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Downtown Portland straddles the banks of the Willamette River, which flows north through the city center and separates the city's east and west neighborhoods.Less than 10 miles (16 km) from downtown, the Willamette River flows into the Columbia River, the fourth-largest river in the United States, which divides Oregon from Washington state. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 145.09 square miles (375.78 km Portland's cityscape derives much of its character from the many bridges that span the Willamette River downtown, several of which are historic landmarks, and Portland has been nicknamed "Bridgetown" for many decades as a result.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.Its Combined Statistical Area (CSA) ranks 19th-largest with a population of around 3.2 million.Approximately 60% of Oregon's population resides within the Portland metropolitan area.At the time of its incorporation on February 8, 1851, Portland had over 800 inhabitants, a steam sawmill, a log cabin hotel, and a newspaper, the Weekly Oregonian.
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 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.
As a result, Portland consistently ranks highly in quality of life in the United States.
Portland is approximately 100 miles (160 km) upriver from the Pacific Ocean on the Columbia. Three of downtown's most heavily used bridges are more than 100 years old and are designated historic landmarks: Hawthorne Bridge (1910), Steel Bridge (1912), and Broadway Bridge (1913).
Though much of downtown Portland is relatively flat, the foothills of the Tualatin Mountains, more commonly referred to locally as the "West Hills", pierce through the northwest and southwest reaches of the city. Portland's newest bridge in the downtown area, Tilikum Crossing, opened in 2015 and is the first new bridge to span the Willamette in Portland since the 1973 opening of the double-decker Fremont Bridge.
The city had its own Japantown, The city housed a large number of saloons, bordellos, gambling dens, and boardinghouses which were populated with miners after the California Gold Rush, as well as the multitude of sailors passing through the port.