June 3 marked the 125th anniversary of the nation’s first long-distance transmission of electricity — and the birth of what is now Oregon’s largest utility.

On June 3, 1889, Portland General Electric founders Parker Morey and Edward Eastham threw a switch at their Willamette Falls powerhouse, illuminating 55 street lamps in downtown Portland 14 miles away.

PGE will celebrate the anniversary Saturday, June 21, when it sponsors free admission for all visitors to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and other area museums.

“We chose a free museum day because education, like electricity, is vital to creating a bright future for our region,” said CEO and President Jim Piro. 

PGE shares a fundamental—some might say foundational—connection with OMSI. PGE donated the 18.5-acre site that held Station L, its sawdust-fired power plant. The current OMSI building still bears Station L’s smokestack and turbine buildings.

PGE will also sponsor free admission to a new exhibit at the Museum of the Oregon Territory overlooking Willamette Falls. The exhibit will allow visitors to experience for themselves the nation’s first long-distance transmission of electricity. Go to for more information.

Admission will also be free to the Oregon Historical Society and A.C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village (in Salem), which features stimulating interactive exhibits to light up children’s curiosity and imagination. Go to for more information.

Contract Publishing

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