The Portland assisted ships to dock, turn and pass through the narrow bridge spans on the Willamette River. Her massive rudders and backing power were essential for moving loaded ocean-going ships.
She replaced a wooden hulled sternwheel tugboat, also called The Portland, that had served the Port of Portland since 1919.
Decommissioned in 1981, the Portland worked Portland Harbor for nearly thirty years. The Portland was deeded to the Oregon Maritime Museum in 1991, and now houses the museum on the Willamette River at the Waterfront Park seawall, at the base of Naito and SW Pine Street.