Visitor from the Moon and A River of Pioneers

by | Feb 12, 2016

There are people who live in Portland who find it difficult to leave their neighborhood for another part of the city. One could blame parochial attitudes, poor transportation options, or a simple lack of curiosity.

This post isn’t for them. This post is for the adventurous.

Oregon City

West Linn (population 26,000) and Oregon City (population 34,600) are neighboring cities 12 miles due south of downtown Portland. The Willamette River runs between them, with the Abernathy Bridge and Arch Bridge both crossing the span.

Both cities share Willamette Falls, an industrial heritage tied to the falls, and an amazing place in the history of the West. Oregon City, it must be noted, was the end of the trail for thousands of 19th century American migrants and the launching point for their new enterprises.

Five Awesome Places To Visit In West Linn and Oregon City

  • When we moved to West Linn in 2011, a friend in Portland recommended that we pay a visit to Loncheria Mitzil, across the river and up the hill in Oregon City. What a find! Luz Martinez is a master restauranteur and her cuisine is unlike any other Mexican fare available in the Portland metro. We dine there regularly and are consistently impressed.
  • Pete’s Mountain is one of three West Linn wineries—all of which deserve a visit and support. I’m giving the nod here to Pete’s because of their spectacular hilltop location, and the incredible hospitality that is offered on these premises. The wine is also top notch!
  • Mary S. Young State Recreation Area is the best dog park in the Metro. The park features a massive off-leash area and miles of on-leash trails, plus Willamette River beachfront.
  • The Amtrak Station in Oregon City is just one stop from downtown Portland’s Union Station. The ride takes about 20 minutes. Oddly, few people know about this commuting option, and due to low ridership, the train only stops in Oregon City once in the morning and once in the evening. We can change this by increasing ridership and by lobbying our state representatives in Salem.
  • Arch Bridge Taphouse is a new addition to the must visit list. Portland’s beer culture has reached Oregon City in a big way with the recent opening of three breweries and a taphouse. We’re fortunate that this beer geeks’ paradise is a 10-minute walk from our house.

I am neglecting to mention several other places worthy of your attention. This is a topic we can revisit. Darby and I are also contemplating monthly or quarterly tours of Clackamas County for friends.

In the “Did you know?” department, one of West Linn’s best attractions is no attraction at all. A massive meteorite was discovered in West Linn in 1902. The local Native American tribes had treasured the meteorite, calling it “Tomonowos,” or “Visitor from the Moon.” Today, the 16-ton chunk of flying iron resides in New York City, at the American Museum of Natural History.