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Brian's Photo Blog — Article 715
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Exploring Oregon City On Foot
Saturday 14 July 2018   —   Category: Outings
Over two years ago — way back in April 2016 — after making a brief visit to Oregon City, I vowed to return soon to explore this historic city further. Thirteen months later, in May 2017, I finally fulfilled that vow!

I had so many experiences during the entire day I was there that I am sharing it all in two articles and two accompanying photo albums. Today’s article will cover all the non-dining locations and experiences, while the next article will survey all of the restaurants I visited during the day.

What would John McLoughlin, the founder of Oregon City in 1829, think of modern-​day Oregon City? There are things to be proud of, including a number of natural and man-​made land­marks. But there are also some things that aren’t so great. Let’s start our tour and take a look.
 
One of the most visible landmarks is the historic (completed 1922) Oregon City Bridge, which carries Oregon Route 43 over the Willamette River between Or­e­gon City and West Linn.

This picture was taken near the in­ter­sec­tion of McLoughlin Boulevard (OR 99E) and 6th Street, facing generally north.

It is a beautiful bridge, but if you look closely, there are signs of trouble in the water.
 
From the pedestrian walkway on the deck of the bridge, the view of the Willamette is marred by the sad sight of pollution.

Seeing that Oregon is known as one of the greenest states in the country, it is surprising that this kind of pollution still exists or is allowed.

On the other hand, industry has been central to the Willamette River at Willamette Falls ever since John McLoughlin built his lumber mill at the future Oregon City in 1829.

Although this foamy stuff is somewhat photogenic, I would much prefer a pristine river. Maybe one day ....
 
Looking about the same direction as the bridge photo above, but this time I’m on the other side of the bridge, at the end of some stairs which lead under Mc­Lough­lin Boulevard at 8th Street.

Downstream you can see the Abernethy Bridge, which carries I-205 across the Willamette.
 
The 1907 Masonic Temple is one of a number of historic buildings downtown.

It was the long-​time home of Mult­no­mah Lodge No. 1, established in 1846, the oldest Masonic Lodge west of the Mis­sou­ri River.
 
One of a handful of downtown outdoor murals which portray the history of the city.

This one, depicting the Ogle Mountain Mining Company, is painted on the side of the building at 1001 Main Street.
 
The most unique Oregon City landmark is the 130-foot Oregon City Municipal Elevator, which connects the original lower and smaller part of the city with the larger upper part on top of a 90-​foot cliff.

It is the only outdoor municipal elevator in the U.S. and one of only four in the world.

The Elevator opened in 1955, replacing the original water-​pow­ered one which opened in 1915.
 
After riding the elevator up to the top of the bluff, there is a sweeping 180 degree panoramic view of the area.

This photo is looking northwest over the city center towards the Oregon City Bridge, the Willamette River, and the city of West Linn on the other side. To the right is part of the Municipal El­e­va­tor upper observation deck.
 
Looking north-northeast over the city cen­ter towards the Abernethy Bridge (mentioned above).

In the far distance, just to the left of the nearer mountains, you can barely make out the top of the 8,363-foot Mount St. Helens 61 miles away. At the right edge of the photo you can also spot the top of the 12,281-foot Mount Adams 79 miles to the northwest. Click on the photo to the right to see a larger version with more detail.
 
Located northeast of the Municipal El­e­va­tor, at the northeastern end of the Mc­Lough­lin Promenade, the natural Singer Hill Creek Fall was converted into a man-​made, multi-step waterfall in the mid-​1930s as a WPA project. This photo shows most of it.
 
The historic (built 1849) Barclay House, next door to the McLoughlin House (built 1846) at the northeastern end of the McLoughlin Promenade.

The graves of John and Marguerite Mc­Lough­lin are situated between the two houses, both of which are part of the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
 
Part of the 7.8-acre strip of parkland that abuts much of the 0.6 mile (1 km) length of the McLoughlin Promenade, and is referred to by the same name.

The Promenade, another Great De­pres­sion-era WPA project, runs along the edge of Singer Hill Bluff, on the south­east bank of the Willamette River.
 
Part of the old industrial complex on both banks of the Willamette, just down­river from Willamette Falls, as seen from the Promenade. As I mentioned above, this has been an industrial site to some extent or another since 1829.
 
It is easy to write off this complex as ugly, yet there is a certain beauty and charm if you are willing to take a second look.

The adage that beauty is in the eye of the beholder rings true at this site.
 
At the official end of the McLoughlin Promenade in the Three Rivers VFW Post 1324 parking lot, a footbridge over McLoughlin Boulevard leads to a path on the other side of the road that un­of­fi­cial­ly extends the Promenade another 200 yards to the Willamette Falls Scenic Viewpoint and the statue of John Mc­Lough­lin I captured in the first photo above.

I think it would be much more fitting to end the McLoughlin Promenade at Mc­Lough­lin’s statue than in a parking lot.
 
From the Scenic Viewpoint you have a great view of the entire 1,500-foot-wide, 40-foot-high, horseshoe-shaped Wil­lam­ette Falls, as well as much of the old industrial complex.

Click on the picture to the right to see the entire panoramic photo.
 
 
During the five hours I explored Oregon City on foot I walked over seven miles and took 288 photos. The best 117 are now available for viewing in the new Oregon City 2017 album.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, my next article and photo album will cover the four restaurants I visited in the Oregon City area that day.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 715
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Brian's Photo Blog — Article 715
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