20 June 2024

The Lower Level of Oregon City

4154This is a view of the first city of Oregon, Oregon City, from the balcony of the city elevator. The date is March, 2014.

Oregon City began as a town on a fairly narrow shelf between the Willamette River, just downstream from the great falls, and a cliff. It's a unique geography that constrains the feeling one gets in town, and how that town grew, and provided for one of the more unusual municipal structures in America.

 The unusual municipal structure is that Oregon City Elevator. It's free, it's a dedicated public street, it's a gorgeous design (sort of Art Deco mininalist), and its fun to ride and decorated with much history.

And it gives you a view most people go to the trouble to used a drone for.

For all its history and longevity, Oregon City is a modest place. It's got a population of about 37,000 as of 2020, a modest footprint of about 11 square miles, and a small town feel that's terribly convenient to the big town. And the feeling one gets walking in downtown OC is a cozy, charming feeling.

In the distance, over the Willamette River, one can see the Abernathy Bridge, where I-205 crosses the river. This view looks generally north.

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