UnZip The Zip-Code Visits the Gateway to the Gorge

View of Vista House at Crown Point in the Columbia River Gorge during the fall months.
If you’ve ever traveled from Portland to the Columbia Gorge going east on I-84, chances are you’ve passed through 97060, better known as Troutdale or the ‘Gateway to the Gorge’. But, Troutdale is much more than a gateway. I was surprised to discover that this small community has transformed into an up-and-coming arts and cultural destination over the past several years. If you haven’t visited Troutdale in awhile, you owe it to yourself to make a trip out there. I was enchanted by it’s charm and impressed by the time and care that the town has invested in making this area a true art destination spot.

Historic Downtown Troutdale marks the start of Old Highway 30 and is the home of several art galleries, including the first stop on our tour, the Caswell Gallery. Named for esteemed bronze sculptor, Rip Caswell, the Caswell Gallery represents top artists of the Pacific Northwest who work in all varieties of mediums.

It was so exciting to be able to witness mural artists Dwayne Harty and Tammy Callens painting the new mural going up in the Troutdale Mayor’s Square. The mural depicts the history of the first scenic highway in the Northwest – Highway 30. Don’t miss the dedication on September 28th at 2:00 pm!

Head down the historic highway and you’ll find the hub of the arts community, the Troutdale Art Center. Purchased by the sculptor Alison Brown in 2014, the Art Center is both a studio space for local artists and a working gallery. With a common goal to “create and grow”, the Art Center now features eight artists and their work spaces.

Another must see in Historic Troutdale is the Troutdale General Store. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back into a simpler time as you walk through the front door. There are three floors to explore and a 1900s-era soda fountain, where you can enjoy a milkshake, sundae or cone. Stop in for lunch or browse their large selection of fun gifts and candy.

A trip out to Troutdale wouldn’t be complete without stopping by its main tourist draw, McMenamins Edgefield. You may think of McMenamins and picture one of their local restaurants with its signature quirky decor. Edgefield is so much more than a restaurant. The property is home to a concert venue with acts that could fill the Moda Center, a three-star hotel, movie theatre, spa, golf course, winery, brewery, distillery, museum, and much more. 

Edgefield was opened in 1911 as the Multnomah County Poor Farm. For seven decades, Edgefield was home to people from all walks of life who were struggling financially. Residents were required to work on the 300-acre farm which helped feed, not only the farm, but the local hospital and jail. Fast-forward to 1985, and historic Edgefield was in trouble. It was declared “dilapidated beyond repair” and was scheduled to be demolished by the county. Thanks to the Troutdale Historical Society and two brothers by the name of McMenamin, the farm was saved and slowly but surely turned into the beautiful, diverse venue it is today.

Art is just as important to McMenamins as it is to the community of Troutdale. I find the art featured here to be truly magical and want to shed some light on just some of the artists and art at Edgefield. One of the most prolific artists within the McMenamins franchise is Lyle Hehn. A resident of Troutdale, Hehn has worked for McMenamins since 1988 and was originally hired to paint a sign on the door of the Fulton Pub. McMenamins liked Fulton’s work so much that he was hired to paint pub walls, design logos, labels, and signs, along with other murals and illustrations. McMenamins chooses to use a variety of local artists and designers for their establishments. Some include greats like Joe Cotter, his wife Kolieha Bush, and Myrna Yoder. They believe the history of a community matters and choose the buildings they transform to be the showplace for that community’s history.

If you haven’t been to Troutdale in awhile, you owe it to yourself to make a stop. I hope that this very brief introduction entices you to go out and experience even more of this great community.

Tune in this Friday to UnZip The Zip-Code on KATU’s AM Northwest at 9am for our Troutdale episode. And be sure to catch us again the following week on September 30th for a Q&A session with me, Stacy Benner. As Summit Mortgage Corporation’s resident mortgage specialist, I’ll have the answers to some of your most commonly asked mortgage questions. Have a mortgage question you want answered? Send me an email! It may just get answered live on AM Northwest. We’ll see you then!


Mortgage Specialist • NMLS 506902

C: 503.400.5738
Summit Mortgage Corporation • NMLS 3236

A big shout out to Real Estate Broker, Lisa Owens, for providing the RMLS Statistics on Troutdale. Lisa consistently studies market pricing and trends so she is able to keep her clients well-educated and informed.


Fall Happenings in Troutdale

Oktoberfest at McMenamins Edgefield

September 25th
There is so much happening at Edgefield this fall and Oktoberfest is just around the corner on September 25th! 
The Oktoberfest at Edgefield is a free event featuring all of the traditional favorites as well as some extras like a golf tournament, garden and plant sale, and much more. Grab a glass of the limited batch Edgefield Oktoberfest Ale – made just for the event! Click here for all the details!

Fall Festival of the Arts

September 30th – October 2nd

Don’t miss the 2nd Annual Fall Festival of the Arts at Glen Otto Park in Troutdale! This weekend, sponsored by the West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce, celebrates our community of artists and the West Columbia Gorge! Click here for all the details!


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