At the turn of the 20th century, the city had a reputation as one of the most dangerous port cities in the world, a hub for organized crime and racketeering.After the city's economy experienced an industrial boom during World War II, its hard-edged reputation began to dissipate.Large numbers of pioneer settlers began arriving in the Willamette Valley in the 1830s via the Oregon Trail, though life was originally centered in nearby Oregon City.In the early 1840s a new settlement emerged ten miles from the mouth of the Willamette River, In 1845 Overton sold his remaining half of the claim to Francis W. Both Pettygrove and Lovejoy wished to rename "The Clearing" after their respective hometowns (Lovejoy's being Boston, and Pettygrove's, Portland).This controversy was settled with a coin toss that Pettygrove won in a series of two out of three tosses, thereby providing Portland with its namesake.The coin used for this decision, now known as the Portland Penny, is on display in the headquarters of the Oregon Historical Society.Council Crest Park, commonly thought of as the highest point within city limits, is in the West Hills and rises to an elevation of 1,073 feet (327 m) The city's actual high point is a little-known and infrequently accessed point of 1,180 feet (360 m) near Forest Park. Tabor, an extinct volcanic cinder cone, which rises to 636 feet (194 m). Other bridges that span the Willamette river in the downtown area include the Burnside Bridge, the Ross Island Bridge (both built 1926), and the double-decker Marquam Bridge (built 1966).
The Willamette River runs through the center of the city, while Mount Tabor (center) rises on the city's east side. Helens (left) and Mount Hood (right center) are visible from many places in the city.
Per a 2014 report, over 7,000 locations within the Portland area are at high-risk for landslides and soil liquefaction in the event of a major earthquake, including much of the city's west side (such as Washington Park) and sections of Clackamas County.
Portland is 60 miles (97 km) east of the Pacific Ocean at the northern end of Oregon's most populated region, the Willamette Valley.
In 1891 the cities of Portland, Albina, and East Portland were consolidated, creating inconsistent patterns of street names and addresses.
The "great renumbering" on September 2, 1931 standardized street naming patterns, divided Portland into five official quadrants, and changed house numbers from 20 per block to 100 per block.