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NW Natural, formerly Northwest Natural Gas Company, is a publicly traded utility headquartered in Portland, Oregon, United States. Primarily a natural gas distributor, the company services residential, commercial, and industrial customers in Western Oregon and Southwest Washington in the Pacific Northwest. Founded in 1859, the company has approximately 680,000 customers and revenues of nearly one billion in US dollars annually. Portland Gas Light Company began as the first gas company in the Pacific Northwest in 1859, based on a perpetual charter by the territorial government. The territorial government granted the charter in January 1859, only a month before Oregon became a state on February 14, at which time the Oregon Constitution became effective. The Constitution would not have allowed this perpetual franchise had the Constitution been in effect at the time the charter was granted. The company was started by H.C. Leonard and Henry D. Green, "colorful pioneers" who knew each other in New York, met again in San Francisco, and started a general store in Astoria in 1850. Moving to Portland in 1852, Green and Leonard built the first shipping dock in Portland. They also operated as agents for Pacific Mail Steamship Company and exported goods to the Hawaiian Islands and Asia. Their first coal gasification plant at Flanders and the waterfront operated on coal from Vancouver Island. Gas began flowing in 1859, and the first gas lights were in a section of downtown Portland beginning June 1, 1860 and supplied 49 customers. They incorporated as the Portland Gas Light Company in 1862 and purchased the Portland Water Company franchise. They also created the East Portland Gas Light Company in 1882, creating a plant at East Second and Ankeny.
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