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City of Portland "Firsts"


The Portland Handbook. Portland, Oregon : Portland City Council, 1955.

First landing at Portland by Brig Maryland, Capt. John H. Couch


First land claim made by William Johnson 1842
First building built, a shed by William Overton, at the foot of Washington St. 1842
First residence built, the cabin of William Johnson at SW Curry Ave. & Macadam Ave. 1843
First cargo landed at the foot of Washington Street, from the bark Toulon


First legal landowner Gen. Amos Lawrence Lovejoy 1844
First time the name Portland was used, after Francis W. Pettygrove and A. Lawrence Lovejoy tossed an 1835 penny. Pettygrove won and named the town for his hometown, Portland, Maine 1845
First physician and school teacher was Dr. Ralph Wilcox 1845
First ferry (a single canoe) across the Willamette established with intermittent service 1845
First regular ferry service, landing at Taylor street. 1848
First business opens, the blacksmith shop of James Terwilliger, located at First and Morrison streets. 1846
First double cabin and hotel, operated by John Waymire 1846
First tannery north of Mexico and west of the Rockies, operated by Daniel H. Lowsdale. 1846
First frame construction residence built at SW 2nd, near Washington 1847
First fruit tree, owned by Henderson Luelling 1847
First politician and statesman, Col. William King 1848
First church begun, Methodist church at SW 3rd & Taylor (it was finished in 1850) 1848
First water-driven sawmill. 1849
First steam-driven sawmill, near foot of Jefferson. 1850
First wagon-road out of Portland - the planked Canyon Road, to Tualatin plains 1851
Portland chartered by Territorial Legislation 1851
First mayor was Hugh D. O'Bryant 1851
First bill was paid by the City of Portland, for three brass candlesticks ($3.) and one box of whale sperm candles ($26.95) 1851
First budget, $1,224.63 1851
First dog licensed 1855
First organized attempt to furnish water to the city, which came from Caruthers Creek, with a dam at 7th Ave. The system was sold to the city of Portland in 1887. 1857
First railroad, Portland to Milwaukie 1869
First horse car 1871
First park was the North Park Blocks (South Park blocks were established in 1870, and Washington Park purchased in 1871) 1869
First Sewer 1873
First Street light, was powered by the Steamship State of California, at SW 1st & Flanders 1879
First street assessment, for a wood & block pavement from Front to First street, on Oak. 1880
First paid fire department 1882
First city zoo 1889
First transcontinental railroad into Portland (Northern Pacific) 1883
First bridge over the Willamette (the Morrison) 1887
First tramway to Portland Heights 1887
Fulton Park Railway established 1889
First Electric Car 1890
First hard surface street 1891
First city ferry, at Albina 1895
First electrical long distance transmission attempted from Oregon City to Front Street, in Portland 1889
First gasoline bus, on 39th Ave. 1924
First one-way street 1924
First trolley bus, Eastmoreland 1936