin Promenade today, you’re looking at the original destination of the Oregon Trail, about a 2,000-mile trail used by some 400,000 people in the 1830s and 1840s. Not all of them came all this way, but see if, for just a second, you can see Willamette Falls, without the paper mills, as a thing that families would have dreamed about seeing for months as they slogged across the continent.

McLoughlin Promenade above Willamette Falls in Oregon City.

Today the walkway is a pleasant, paved path with benches to relax on.

Another bit of history: in the Great Depression the Works Progress Administration laid this concrete, and in 2010 the government fixed it up again. Now it can be what McLoughlin himself probably envisioned: a peaceful, scenic place for folks to take a walk and look out over Oregon first city. We also now have rhododendrons, park benches, historical plaques, and a paved walkway.

McLoughlin Promenade above Willamette Falls in Oregon City.

Landscaping adds a natural touch.

And we still have the falls, and the history, as well. That history feels pretty alive when you’re up on the promenade.

Where: 625 Center Street, Oregon City. Online. Admission: Free. Hours: 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. TriMet: #33 to 5th and High Street.

Read more about Peaceful Places in Portland. Or just buy the book.

Author Paul Gerald also writes about hiking, breakfast, travel and spirituality.

He has written five books and offers great talks and trips.

Paul Gerald

I am the author of several books on hiking, camping, eating breakfast and chilling out. I am also a freelance travel writer, publisher, hiker, and inveterate traveler.
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