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After the city's economy experienced an industrial boom during World War II, its hard-edged reputation began to dissipate.Beginning in the 1960s, Portland is frequently recognized as one of the most environmentally conscious cities in the world 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.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.
Before American pioneers began arriving in the 1800s, the land that eventually became Portland and surrounding Multnomah County was inhabited for many centuries by two bands of indigenous Chinook people— the Multnomah and the Clackamas peoples.Significant 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.Clockwise from top: Downtown Portland viewed from east bank of the Willamette River; the Wells Fargo Center; Portland Aerial Tram and Mount Hood; Jackson Tower and Fox Tower viewed from Pioneer Courthouse Square; St. Approximately 2,389,228 people live in the Portland metropolitan statistical area (MSA), the 23rd most populous MSA in the United States. National Bank Building) is the largest city in the U. The city covers 145 square miles (380 square kilometers) and had an estimated population of 632,309 in 2015, making it the 26th most populous city in the United States.Its water access provided convenient transportation of goods, and the timber industry was a major force in the city's early economy.
At the turn of the 20th century, the city had developed a reputation as one of the most dangerous port cities in the world, a hub for organized crime and racketeering.