Date of visit: April 17, 2011
Population: 55 (2010 Census)

Prescott is a tiny community off of Highway 30 (it’s so tiny in fact, that I was surprised to learn that it’s incorporated). Most people probably don’t know it’s there due to the complete lack of signage for the little town on the main highway. Prescott consists of a small collection of houses and little else. Two big landmarks in the area – Prescott County Park and PGE’s Trojan Park – are larger than Prescott is.

Prescott used to be next-door-neighbors with Oregon’s only commercial nuclear power plant. The Trojan plant was completed in 1974 and started producing power in 1975, although a visitor’s center had opened in 1973 to begin educating the public. The facility also included a public park with lakes, nature trails, picnic areas, and play structures.

In the early 90s the board of directors had voted to phase out the plant and shut it down by 1996. But in 1992 a steam generator tube leak was discovered. What was supposed to be a temporary shutdown became a permanent one when PGE realized that maintaining the steam generator for another few years would be more costly than an early shutdown. The nuclear reactor was eventually barged to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in 2005, and the 499-foot cooling tower was demolished in 2006.

Although the power plant is gone, the park is still around. The strange-looking picnic shelters designed by Norman Zimmer are still in the park, looking a little weathered after all these years. The park is a popular place for families on nice weekends.

A large ship in the Columbia, as seen from Prescott County Park

The former Training Building for Trojan staff. It now sits empty.

Geese at Trojan Park. Shortly after I took their picture, they ran at me in attack mode!

Reflections in the lake at Trojan Park

Map of Prescott

Oregon Towns Project


Date of visit: April 17, 2011
Population: 1,895 (2010 Census)

Rainier is the only spot where Oregon drivers can cross the Columbia River via bridge for 45 miles in either direction. The bridge was designed by Joseph Baermann Strauss, the engineer who designed the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. It was the longest and highest cantilever bridge in the country at that time. It was built with more than 12,000 tons of steel and is 8,192 feet long. When the bridge was opened in 1930, it opened as a toll bridge, but the toll was removed in 1965 when the bridge was paid off.

It was originally known as the Longview Bridge (Longview is the town on the Washington side of the bridge.) But in 1980 the bridge was rededicated as the Lewis and Clark Bridge in honor of the two explorers who paddled down the river 175 years before. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.


The Lewis and Clark Bridge over the Columbia River

A mural on a downtown building

The main drag on A Street

The main drag on B Street / Highway 30

A pretty blue house on the hill. On a clear day I bet they have a nice view of Mt. Rainier, for which the town is named.

John Diblee House, built in 1855

The Masonic Lodge

The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church

City Hall (and library too; the entrance is around the side of the building)

The Cornerstone Cafe (I had already eaten lunch; otherwise I would have tried this place out)

Map of Rainier

Oregon Towns Project


Date of visit: April 17, 2011
Population: 1,737 (2010 Census)

White settlers arrived in the Clatskanie area in 1852, a post office was established in 1871, and incorporation came in 1891. (The town was named after the river, by the way, which was named after the Tlatskanai Indians.) But what most people don’t realize is that decades earlier the very first white settlement in the northwest was established very near here. In 1810 the Winship brothers, Abiel, Jonathan, and Nathan, and their men sailed the Albatross up the Columbia River. On June 4 they landed on the tip of land opposite Crims (or Grims) Island which they named Oak Point and immediately set to work building a fortress right next to the river. But on June 7 a heavy rain fell and the river rose, flooding the site of the partially-built fort. The men tore down the structure and floated the logs downstream about a quarter mile to a new location, where they started building again.

However, the Chinooks and Klatskanais in the area got wind of this new operation and were none too happy about it. If the white men established a trading post this far up river, they would steal business from the natives. They made their displeasure known to the white men, and Captain Nathan Winship prudently decided that they had better leave. He knew that they could use force against the natives to get their way, but he also knew that once the ship left the men who stayed behind at the fort would never be able to defend themselves if the Native Americans decided to attack. So on June 12 they packed up ship and sailed back down the river. The settlement had lasted less than two weeks.

105 years after that first Winship settlement, Clatskanie became accessible by road when Highway 30 was completed in 1915. According to an Oregonian article about the opening celebration of the highway, more than 100 cars were purchased by residents in the area in the months prior to the highway opening. The new route to the coast was a boon for businesses in the town. One proprietor quoted in the article said her business had increased five-fold thanks to the highway.

Welcome to Clatskanie

Flippin CastleThe Flippin Castle, built between 1898 and 1900 by Thomas J. Flippin

Most important building in townThe public library

A bookish place

A wonderful and charming book shelter in the park near the library

The Bike Inn
This charming-looking building is The Bike Inn. It’s designed for Highway 30 cyclists seeking a place to crash for the night.

Lewis and Clark

A very cool wood carving of Lewis & Clark canoeing through a tree

Benson House

The Benson house, built by Simon Benson for his son Amos in 1903

Map of Clatskanie

Oregon Towns Project