The Landscape Architect’s Guide to

Portland, Oregon

Introduction to Sustainable Portland

We Are New Arrivals

"New Arrivals" is a title that respects our Native Americans who, contrary to many reports, actually had an advanced, sustainable, agrarian civilization before the collective "we" arrived on the scene. We must respect those who came before Western migration, which began in earnest in the 19th century.

Oregon’s population was largely Native American until relatively recently. In 1805, President Thomas Jefferson directed Captain Meriwether Lewis and Captain William Clark to undertake the the “Corps of Discovery Expedition." The tour resulted in the U.S. making the Louisiana Purchase. It also led to the creation of the Oregon Territory, which is now comprised of the states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. What followed was a wave of settlers, or pioneers, who came via the Oregon Trail.

The Oregon Donation Land Act of 1850 and accompanying legislation then removed tribes and offered free land to white settlers, who laid claim to 2.5 million acres of tribal land — including all of what is now Portland — over the course of just seven years.