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The city had its own Japantown, The city housed a large number of saloons, bordellos, gambling dens, and boardinghouses which were populated with miners after the California Gold Rush, as well as the multitude of sailors passing through the port.During World War II, it housed an "assembly center" from which up to 3,676 people of Japanese descent were dispatched to internment camps in the heartland.Downtown Portland straddles the banks of the Willamette River, which flows north through the city center and separates the city's east and west neighborhoods.Less than 10 miles (16 km) from downtown, the Willamette River flows into the Columbia River, the fourth-largest river in the United States, which divides Oregon from Washington state. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 145.09 square miles (375.78 km Portland's cityscape derives much of its character from the many bridges that span the Willamette River downtown, several of which are historic landmarks, and Portland has been nicknamed "Bridgetown" for many decades as a result.It was the first American city to have residents report thus, The article, which focused on crime boss Jim Elkins, became the basis of a fictionalized film titled Portland Exposé (1957).In spite of the city's seedier undercurrent of criminal activity, Portland enjoyed an economic and industrial surge during World War II. Kaiser had been awarded contracts to build Liberty ships and aircraft carrier escorts, and chose sites in Portland and Vancouver, Washington, for work yards.To the west of the Tualatin Mountains lies the Oregon Coast Range, and to the east lies the actively volcanic Cascade Range. Johns Bridge, a Gothic revival suspension bridge built in 1931, to the north. Jackson Memorial Bridge and the Interstate Bridge provide access from Portland across the Columbia River into Washington state.
Portland remained the major port in the Pacific Northwest for much of the 19th century, until the 1890s, when Seattle's deepwater harbor was connected to the rest of the mainland by rail, affording an inland route without the treacherous navigation of the Columbia River.
During the prehistoric period, the land that would become Portland was flooded after the collapse of glacial dams from Lake Missoula, in what would later become Montana.
These massive floods occurred during the last ice age and filled the Willamette Valley with 300 to 400 feet (91 to 122 m) of water.
Its combined statistical area (CSA) ranks 19th-largest with a population of around 3.2 million.
Approximately 60% of Oregon's population resides within the Portland metropolitan area.