Visit a new shopping district in this Portland suburb

Karl Samson

Lake Oswego, Oregon, could have been the Pittsburgh of theWest. That was what some early area settlers were hoping when theybuilt the first pig-iron smelter west of the Rockies. But when theindustrial age faded, Lake Oswego instead became a posh Portlandsuburb.

Until recently, visitors got only fleeting glimpses of the lakefor which the town is named. That changed in 1999 with the openingof Millennium Plaza Park, at the south, end of First Street. Ponderthe watery view while shopping for fresh asparagus and springgreens at the park's Lake Oswego Farmers' Market (9-2 Sat, May 15-Oct 9; First St. at Evergreen Ave.;503/675-3983) .

Last fall the opening of Lakeview Village, a shopping and diningcenter adjacent to the park, gave the downtown a new look. With itsgabled roof lines and mix of brick and stone fa├žades, thecomplex conjures up an English village. Shop for chic kitchenaccessories at Sur La Table (390 N. State St.; 503/636-2181), or seek out unique plantpots and vases at Ravenna Gardens (315 First; 503/636-4484). And at Urbane Zen (385 First; 503/697-5229), you'll find colorful pajamas andluscious bath salts.

Also in Lakeview Village, Manzana Rotisserie Grill ($$; 305 First; 503/675-3322)serves filling comfort foodfrom its perch above Lakewood Bay. Nearby on Oswego Lake, you canrub shoulders with the vintage-motorboat crowd while chowing downon house-smoked pork loin at Blinn's Boathouse ($$$; closed Mon; 40 N. State; 503/636-4561). At Tucci ($$$; 220 A Ave.; 503/697-3383), sip cocktails made fromhouse-infused liquors and sup on modern Italian fare.

Across the street from Lakeview Village, catch the WillametteShore Trolley (call for schedule; $10 round trip; 311 N. State;503/697-7436). From May through September, vintage trolleysrattle 6 miles north to Portland along a scenic stretch of theWillamette River. In 1914, when this trolley line was firstelectrified, it became easier for commuters to get to Portland,which helped define the town as a bona fide suburb. True, it's afar cry from the Pittsburgh of the West, but these days most peoplelove Lake Oswego just the way it is.

Hello, L.O.

Lake Oswego is 6 miles south of Portland on State 43. For moreinformation, contact the Lake OswegoChamber of Commerce (242 B Ave.; 503/636-3634).

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