What makes Portland different, unique, and special? Some might say it’s the location. Forty-five minutes from the ski slopes and ninety minutes from the ocean. Others might say it’s the ten bridges crossing the river that bisect our city. Still others might think its Powell’s Books, Voodoo Donuts, the Zoo Bombers or the Rose Festival. But for me it’s the people.

There is a story told that in the mid-19th century, during the largest voluntary migration of humans in world history, Oregon Trail pioneers came upon an unassuming fork in the road located somewhere in Idaho. When the settlers reached this crossroads they had an important choice to make; go left to California, or go straight ahead to the Oregon territory.

A simple decision? Not really.

In California there was the enticement of quick and easy riches that came along with the discovery of gold. However, it was also a considerable gamble because the prospect of failure was a very real and likely possibility. In Oregon there was no gold, but there was the most fertile land this country had ever seen. And it was free for the taking. There would be no quick and easy riches in Oregon, and “making it” would involve a great deal of sweat equity. But the rewards found in the Oregon Territory were only limited by one’s own ambition and hard work.

Those that chose Oregon did so for very specific reasons, and it was these pioneering settlers and their descendants that have made Oregon, and its largest city of Portland, the unique place it is today.

Individualistic, courageous, hearty, natural leaders, hard workers, supporters of the underdog, liberal, fun-loving, outdoorsmen, and weird are just some of the adjectives that have been used to describe Portlanders.

My name is Scott Carlson and I am a 57-year old lifelong resident of Portland. I love history and I love traveling the world to experience firsthand the culture and the history of other people. I also love my hometown of Portland, Oregon. I am a project manager by day and a history buff by night and I have spent my entire life wanting to “be with history” on a daily basis, but never quite knowing how to make it happen. Then one day it came to me. I realized I could combine my love of history with my passion for my own hometown. On that day DiscoverPortland Weekend Walking Tours was born.

Held on weekends from May through September, DiscoverPorltand is far different from other Portland tours where you will be given just the guidebook facts. I call this tour “The Rest of the Story” and my intent is not to sell you on Portland; rather it is to tell you stories of people and events in Portland’s distant and not so distant past that will show you who we are and what makes Portlanders, well, Portlanders.

Have you ever wondered how the nation’s 29th largest city came to be run by a local bartender? Or do you know about the man whose courage and “uncommon” common sense saved the City of Roses from almost certain destruction? Have you any idea the role that “architectural envy” played in the design of a Portland icon? Or how about how our own SW Broadway Street irrefutably proves that Juliet was wrong? Yes that’s Shakespeare’s Juliet I am talking about. I will tell you these stories and more as I introduce you to many of the colorful people and events that make up Portland’s past.

Whether you are a resident or a visitor, please join me starting May 26th for a weekend walk through the heart of downtown and hear for yourself “The Rest of the Story.” Please visit DiscoverPDX.com for more information and to sign up for a tour of my hometown. I can’t wait to show you my Portland.