contentsWest Columbia Gorge OR Chamberads

Overview and History

The West Columbia River Gorge spans a 30-mile stretch that starts just 15 minutes east of major cosmopolitan center Portland. While the proximity to the big city provides countless amenities to these communities, the cities within the West Columbia Gorge offer their own culture, history and local color. An unparalleled quality of life, rife with idyllic scenery and rugged mountain terrain, along with easy access to recreation, healthcare, education and more, bring 1.4 million-plus visitors to this area annually. In 2009, National Geographic’s Traveler magazine deemed the West Columbia Gorge as the second most beautiful destination in North America and sixth in the world!

The West Columbia River Gorge is home to five distinct communities in east Multnomah County and west Hood River County – Cascade Locks, unincorporated Corbett, Fairview, Troutdale and Wood Village – all served by the West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce.

Located 40 miles east of Portland, the City of Cascade Locks sparkles in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, the only designated National Scenic Area in the U.S. The city projects some of the most spectacular views in the Pacific Northwest. With a population just over 1,100, the city is very modestly sized, but don’t let its size fool you – Cascade Locks has much to offer in the way of culture and heritage. It is the site of international sailing competitions, it hosts the welcoming Thunder Island Brewery, it is home to the galleries and studios of renowned bronze sculptors and other artists, and its native fish market offers a connection with the area’s proud native American heritage.

With a larger population of nearly 4,000, the rural community of Corbett spreads through the foothills and mountains between the Sandy River and Crown Point, a promontory renowned for its vistas. Corbett rests just 20 miles east of Portland overlooking the mouth of the Columbia River Gorge. The area’s superb recreation and fishing opportunities keep residents and visitors busy all year long. The community enjoys a median household income almost $30,000 higher than the state average, and an ideal location between the great outdoors and the great City of Portland.

City leadership and the 9,900 residents of Fairview have set their sights on preserving and creating livability. By setting aside more acreage for wetlands, open spaces, trails and parks than any other city in the Portland metropolitan area, the city has groomed a landscape that appeals to long-time residents and newcomers alike. Fairview promotes start-ups and existing business with an impressive menu of marketable commercial and industrial land backed by city services.

Troutdale, the Gateway to the Gorge, is the largest and oldest city in the West Columbia Gorge, with a population that has ballooned to about 16,000, up 15.5 percent since 2000. Such growth has not been an accident. The city supports a thriving downtown of one-of-a-kind stores and restaurants at the gateway to scenery, nature, culture and outdoor recreation. Troutdale is also home to major industrial development in the Troutdale Reynolds Industrial Park, and it offers a variety of overnight accommodations and dining experiences. Troutdale also hosts the gallery of internationally-renowned bronze sculptor rip Caswell, as well as other captivating galleries.

Nestled in between Fairview and Troutdale, Wood Village was born in World War II to accommodate workers at the nearby Reynolds Metals Aluminum plant. Though its population today is a modest 3,200, the city’s rich history has spurred growth and diversity through the years – the city has even seen a 12.2 percent population increase since 2000. With an entrepreneurial spirit and a climate accommodating of new business ventures, the small city largely appeals to businesspeople who don’t like to get lost in the crowd of densely urban areas, yet all the amenities, resources and services of a major metropolitan area are close at hand. °

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