The Founders

As young men, H.C. Leonard and John Green left the East for the Western frontier. Passing through San Francisco, they were inspired by the city’s gas light system. They later settled in Portland, where they received a perpetual franchise from the territorial government to provide gas service. The company they started thrives today as NW Natural.

Hard Workers

To build a gas distribution system in Portland, Oregon, our founders H.C. Leonard and John Green borrowed $50,000 from East Coast investors – a massive investment in the 1850s. After 150 years of success, it is clear they invested wisely.

While early investors were few in number, today thousands of individuals own NW Natural stock, totaling nearly 27 million shares. These investors – many of them with NW Natural in their retirement portfolios – have benefited from 53 consecutive years of increased dividends.

Central to our success has been the ability to adapt. When electric lights replaced gas, the Portland Gas Light Company dropped “Light” from its name and began promoting gas ranges, furnaces and water heaters. On the first day of operation in 1860, the Leonard & Green gas works company delivered gas to 49 customers in southwest Portland. Today, NW Natural serves more than 662,000 homes and businesses across

107 communities in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

While customer growth has played a big role in NW Natural’s success, so have wise infrastructure investments. Our underground storage at Mist, Oregon, allows us to buy gas at the best available prices and store it until it’s needed – so we can keep our gas costs as low as possible. In addition, storage services to large gas users add earnings outside our utility business.

Today, we’re planning for a greater role in managing gas infrastructure in the West. We’re developing underground storage in California, and we expect to add much-needed transmission pipeline capacity in Oregon.

Historical Growth
150 Years of Trust: Page 1 | 2
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