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People, Politics, and Power, 1851-2001

Jewel Lansing

6 × 9 inches. B&W photographs. Notes. Bibliography. Index. 592 pages.

2005. ISBN 978-0-87071-559-4. Hardcover, $29.95.

Finalist, Oregon Book Award

This is the definitive book on Portland's political history, beginning in 1845 when a 16-lot townsite was laid out on the bank of the Willamette River and continuing through the sesquicentennial of Portland city government.

Jewel Lansing has amassed a treasure trove of information on Portland's civic and political life, which she presents in a lively volume, organized around accounts of the successive reigns of Portland's mayors. The story is rich in anecdotes that bring to life the unique individuals and controversial issues of Portland's distant and more recent past.

Lansing shows that Portland's path to its present place as the 28th largest city in the United States, with a deserved reputation as one of the nation's most livable cities, has not always been smooth. Corruption, profiteering, and wide-open vice characterized the City of Roses at the turn of the 20th century, and every era has had its own controversies and rivalries: disputes over railroad franchises and rights-of-way, women's suffrage, public versus private power, the Chinese Exclusion Act, Prohibition, and the siting of freeways, to name just a few.

Anyone with an interest in Portland, and in learning more about the individuals, events, and issues that have shaped it, will find this comprehensive history fascinating and informative.

Member of AAUP