Hitherto there has been no attempt to write
a History of Portland. Slight sketches of the history of the
city have, indeed, been written, but nothing that answers to
the importance of the subject has heretofore, been
undertaken. For conception and execution of the present work
the city is indebted to D. Mason & Co., a firm of
enterprising publishers of Syracuse, New York. Learning that
no general history of Portland had yet appeared, these
publishers offered to undertake the work and to collect the
materials for it. Aware, however, that it was necessary that
these materials should be subjected to local editorial
supervision, they requested me to perform that duty. Though
my own daily employments were very exacting, I consented to
do so. The result is now submitted to the public.
My own work therefore has been that of editor rather than author. Some parts of the book I have written, and all of it, except portions of the biographical matter, I have revised with as much diligence as possible. Yet I cannot hope that the book is free from errors. Much has been handed down from memory, and inaccuracies therefore are unavoidable.
Acknowledgments are due chiefly to O. F. Vedder, H. S. Lyman and C. H. Carey for the matter of this volume. All these have worked diligently in collection and preparation of the materials. The biographical matter has been contributed by many hands, and Mr. Vedder has bestowed much labor upon it. The special work of Mr. Carey is the important and exhaustive chapter on "Bench and Bar". Mr. Lyman's work runs through a large part of the historical matter. The first chapter, which is devoted to the "Early History of Oregon", an excellent specimen of condensed historical writing, is chiefly by Mr. Vedder.
In preparation of a work of this kind it is easy to realize how much matter that we would have been glad to obtain has now forever escaped even the most active and diligent research. Yet a paragraph at the close of the history may be properly repeated here, namely : "This history of Portland is the product of research and labor extended in all directions that promised results; it is probably as complete as any that is likely to be prepared, and yet not so complete by any means as it would be, were it practicable to gather, to sift and to compare all facts of interest that are yet retained in the memory of living persons or set down in documents remaining in private hands. Unfortunately, the mass of these materials is beyond the reach of those who undertake to prepare a work like this, and writers or editor must be content with such records and recollections as can be gathered by diligence, through knowing that more has been missed than obtained."
Yet it is believed that we have here a history sufficiently full and accurate for preservation to future times of an intelligible account of the origin of Portland and of its growth to the proportions of a city.
H. W. SCOTT.
PORTLAND, June 1st, 1890.