Nancy Russell creates what she adroitly calls a “parade” of Columbia Gorge supporters that United States Senator Mark Hatfield “wants to jump in front of.” Led by Hatfield, Congress enacts the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, fulfilling Yeon and Mumford’s half-century-old vision (see 1935 and ’38).

1986 MAX Begins
Image: Trimet

September 5, 1986

After four years of construction, MAX light-rail service begins, the first leg 15 miles of what by 2010 will be 52 miles of lines. Two hundred thousand citizens ride the first weekend.

1988 Oaks Bottom
Image: Mike Houck


Mike Houck carries on the Audubon Society of Portland’s 86-year tradition of advocacy (see 1902) by successfully establishing Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge (pictured), a 140-acre wetland, as Portland’s first official urban wildlife refuge.

January 25, 1989

Led by City Commissioner Earl Blumenauer (pictured), Portland City Council votes to ban the use of polystyrene foam by city restaurants and food vendors.


After seeing the group’s poster on the Broadway Bridge, Rex Burkholder attends a meeting of the Portland Bicycle Cooperative and leads it to become the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, one of the region’s most effective lobbying forces. The Alliance launches Burkholder to a seat on Metro, and signifies the institutionalized activism that will shape the city’s next era.


Addressing one of Portland’s oldest problems—and one that Laurgaard had attempted to fix—the Northwest Environmental Advocates bring a lawsuit against the city for allowing sewage to spew into the Willamette and Columbia. It results in the city’s largest infrastructure project ever—the $1.4 billion “Big Pipe” combined sewer overflow system—and a mandated commitment to prevent sewage from overflowing into local rivers and streams.


The Legislature passes the Oregon Recycling Act, setting a statewide goal of 50 percent recovery by 2000 and requiring cities to increase their recycling services. A year later, Portland follows suit by making residential curbside service available to all residents.


Senate Bill 100’s tentacles continue to grow with the adoption of Oregon’s Transportation Planning Rule, mandating reductions in automobile miles traveled per capita and requiring cities to adopt zoning to promote pedestrian travel.


To enable farmers to sell directly to customers, Craig Mosbaek, Ted Snider, and Rick Hagan gather 13 vendors at Albers Mill to start the first of four farmers markets in Portland.