Kathy Sechrist – 2021 Conference Chair
Portland, Oregon—water, water, everywhere. The city sits in a valley between two of earth’s natural treasures and lifelines. Their waters carved the land and affected both man and earth’s history.
Travel east, and you pass through the gorge cleaved by the mighty Columbia River. The Gorge began forming as far back as the Miocene period (roughly 17 to 12 million years ago). You’ll pass many waterfalls pouring off of steep cliffs which were created by the great Missoula flood when torrents over 700 feet high raged through the area.
As years passed, the river became home to native Americans, fur traders, steamships, dams for electricity, cargo carriers, and salmon—always salmon.
Travel to the west and in an hour you’ll pass through another mountain range butted against the Pacific Ocean. John Jacob Astor’s ship, the Tonquin, staked the first U.S. claim to the entire west coast.
His fur-trading post became the first American settlement west of the Rocky Mountains. The settlements have grown, adding forts, canneries, aquatic centers, museums, lighthouses, and hiking trails with unparalleled views.
Travel south and you’ll follow many of the Oregon Trail travelers and they claimed rich, fertile farmland in the valley. The state is the NUMBER ONE U.S. producer of blackberries, peppermint, hazelnuts, cranberries, rhubarb, grass seed, AND Christmas trees.
Travel north a few miles and you’ll find yourself crossing one of the twelve bridges in Portland and landing in Washington.
Portland is associated with water. Rain from the sky. Rivers running to the ocean. Even bubblers downtown, provide free, fresh (not recycled drinking water) 365 days a year—unless there’s a cold snap or a pandemic.