Tom McCall Waterfront Park
Your introduction to mile-long Tom McCall Waterfront Park begins at RiverPlace, an attractive string of restaurants, specialty shops, and boating facilities overlooking the Willamette River in the shadow of the Marquam Bridge. Follow the paved riverside walkway north to the Salmon Street Springs Fountain at the base of Salmon Street. The fountain water’s ebb and flow is meant to evoke the rhythms of the city and provides a refreshing shower on a hot day.
Tom McCall Waterfront Park is named for the governor credited with helping to reclaim Oregon’s rivers. In the early 1970s the park’s grassy shore replaced Harbor Drive, a freeway that impeded access to the scenic Willamette River. Today, the park is frequently the scene of summer festivals, while the wide paved riverside esplanade is a favorite for joggers, cyclists, and strolling families.
Oregon Maritime Center and Museum
Walk north along the seawall to the sternwheeler USS Portland, which houses the Oregon Maritime Center and Museum (at the foot of SW Pine, 503/224-7724, www.oregonmaritimemuseum.org, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Wed.–Sun., $5 adults, $4 seniors, $3 students ages 6–17). The museum offers a window into the fascinating maritime heritage of Portland and the Columbia and Willamette River systems, and it features ship models, historic diving equipment, and other ship artifacts. In addition to the USS Portland, you can also tour the retired barge Russell and gill-net fishing boat Mom’s Boat, which are moored alongside the sternwheeler.
Further north in the shadow of the Burnside Bridge is the new home of the Portland Saturday Market and the Battleship Oregon Memorial, which commemorates a famed 1893 fighting ship named after the state; the ship’s block juts out of the grass.
To go back to the time when the town’s destiny was entwined with shipping on the Willamette and the Columbia, cross Naito Parkway at the Ash Street stoplight and enter the oldest part of the city.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel