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These massive floods occurred during the last ice age and filled the Willamette Valley with 300 to 400 feet (91 to 122 m) of water.

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Nearby Powell Butte and Rocky Butte rise to 614 feet and 612 feet, respectively. 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).

To the west of the Tualatin Mountains lies the Oregon Coast Range, and to the east lies the actively volcanic Cascade Range. Other bridges outside the downtown area include the Sellwood Bridge (built 2016) to the south; and the St.

The Willamette River, which flows north through downtown, serves as the natural boundary between east and west Portland.

The denser and earlier-developed west side extends into the lap of the West Hills, while the flatter east side fans out for roughly 180 blocks until it meets the suburb of Gresham.

Beginning in the 1960s, Portland is frequently recognized as one of the world's most environmentally conscious cities because of its high walkability, large community of bicyclists, farm-to-table dining, expansive network of public transportation options, and over 10,000 acres (4,000 hectares) of public parks.

During the prehistoric period, the land that would become Portland was flooded after the collapse of glacial dams from Lake Missoula, located in what would later become Montana.Named after Portland, Maine, the Oregon settlement began to be populated in the 1830s near the end of the Oregon Trail.Its water access provided convenient transportation of goods, and the timber industry was a major force in the city's early economy.The article, which focused on crime boss Jim Elkins, became the basis of a fictionalized film titled Portland Exposé (1957).In spite of the city's seedier undercurrent of criminal activity, Portland was experiencing an economic and industrial surge during World War II. Kaiser had been awarded contracts to construct Liberty ships and aircraft carrier escorts, and chose sites in Portland and Vancouver, Washington for work yards.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.