From boom to bust and back again, Astoria appeals as gateway to the Oregon coast

Alex Pulaski, Chicago Tribune

ASTORIA, Ore. — Founded a little over 200 years ago as America’s first settlement in the West, this port city finds itself buoyed these days by a tourist-fueled revival.

Yet history lingers here, palpable and powerful, just a two-hour drive from the state’s metropolitan center of Portland.

At the apex of Coxcomb Hill, the mural-wrapped Astoria Column traces the area’s evolution, from Capt. Robert Gray’s 1792 discovery of the Columbia River (named for his ship, the Columbia Rediviva) to the Lewis and Clark Expedition to the railroad’s arrival in the late 1800s.

At the Columbia River Maritime Museum, vivid exhibits more at

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