Thousands of years before present
Native Americans inhabit the region we define as Oregon today. They trade extensively among tribes.
Spanish galleons explore the coast of Oregon.
Captain Robert Gray enters the river we now call the Columbia, and names it after his ship, the Columbia Rediviva.
Captain Merriwether Lewis and William Clark travel with their party from Missouri to the mouth of the Columbia River.
David Thompson, a British explorer and fur trader, is the first European to travel the length of the Columbia River.
Oregons streams, rivers, and lakes teem with fish and beaver. Commerce in beaver pelts attracts explorers, trappers, and traders to the region.
The first shipment of Oregon timber to China.
Civil government is established in the Oregon Country. Major immigration to Oregon begins along the Oregon Trail.
Confident in the promising future of ocean shipping in Oregons early economy, the territorial legislature authorizes the appointment of the first pilot board.
The Oregon Territory is organized. Gold is discovered in California.
Steamboats Columbia and Lot Whitcomb begin regular service on the Columbia River.
Four water-powered mills and the first steam-powered mill are in operation in Oregon. Lumber is traded with China, Hawaii, and Australia.
Astoria becomes a great seaport, with salmon as key export.
Congress ratifies the Oregon State Constitution, and the state accepts the congressional proposal to be admitted to the Union.
John Ainsworth organizes the Oregon Steam Navigation Company.
Congress passes the Homestead Act, granting 160 acres to those who would live on and work the land. Gold is discovered in eastern Oregon, in Baker and Grant counties.
The first salmon cannery on the Columbia River begins production.
Henry Villard creates the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company.
The Northwest begins exporting wheat via the Columbia to world markets. Salmon canning increases from 10,000 cases in 1869 to 450,000 cases in 1878. Salmon ranks third in leading exports, after wheat and flour.
New steamship Columbia with electric lights arrives in Portland.
Lieutenant Thomas Symons makes a survey of the upper Columbia and proposes navigation improvements.
The transcontinental railroad is completed. Columbia salmon catch peaks, begins decline from overfishing.
Work begins on jetties at Columbias mouth.
The Oregon Legislature declares the Port of Portland Oregons first formal public port authority. The shipping channel from Portland to the sea is dredged 25-feet deep, ensuring Portlands place as an international seaport.
Voters of Clatsop County approve formation of Astoria port district. Four years later, port construction begins.
Railroad bypasses Gardiner, connecting to Florence.
The Panama Canal opens for shipping.
First scheduled vessel to load at the Port of Astoria arrives with a cargo of 500 tons of canned salmon destined for the East Coast.
Coos Bay is selected as Southern Pacific Railroad terminal.
The United States enters World War I.
The Great Depression begins.
The Port of Portland completes the first municipal airport on Swan Island. Charles Lindbergh flies the Spirit of St. Louis to Portland to dedicate the new airfield.
Army Corps of Engineers submits its master plan to build 10 dams on the Columbia.
Rock Island Dam, the first of the dams on the Columbia River Mainstem, is completed.
Bonneville Dam, the furthest downstream of the mainstem dams on the Columbia, is completed.
A new airport east of the city is built with Works Progress Administration assistance in Portland.
Grand Coulee Dam is completed.
The United States enters World War II. Shipyards flourish in Astoria and Portland to aid the war effort.
Vanport is destroyed in worst Columbia River flood.
The Dalles Dam, which submerges the major Native American fishing area on the Columbia River Celilo Falls is completed.
Morrow is created as Oregons newest port.
Mechanization and modernization of machinery at the docks ends hand-loading work, reducing the regional employment of longshoremen.
The National Environmental Policy Act is passed.
Trade represents 13% of U.S. Gross Domestic Product.
Congress passes the Endangered Species Act.
The last of the seven lock and dam systems goes into operation on the upper Columbia and Snake rivers, creating navigable water all the way to Lewiston, Idaho.
A 40-foot shipping channel is completed from Portland to the Pacific Ocean, making this river system second only to the Mississippi in terms of national cargo volume.
In May, Mt. St. Helens erupts, halting shipping and increasing dredging costs at the Port of Astoria.
The largest floating dry dock in the Western Hemisphere opens in Portland, enabling the repair of super tankers involved in the Alaska oil trade.
Log exports decline rapidly, due to the Federal and State restrictions placed on raw timber exports. Port of Astoria diversifies by attracting other ship business, including dockside repair of large oil tankers, offshore fish processors, and fiber-optic cable laying ships.
Trade represents 30% of US Gross Domestic Product ($2.3 trillion).
The Port of Portland is the #1 wheat exporter in the country. Proposal to dredge Columbia River to 43 feet is scrutinized.