Interstate 84 or I -84 is an Interstate Highway in the US state of Oregon. The highway runs from the largest city of Portland through the Columbia River Gorge via Pendleton and Ontario to the border with Idaho. Interstate 84 is a very diverse highway, with urban stretches, very rural stretches, rainforests, waterfalls, canyons, desert and mountain areas. Interstate 84 is 605 kilometers long in Oregon.
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I-84 in the Columbia River Gorge.
I-84 at The Dalles.
I-84 begins near Downtown Portland on the bank of the Willamette River, where it intersects with Interstate 5. The first section of I-84 is also known as the Banfield Expressway. This is a curvy highway with 2×3 lanes and a light rail next to it. The highway is largely sunken and leads through older neighborhoods in eastern Portland and then through eastern suburbs. On the east side of Portland one crosses Interstate 205, the two highways run side by side for a short time. I-84 then runs through Portland’s eastern suburbs and suburbs, some distance from the Columbia River. The highway has 2×3 lanes all the way to Troutdale, Portland’s easternmost suburb. The Sandy River forms more or less a hard boundary between the urbanized region and the Columbia River Gorge.
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Columbia River Gorge
The route from Troutdale to The Dalles leads through the Columbia River Gorge, a mile deep canyon of the mighty Columbia River. I-84 crosses the south bank of the river, close to the water in many places. Along the highway are a whole series of nature parks. Special is Multnomah Falls, a large waterfall that can be reached from a parking lot in the central reservation of I-84. The stretch from Portland to The Dalles has few places along the route, because of the Cascade Mountains there are no north-south roads and therefore few intersecting roads along I-84. The only bridge over the Columbia River on the 90-mile stretch from Portland to Hood River is the Bridge of the Gods at Cascade Locks. The transition of the landscape on this stretch is special, from tropical rainforests to barren semi-deserts. Especially around Hood River the transition is very fast. The Dalles is located in a desert-like area. In The Dalles there is a connection to theUS 197.
East of The Dalles, I-84 follows the Columbia River for another 80 miles east to Boardman. The canyon is a lot less deep here. This region is arid and sparsely populated, with only a few small villages. US 97 is crossed at Biggs Junction. The differences in height of the landscape here are not much more than 300 meters, around Boardman the landscape even becomes flat with circular irrigation. US 730 splits off at Boardman. Next, I-84 passes the Umatilla Chemical Depot, a large military base where chemical weapons are stored. Shortly thereafter, at Hermiston, there is an interchange with Interstate 82 that leads to Washington State. I-84 is already bending slightly to the southeast here.
Between Stanfield and Pendleton, US 395 coincides with I-84. The highway leads here through a barren steppe landscape. Pendleton is one of the few larger towns directly on the route in Eastern Oregon. Special is the route from Pendleton to La Grange, which leads through the Blue Mountains. I-84 has to overcome a 600 meter difference in height over a few kilometers here and does this with split lanes and a winding route. This is also where the highest point of I-84 is located at over 1,200 meters above sea level. I-84 also clearly bends to the southeast and partly runs due south.
West of La Grange, I-84 leads through a winding canyon, also between La Grange and North Powder, I-84 leads through a canyon. The landscape consists of barren mountains interspersed with plains with circular irrigation. The region is very sparsely populated outside the few places, I-84 crosses few through roads here. From Baker City to Ontario there is another mountain route that is about 100 kilometers long. This part has almost no place at all and leads through remote terrain. In this area, I-84 again reaches nearly 1,200 meters in elevation and leads through an area of mountain ranges up to 2,000 meters. The highway is quite winding here and there. At Huntington, one first enters the valley of the Snake River, which marks the border with the state of Idaho .forms. I-84 then travels again through mountainous terrain and then reaches a flatter agricultural area at the Ontario border town. At Ontario one crosses the Snake River, after which Interstate 84 in Idaho continues towards Boise.