1977

The Transit Mall opens, centralizing every bus route in the region’s transit system onto two car-free streets in downtown Portland.





















1978 Urban Growth Boundary
Image: Metro

1978

A multigovernment committee and the region’s garbage authority merge to create Metro, the only directly elected regional government in the country. Its first major task: adopting the urban growth boundary mandated by Senate Bill 100.


1978

Waterfront Park opens to the public and is quickly nicknamed “*Portland’s Front Yard*”—and officially renamed Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park in 1984.


1979

The Arab oil embargo inspires Portland to become the first US city to adopt a local energy policy, establishing an Energy Office and a citizen Energy Commission to monitor the city’s energy use and educate members of the public about how to weatherize their homes. Five years earlier, Oregon drew the nation’s attention to its environmental ethos by replacing Governor Tom McCall’s Lincoln Continental with a smaller, fuel-saving economy car (pictured).


1979

John Yeon hosts an evening picnic and invites hiker and self-described “housewife” Nancy Russell. Inspired by the walks, the views of Multnomah Falls, and the rising full moon that Yeon carefully chose the date for, the housewife turns activist and co-founds the Friends of the Columbia River Gorge a year later.


1981

The 40-Mile Loop Land Trust incorporates to acquire rights-of-way for a regionwide trail system. Urban naturalist Mike Houck notices that the proposed loop nearly matches John Charles Olmsted’s vision of 78 years earlier (see 1903). The trail system now has more than 140 miles of trails and 30 interconnected parks winding throughout all of Multnomah County.


1984

One of the dreams of the 1972 Downtown Plan, Pioneer Courthouse Square opens, becoming Portland’s “Living Room” and its most popular landmark (9.5 million visitors a year). In 2008, it is named one of America’s 10 Great Public Spaces by the American Planning Association.


1984

A group of architects publishes a report called “Last Place in the Downtown Plan,” outlining their vision for the area bounded by W Burnside Street, the Willamette River, and I-405 to become a thriving mixed-use neighborhood. The first step: creating the Northwest 13th Avenue Historic District, which becomes the first seed of the Pearl District.