|City of Portland|
|Nickname(s): "Rose City"; "Stumptown"; "PDX"; see Nicknames of Portland, Oregon for a complete list.|
Location of Portland in Multnomah County and the state of Oregon
|Counties||Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas|
|Incorporated||February 8, 1851|
|Named for||Portland, Maine|
|• Mayor||Charlie Hales (D)|
|• Commissioners||Steve Novick
|• Auditor||LaVonne Griffin-Valade|
|• City||145 sq mi (376 km2)|
|• Land||133 sq mi (346 km2)|
|• Water||12 sq mi (30 km2)|
Lowest: 0.62 ft
Columbia River & Willamette River
Low water 1/7/ 1,937
ft (15.2 m)
|• Estimate (2013)||609,456|
|• Rank||US: 29th|
|• Density||4,375.1/sq mi (1,689.2/km2)|
|• Urban||1,849,898 (US: 24th)|
|• Metro||2,314,554 (US: 24th)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC-8)|
|• Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC-7)|
|Area code(s)||503 and 971|
|GNIS feature ID||1136645|
Portland is the largest city in the U.S. state of Oregon, located near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. According to the 2010 Census, it had a population of 583,776, estimated to have reached 609,456 in 2013, making it the 29th most populous city in the United States. Approximately 2,314,554 people live in the Portland metropolitan area (MSA), the 19th most populated MSA in the United States.
Portland was incorporated in 1851 near the end of the Oregon Trail and is the county seat of Multnomah County. The city operates with a unique commission-based government guided by a mayor and four commissioners as well as Metro – the only directly elected metropolitan planning organization in the United States. The city government is renowned for its superior land-use planning and investment in public transportation. Portland is frequently recognized as one of the most environmentally conscious or "green" cities in the world because of its high walkability, large community of bicyclists, expansive network of public transportation options and 10,000+ acres of public parks.
Portland is located in the Willamette Valley region of the Pacific Northwest, between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains, and its climate is marked by warm, dry summers as well as damp, cool-to-chilly winter days. This climate is ideal for growing roses. For more than a century, Portland has been known as the "City of Roses", with many rose gardens – most prominently the International Rose Test Garden. The city is also known for its abundant outdoor activities, liberal political values, and coffee and beer enthusiasm. Portland is home to the most total breweries and independent microbreweries of any city in the world, with 58 active breweries within city limits, as well as 600+ food carts and food trucks which contribute to the unofficial slogan "Keep Portland Weird".
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Economy
- 5 Culture and contemporary life
- 6 Sports
- 7 Parks and gardens
- 8 Law and government
- 9 Education
- 10 Media
- 11 Transportation
- 12 Notable people
- 13 Sister cities
- 14 Gallery
- 15 See also
- 16 Notes
- 17 References
- 18 Further reading
- 19 External links
Prior to emigration by American pioneers, the land that eventually became Portland and surrounding Multnomah County was inhabited for many centuries by two bands of Upper Chinook Indians - the Multnomah people and the Cascades Indians.
Significant numbers of pioneer settlers began arriving in the Willamette Valley in the 1830s via the Oregon Trail, though life was originally centered in nearby Oregon City. In the early 1840s a new settlement began emerging on the banks of the Willamette River, located roughly halfway between Oregon City and Fort Vancouver. This community was initially referred to as "Stumptown" and "The Clearing" because of the many trees being cut down to allow for its growth. In 1843 William Overton saw potential in the new settlement but lacked the funds necessary to file an official land claim. For 25 cents Overton agreed to share half of the 640-acre (2.6 km2) site with Asa Lovejoy of Boston. Two years later Overton sold his remaining half of the claim to Francis W. Pettygrove of Portland, Maine. Both Pettygrove and Lovejoy wished to rename "The Clearing" after their respective hometowns. In 1845 this controversy was settled with a coin toss which Pettygrove won in a series of two out of three tosses, thereby providing Portland with its namesake. The coin used for this decision, now known as the Portland Penny, is on display in the headquarters of the Oregon Historical Society.
At the time of its incorporation on February 8, 1851, Portland had over 800 inhabitants, a steam sawmill, a log cabin hotel, and a newspaper, the Weekly Oregonian. By 1879, the population had grown to 17,500 and by 1890 it had grown to 46,385. The city merged with Albina and East Portland in 1891 and annexed the cities of Linnton and St. Johns in 1915.
Portland's access to the Pacific Ocean via the Willamette and the Columbia rivers, as well as its easy access to the agricultural Tualatin Valley via the "Great Plank Road" (the route of current-day U.S. Route 26), provided the pioneer city with an advantage over other nearby ports, and it grew very quickly. Portland remained the major port in the Pacific Northwest for much of the 19th century, until the 1890s, when Seattle's deepwater harbor was connected to the rest of the mainland by rail, affording an inland route without the treacherous navigation of the Columbia River.
The city has acquired a diverse range of nicknames throughout its history, though it is most frequently called "Rose City" or "The City of Roses", the latter of which being its unofficial nickname since 1888 and its official nickname since 2003. Another widely utilized nickname by local residents in everyday speech is "PDX", which is also the airport code for Portland International Airport. Other nicknames include Bridgetown, Stumptown, Beertown, Beervana, Rip City, Soccer City, P-Town, Portlandia, and the more antiquated Little Beirut.
Portland is located 70 miles east of the Pacific Ocean at the northern end of Oregon's most populated region, the Willamette Valley. Downtown Portland straddles the banks of the Willamette River which flows north through the city center and consequently separates the east and west portions of the city. Less than 10 miles from downtown the Willamette River flows into the Columbia River, the fourth-largest river in the United States, which divides Oregon from Washington state.
Though much of downtown Portland is relatively flat, the foothills of the Tualatin Mountains, more commonly referred to locally as the "West Hills" or the "Southwest Hills", pierce through the Northwest and Southwest reaches of the city. Council Crest Park, the tallest point within city limits, is located in the West Hills and rises to an elevation of 1,073 feet. The highest point east of the river is Mt. Tabor, an extinct volcanic cinder cone, which rises to 636 feet. Nearby Powell Butte and Rocky Butte rise to 614 feet and 612 feet, respectively. To the west of the Tualatin Mountains lies the Oregon Coast Range, and to the east lies the actively volcanic Cascade Range. On clear days Mt. Hood and Mt St. Helens dominate the horizon while Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier can also be visible in the distance.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 145.09 square miles (375.78 km2), of which, 133.43 square miles (345.58 km2) is land and 11.66 square miles (30.20 km2) is water. Although almost all of Portland lies within Multnomah County, small portions of the city lie within Clackamas and Washington counties with populations estimated at 785 and 1,455, respectively.
Portland lies on top of an extinct volcanic field known as the Boring Lava Field. The Boring Lava Field contains at least 32 cinder cones such as Mount Tabor, and its center lies in Southeast Portland. Mount St. Helens, a highly active volcano 50 miles northeast of the city in Washington state, is easily visible on clear days and is close enough to have dusted the city with volcanic ash after its eruption on May 18, 1980.
Portland's cityscape derives much of its character from the numerous bridges that span the Willamette River downtown, several of which are historical landmarks, and Portland has been affectionately nicknamed "Bridgetown" for many decades as a result. Three of downtown's most heavily-utilized bridges are more than 100 years old and are designated historic landmarks - Hawthorne Bridge (1910), Steel Bridge, (1912) and Broadway Bridge (1913). Portland's newest bridge, Tilikum Crossing, opened in 2015 and is the first new bridge to open in Portland since the 1973 opening of the Fremont Bridge.
The Willamette River, which flows north through downtown, serves as the natural boundary between east and west Portland. The denser and earlier-developed west side extends into the lap of the West Hills, while the flatter east side fans out for roughly 180 blocks until it meets the suburb of Gresham. In 1891 the cities of Portland, Albina, and East Portland were consolidated, creating inconsistent patterns of street names and addresses. The "great renumbering" on September 2, 1931 standardized street naming patterns and changed house numbers from 20 per block to 100 per block. It also divided Portland into five quadrants: North, Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, and Southeast, with downtown Portland being located in the SW quadrant. The Willamette River divided the east and west quadrants while Burnside Street, which traverses the entire city lengthwise, divided the north and south quadrants. The five quadrants of Portland have come to develop distinctive identities over time, with mild cultural differences and friendly rivalries between their residents, especially between those who live east of the river versus west of the river. All addresses within the city are denoted as belonging to a specific quadrant with one of the following prefixes: N, NW, NE, SW or SE.
Though officially located in SW Portland, the RiverPlace, John's Landing and South Waterfront neighborhoods lie in a so-called (but unofficial) "sixth quadrant" called "South Portland", where addresses rise higher from west to east toward the river. This "sixth quadrant" is roughly bounded by Naito Parkway and Barbur Boulevard to the west, Montgomery Street to the north and Nevada Street to the south. East-West addresses in this area are denoted with a leading zero (instead of a minus sign). This means 0246 SW California St. is not the same as 246 SW California St. Many mapping programs are unable to distinguish between the two.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Portland experiences a temperate climate with both oceanic and Mediterranean features. This climate is typified by warm, dry summers and cool, damp winters. Portland experiences a much more temperate climate than one would expect of its latitude, with snowfall and freezing temperatures happening infrequently. Out of the three most populated cities within the Pacific Northwest region (Seattle, Vancouver and Portland, respectively) Portland has the warmest average temperature, the highest number of sunshine hours, and the fewest inches of annual rainfall and snowfall among the three cities. According to the Köppen climate classification, Portland falls within the dry-summer mild temperate zone (Csb), also referred to as a warm-summer Mediterranean climate with a USDA Plant Hardiness Zones between 8b and 9a.
Summers in Portland are warm to hot, dry, and sunny. The months of June, July, August and September account for only 4.49 inches (114 mm) of total rainfall – a small fraction of the 36.03 in (915 mm) of precipitation that falls throughout the year. The warmest month is August with an average high temperature of 81.1 °F (27.3 °C). Because of its inland location 70 miles (110 km) from the coast, as well as the protective nature of the Oregon Coast Range to its west, Portland summers are less susceptible to the moderating influence of the nearby Pacific Ocean. Consequently Portland experiences heat waves with air temperatures rising well above 90 °F (32 °C) for days at a time. Temperatures reach or exceed 90 °F (32 °C) 14 days per year and reach or exceed 100 °F (38 °C) 1.4 days per year. The highest temperature ever recorded was 107 °F (42 °C), on July 30, 1965, as well as August 8 and 10, 1981. The warmest recorded overnight low was 74 °F (23 °C) on July 28, 2009. Triple digit temperatures have been recorded in all five months from May through September.
Spring and fall can bring unpredictable weather including warm fronts that send temperatures surging above 80 °F (27 °C), cold snaps that plunge the daytime temperatures into the 40s °F (4–9 °C), thunderstorms that roll off the Cascade Range and, although rare, occasional tornadoes. However, mild temperatures in the upper 50s to mid 60s °F (12−19 °C) are the norm – with occasionally lengthy stretches of cloudy or partly cloudy days beginning in mid fall and continuing into mid spring. Portland receives fewer inches of total precipitation per year than nearly every city east of the Mississippi River, however rain often falls as a light drizzle for several consecutive days at a time, contributing to a higher number (155) of days with measurable (≥0.01 in or 0.25 mm) precipitation annually. Temperatures have reached 90 °F (32 °C) as early as May 3 and as late as October 5, while 80 °F (27 °C) has been reached as early as April 1 and as late as October 21.
Winters in Portland are mild to chilly, overcast, and damp with temperatures bottoming out in the second half of December and early January. The coolest month is December with an average daily high of 45.6 °F (7.6 °C), although overnight lows usually remain above freezing. Approximately 55% of Portland's annual precipitation falls between November and February. Nighttime temperatures fall to or below the freezing mark 33 nights per year on average, but very rarely to or below 20 °F (−7 °C). There are only 2.1 days per year where the high temperature fails to rise above 32 °F (0.0 °C). The lowest temperature ever recorded was −3 °F (−19 °C), on February 2, 1950 while the coldest daytime high temperature ever recorded was 14 °F (−10 °C) on December 30, 1968. The average window for freezing temperatures to potentially occur is between November 15 and March 19, allowing a growing season of 240 days.
Snowfall is variable but infrequent with a normal yearly accumulation of 4.3 inches (10.9 cm), which usually falls during only two or three days per year. Portland has one of the warmest and least snowy winters of any non-Sunbelt city in the United States, with over 25 percent of its winters receiving no snow at all. The city of Portland avoids snow more frequently than its suburbs, due in part to its low elevation and urban heat island effect. Neighborhoods outside of the downtown core, especially in slightly higher elevations near the West Hills and Mount Tabor, can experience a dusting of snow while downtown receives no accumulation at all. The city has experienced a few major snow and ice storms in its past with extreme totals having reached 44.5 in (113 cm) at the airport in 1949–50 and 60.9 in (155 cm) at downtown in 1892–93.
|Climate data for Portland, Oregon (PDX), 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1940–present[a]|
|Record high °F (°C)||66
|Average high °F (°C)||47.0
|Daily mean °F (°C)||41.4
|Average low °F (°C)||35.8
|Record low °F (°C)||−2
|Precipitation inches (mm)||4.88
|Snowfall inches (cm)||0.5
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||18.0||14.9||17.6||16.4||13.6||9.2||4.1||3.9||6.7||12.5||19.0||18.6||154.5|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||0.7||1.5||0.2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.5||1.5||4.4|
|Average humidity (%)||80.9||78.0||74.6||71.6||68.7||65.8||62.8||64.8||69.4||77.9||81.5||82.7||73.2|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||85.6||116.4||191.1||221.1||276.1||290.2||331.9||298.1||235.7||151.7||79.3||63.7||2,340.9|
|Percent possible sunshine||30||40||52||54||60||62||70||68||63||45||28||23||52|
|Source: NOAA (relative humidity and sun 1961–1990)|
As of the 2010 census, there are 583,776 people residing in the city, organized into 235,508 households. The population density is 4,375.2 people per square mile. There are 265,439 housing units at an average density of 1989.4 per square mile (1,236.3/km²). Population growth in Portland increased 10.3% between 2000 and 2010. Population growth in the Portland metropolitan area has outpaced the national average during the last decade, and this is expected to continue over the next 50 years.
The census reported the city as 76.1% White (444,254 people), 7.1% Asian (41,448), 6.3% Black or African American (36,778), 1.0% Native American (5,838), 0.5% Pacific Islander (2,919), 4.7% belonging to two or more racial groups (24,437) and 5.0% from other races (28,987). 9.4% were Hispanic or Latino, of any race (54,840). Whites not of Hispanic origin made up 72.2% of the total population.
Out of 223,737 households, 24.5% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.1% are married couples living together, 10.8% have a female householder with no husband present, and 47.1% are non-families. 34.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.3 and the average family size is 3.
The age distribution was 21.1% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 34.7% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.6% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 35 years. For every 100 females there are 97.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 95.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $40,146, and the median income for a family is $50,271. Males have a reported median income of $35,279 versus $29,344 reported for females. The per capita income for the city is $22,643. 13.1% of the population and 8.5% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 15.7% of those under the age of 18 and 10.4% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line. Figures delineating the income levels based on race are not available at this time.
Although the population of the city is increasing, a 2005 study found that Portland was educating fewer children in that year than it was in 1925, despite the city's population having almost doubled since then. The study concluded that the city would have to close the equivalent of three to four elementary schools each year for the next decade. But in 2013, The Oregonian reported five consecutive years of increased enrollment in Portland Public Schools.
In 1940, Portland's African-American population was approximately 2,000 and largely consisted of railroad employees and their families. During the war-time liberty ship construction boom, the need for workers drew many blacks to the city. The new influx of blacks settled in specific neighborhoods, such as the Albina district and Vanport. The May 1948 flood which destroyed Vanport eliminated the only integrated neighborhood, and an influx of blacks into the northeast quadrant of the city continued. Portland's longshoremen racial mix was described as being "lily-white" in the 1960s, when the local International Longshore and Warehouse Union declined to represent grain handlers since some were black.
At 6.3%, Portland's African American population is three times the state average. Over two thirds of Oregon's African-American residents live in Portland. As of the 2000 census, three of its high schools (Cleveland, Lincoln and Wilson) were over 70% white, reflecting the overall population, while Jefferson High School was 87% non-white. The remaining six schools have a higher number of non-whites, including blacks and Asians. Hispanic students average from 3.3% at Wilson to 31% at Roosevelt.
Portland residents identifying solely as Asian Americans account for 7.1% of the population; an additional 1.8% is partially of Asian heritage. Vietnamese Americans make up 2.2% of Portland's population, and make up the largest Asian ethnic group in the city, followed by Chinese (1.7%), Filipinos (0.6%), Japanese (0.5%), Koreans (0.4%), Laotians (0.4%), Hmong (0.2%), and Cambodians (0.1%). There is a small population of Yao people that live in Portland. Portland has two Chinatowns, with New Chinatown located along SE 82nd Avenue and bustling with Chinese supermarkets, Hong Kong style noodle houses, dim sum, and Vietnamese phở restaurants.
With about 12,000 Vietnamese residing in the city proper, Portland has one of the largest Vietnamese populations in America per capita.[not in citation given] According to statistics there are 21,000 Pacific Islanders in Portland, making up 4% of the population.
The city of Portland has the seventh highest LGBT population in the country, with 8.8% of residents identifying as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, and the metro area ranks fourth in the nation at 6.1%.
Portland's population has been and remains predominantly white. In 1940, whites were over 98% of the city's population. In 2009, Portland had the fifth-highest percentage of white residents among the 40 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. A 2007 survey of the 40 largest cities in the U.S. concluded that Portland's urban core has the highest percentage of white residents. Some scholars have noted the Pacific Northwest as a whole is "one of the last Caucasian bastions of the United States". While Portland's diversity was historically comparable to metro Seattle and Salt Lake City, those areas grew more diverse in the late 1990s and 2000s. Portland not only remains white, but migration to Portland is disproportionately white, at least partly because Portland is attractive to young college-educated Americans, a group which is overwhelmingly white.
The Oregon Territory banned African American settlement in 1849. In the 19th century, certain laws allowed the immigration of Chinese laborers but prohibited them from owning property or bringing their families. The early 1920s saw the rapid growth of the Ku Klux Klan, which became very influential in Oregon politics, culminating in the election of Walter M. Pierce as governor.
The largest influxes of minority populations occurred during World War II, as the African American population grew by a factor of 10 for wartime work. After World War II, the Vanport flood in 1948 displaced many African Americans. As they resettled, redlining directed the displaced workers from the wartime settlement to neighboring Albina. There and elsewhere in Portland, they experienced police hostility, lack of employment, and mortgage discrimination, leading to half the black population leaving after the war. Widespread housing discrimination continues to affect the racial landscape today.
In the 1980s and 1990s, radical skinhead groups flourished in Portland. In 1988, Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian immigrant, was killed by three skinheads. The response to his murder involved a community-driven series of rallies, campaigns, nonprofits and events designed to address Portland's racial history, leading to a city considered significantly more tolerant than in 1988 at Seraw's death.
During redevelopment of north Portland along the MAX Yellow Line, displacement of minorities occurred at a drastic rate. Out of 29 census tracts in north and northeast Portland, ten were majority nonwhite in 2000. By 2010, none of these tracts were majority nonwhite as gentrification drove the cost of living up. Today, Portland's African-American community is concentrated in the north and northeast section of the city, mainly in the King neighborhood.
|This section may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. The specific problem is: Laundry lists of bluelinks need to be pruned. (March 2014)|
Portland's location is beneficial for several industries. Relatively low energy cost, accessible resources, north–south and east–west Interstates, international air terminals, large marine shipping facilities, and both west coast intercontinental railroads are all economic advantages. The US consulting firm Mercer, in a 2009 assessment "conducted to help governments and major companies place employees on international assignments", ranked Portland 42nd worldwide in quality of living; the survey factored in political stability, personal freedom, sanitation, crime, housing, the natural environment, recreation, banking facilities, availability of consumer goods, education, and public services including transportation.
Since the 1990s, companies that have moved their world, North American, or U.S. headquarters to Portland include Adidas, Daimler Trucks, Vestas Wind Systems, KinderCare, Airbnb and athletic and footwear manufacturers Keen, Hi-Tec Sports, and Li-Ning. Companies no longer in Portland, some through acquisition, include Louisiana-Pacific, U.S. Bancorp, Integra Telecom and Banfield Pet Hospital.
Other Portland-based companies include film animation studio Laika; advertising firm Wieden+Kennedy; bankers Umpqua Holdings; insurers Cambia Health Solutions, StanCorp Financial, and Moda Health; law firms Stoel Rives and Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt; data tracking firm Rentrak; utility providers PacifiCorp, NW Natural and Portland General Electric; retailers Fred Meyer, New Seasons and Storables; restaurant chains The Original Pancake House, The Old Spaghetti Factory, McMenamins and McCormick & Schmick's; Franz Bakery; brewers Henry Weinhard's and Portland Brewing Company; Stumptown Coffee Roasters; apparel companies Jantzen and LaCrosse Footwear; Rodda Paint; Powell's Books; toolmaker Leatherman; and architectural firms ZGF Architects LLP and Boora Architects.
Computer components manufacturer Intel is the Portland area's largest employer, providing jobs for more than 15,000 people, with several campuses to the west of central Portland in the city of Hillsboro. The metro area is home to more than 1,200 technology companies. This high density of technology companies has led to the nickname Silicon Forest being used to describe the Portland area, a reference to the abundance of trees in the region and to the Silicon Valley region in Northern California. The Silicon Forest is home to facilities for hardware makers such as Tektronix, TriQuint Semiconductor, Lattice Semiconductor, Siltronic, ON Semiconductor, WaferTech, LaCie, Genentech, FLIR Systems, Astronics Max-Viz and others. The area also hosts facilities for software companies such as McAfee, Mentor Graphics, Jive Software, Extensis and Autodesk. Online startup companies, some supported by local seed funding organizations and business incubators, include Simple, COLOURlovers, Urban Airship and many others.
The Portland metro area has become a hub for athletic and footwear manufacturers. The area is home to the global, North American or US headquarters of Nike, Adidas, Columbia Sportswear, Li-Ning, Keen, and Hi-Tec Sports. Additional manufacturers that have opened offices in Portland include Under Armour, Merrell and Amer Sports.
Portland-based Precision Castparts is one of two Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Oregon, the other being Nike. Other manufacturing companies based in Portland include Daimler Trucks North America, which designs Freightliner and Western Star trucks and builds its Western Star trucks in the city, Zidell Companies and The Collins Companies. Leatherman Tools and Langlitz Leathers, considered – respectively – the industry leaders in multitools and motorcycle riding wear, are also based in Portland.
The steel industry's history in Portland predates World War II. By the 1950s, the steel industry became the city's number one industry for employment. The steel industry thrives in the region, with Schnitzer Steel Industries, a prominent steel company, shipping a record 1.15 billion tons of scrap metal to Asia during 2003. Other heavy industry companies include ESCO Corporation and Oregon Steel Mills.
Portland is the largest shipper of wheat in the United States, and is the second largest port for wheat in the world. The marine terminals alone handle over 13 million tons of cargo per year, and the port is home to one of the largest commercial dry docks in the country. The Port of Portland is the third largest export tonnage port on the west coast of the U.S., and being located about 80 miles (130 km) upriver, it is the largest fresh-water port.
Culture and contemporary life
Portland is often awarded "Greenest City in America" and "most green cities" designations. Popular Science awarded Portland the title of the Greenest City in America in 2008, and Grist magazine listed it in 2007 as the second greenest city in the world. The city is home to the Rose Bud and Thorn Pageant, started in 1975 and modeled after the Imperial Sovereign Rose Court of Oregon.
Entertainment and performing arts
Portland has a range of classical performing arts institutions which include the Oregon Ballet Theatre, Oregon Symphony, Portland Opera and the Portland Youth Philharmonic. It also has quite a few stages similar to New York's Off Broadway or Off-Off-Broadway such as Portland Center Stage, Artists Repertory Theatre, Miracle Theatre, Stark Raving Theatre, and Tears of Joy Theatre. Portland hosts the world's longest-running HP Lovecraft Film Festival at the Hollywood Theatre, founded in 1995.
Portland is home to famous bands such as The Kingsmen and Paul Revere & the Raiders, both famous for their association with the song "Louie Louie" (1963). Other widely known musical groups include The Dandy Warhols, Everclear, Pink Martini, Sleater-Kinney, The Shins, Blitzen Trapper, The Decemberists, and the late Elliott Smith. The city's now-demolished Satyricon nightclub is well known for being the place where the late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain met Hole frontwoman Courtney Love, a native of Portland. In recent years, a number of indie music bands from Portland have been touring nationally.
Over the years, a number of songs have been written about Portland.
Widely recognized animators who hail from Portland include Matt Groening (The Simpsons, Futurama) and Will Vinton (Will Vinton's A Claymation Christmas Celebration). Dan Steffan, cartoonist-illustrator for Heavy Metal and other magazines, lives in Portland. Portland is also home to Laika stop motion animation studio, creators of Oscar-nominated feature films Coraline (2009) and Paranorman (2012).
Filmmaker Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting (1997), Milk (2008)) is also a Portland native. Actors from Portland include Sam Elliott and Sally Struthers. Pop artist, Johnny Cash protégé and filmmaker Trevor Chowning resides in Portland.
Recent films set and shot in Portland include Gone, Extraordinary Measures, Body of Evidence, What the Bleep Do We Know!?, The Hunted, Twilight, Paranoid Park, Blue Like Jazz, Wendy and Lucy, Feast of Love, Untraceable, Drugstore Cowboy and My Own Private Idaho. Coraline and ParaNorman were both filmed in the Portland suburb of Hillsboro. An unusual feature of Portland entertainment is the large number of movie theaters serving beer, often with second-run or revival films. Notable examples of these "brew and view" theaters includes The Bagdad Theater and Pub and the Laurelhurst Theater, in operation since 1923.
The IFC sketch comedy series Portlandia, starring Fred Armisen and Sleater-Kinney member Carrie Brownstein, shoots on location in Portland, satirizing the city as a hub of liberal politics, organic food, alternative lifestyles and anti-establishment attitudes.
MTV's long-time running reality show, The Real World, was recently shot in Portland for the show's 29th season. The Real World: Portland premiered on MTV on March 27, 2013 and was filmed in a loft in the Pearl District. The show featured the cast members taking part in several Portland activities, such as hiking in the Columbia River Gorge. The cast members worked at a local frozen yogurt shop and the local Pizza Schmizza.
Authors from Portland include science fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin, famous for her Earthsea novels, Hainish Cycle and Orsinian Tales; Katherine Dunn author of the bestselling novel Geek Love; transgressional fiction novelist Chuck Palahniuk, best known for his award-winning novel Fight Club; best-selling Christian author Don Miller; Washington Institute Book Prize-winning author and journalist Michael J. Totten, and Beverly Cleary, author of the famous series of children's books featuring Henry Huggins, his dog Ribsy, Beatrice "Beezus" Quimby and Ramona Quimby. Klickitat Street, where Cleary's characters live, is an actual street in northeast Portland. Statues of the characters stand in nearby Grant Park.
Portland is home to a number of independent, small graphic novel publishers such as Dark Horse Comics and Oni Press, as well as comic book artists and writers such as Craig Thompson, Brian Michael Bendis, Greg Rucka, and Farel Dalrymple.
Portland is home to a diverse array of artists and arts organizations, and was named in 2006 by American Style magazine as the tenth best Big City Arts Destination in the U.S.
The Portland Art Museum owns the city's largest art collection and presents a variety of touring exhibitions each year. With the recent addition of the Modern and Contemporary Art wing it became one of the United States' twenty-five largest museums. Art galleries abound downtown and in the Pearl District, as well as in the Alberta Arts District and other neighborhoods throughout the city.
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is located on the east bank of the Willamette River across from downtown Portland, and contains a variety of hands-on exhibits covering the physical sciences, life science, earth science, technology, astronomy, and early childhood education. OMSI also has an ultra-large-screen movie theater and is home to the USS Blueback submarine, used in the film The Hunt for Red October.
Portlandia, a statue on the west side of the Portland Building, is the second-largest hammered-copper statue in the U.S. (after the Statue of Liberty). Portland's public art is managed by the Regional Arts & Culture Council.
Powell's City of Books claims to be the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world, occupying a multistory building on an entire city block in the Pearl District. In 2010, Powell's Technical Books was relocated to Powell's Books Bldg. 2 across the street from the flagship store.
Washington Park, in the West Hills, is home to some of Portland's most popular recreational sites, including the Oregon Zoo, the Portland Japanese Garden, the World Forestry Center, and the Hoyt Arboretum. Oaks Amusement Park, located in the Sellwood district of Southeast Portland, is the city's only amusement park, and is also one of the longest-running amusement parks in the country. It has been in operation since 1905, and was known as the "Coney Island of the Northwest" upon its opening.
Portland hosts a number of festivals throughout the year in celebration of beer and brewing, including the Oregon Brewers Festival. Held each summer during the last full weekend of July, it is the largest outdoor craft beer festival in North America with over 70,000 attendees in 2008. Other major beer festivals throughout the calendar year include the Spring Beer and Wine Festival in April, the North American Organic Brewers Festival in June, the Portland International Beerfest in July, and the Holiday Ale Festival in December.
Portland has many options for shopping. Some of the well known shopping areas are Downtown Portland, Nob Hill (NW 21st & 23rd Avenues), Pearl District, Hawthorne Avenue for vintage apparel, and the Lloyd District. Major department stores in downtown include Nordstrom, Macy's, and H&M. The major malls in the metropolitan area are Lloyd Center, Washington Square, Clackamas Town Center, Westfield Vancouver, Bridgeport Village and Pioneer Place. Another destination is the Portland Saturday Market, a town bazaar-like environment where many kinds of goods are sold from Artisan Crafts to Tibetan Imports, reflecting the many cultures of Portland. The Saturday Market is open every weekend from March through Christmas.
Portland has the most total breweries and independent microbreweries of any city in the world, with 58 active breweries within city limits and 70+ within the surrounding metro area. The city receives frequent acclaim as the best beer city in the United States and is consistently ranked as one of the top-5 beer destinations in the world. Portland has played a prominent role in the microbrewery revolution in the U.S. and is nicknamed "Beertown" and "Beervana" as a result.  Portland's modern microbrewery boom dates to the 1980s when Oregon state law was changed to allow the consumption of beer on brewery premises. Brewery innovation is further supported by the abundance of beer ingredients produced locally, including two-row barley, over a dozen varieties of local Cascade hops, as well as pure mountain water from the Bull Run Watershed.
The beer culture is partially responsible for CNBC naming Portland the best city for happy hour in the U.S. The McMenamin brothers alone have over thirty brewpubs, distilleries, and wineries scattered throughout the metropolitan area, several in renovated cinemas and other historically significant buildings otherwise destined for demolition. Other notable Portland brewers include Widmer Brothers, BridgePort, Hair of the Dog, and Hopworks Urban Brewery. In 1999, author Michael "Beerhunter" Jackson called Portland a candidate for the beer capital of the world because the city boasted more breweries than Cologne, Germany.
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Portland has been named the best city in the world for street food by several publications, including the U.S. News & World Report and CNN. Food carts are extremely popular within the city, with over 600 licensed carts, making Portland one of the most robust street food scenes in North America.
Portland has an emerging restaurant scene nationally, and among three nominees, was recognized by the Food Network Awards as their "Delicious Destination of the Year: A rising city with a fast-growing food scene" for 2007. In 2010, The Washington Post called Portland "one of the best places in the country to dine." Travel + Leisure ranked Portland's food and bar scene #5 in the nation in 2012. The city is also known for being among the most vegetarian-friendly cities in America.
In addition to its reputation as a craft beer capital, Portland is also known as a leader in specialty coffee. The city is home to Stumptown Coffee Roasters as well as dozens of other micro-roasteries and cafes.
Portland is home to two major league sports franchises: the Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA and the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer. Despite being the 19th most populated metro area in the United States, Portland contains only one franchise from the NFL, NBA, NHL, or MLB, making it America's most populated metro area with that distinction. The city has been frequently rumored to receive an additional franchise although efforts to acquire a team have failed due to stadium funding issues.
Portland sports fans are characterized by their passionate support. The Trail Blazers won the city's only championship in 1977 and sold old every home game between 1977 and 1995, a span of 814 consecutive games, the second longest streak in American sports history. The Timbers joined MLS in 2011 and have sold out every home match since joining the league, a streak that has now reached 70+ matches. The Timbers season ticket waiting list has reached 10,000+, the longest waiting list in MLS.
Two rival universities exist within Portland city limits: the University of Portland Pilots and the Portland State University Vikings, both of whom field teams in popular spectator sports including soccer, baseball, basketball, and football. Additionally, the University of Oregon Ducks and the Oregon State University Beavers both receive substantial attention and support from many Portland residents, despite their campuses being located 110 and 84 miles from the city, respectively.
Running is a popular activity in Portland and every year the city hosts the Portland Marathon as well as parts of the Hood to Coast Relay, the world's largest long-distance relay race (by number of participants). Portland serves as the center to two elite running groups, the Nike Oregon Project and Oregon Track Club, and is the current residence of several elite runners including British 2012 Olympic 10,000m and 5,000m champion Mo Farah, American record holder at 10,000m Galen Rupp, and 2008 American Olympic bronze medalist at 10,000m Shalane Flanagan.
Portland also has one of the most active bicycle scenes in the United States and has become an elite bicycle racing destination. The Oregon Bicycle Racing Association supports hundreds of official bicycling events every year. Weekly events at Alpenrose Velodrome and Portland International Raceway allow for racing nearly every night of the week from March through September. Cyclocross races, such as the Cross Crusade, can attract over 1,000 riders and spectators.
|Portland Thorns||Women's soccer||National Women's Soccer League||1 (2013)||Providence Park||2012||13,320|
|Portland Thunder||Arena football||Arena Football League||—||Moda Center||2013||8,586|
|Portland Timbers||Soccer||Major League Soccer||—||Providence Park||2009||20,806|
|Portland Timbers U23s||Soccer||USL Premier Development League||1 (2010)||Providence Park||2008||—|
|Portland Trail Blazers||Basketball||National Basketball Association||1 (1976–77)||Moda Center||1970||19,829|
|Portland Winterhawks||Ice hockey||Western Hockey League||2 (1982–83, 1997–98)||Moda Center||1976||6,537|
Parks and gardens
Parks and greenspace planning date back to John Charles Olmsted's 1903 Report to the Portland Park Board. In 1995, voters in the Portland metropolitan region passed a regional bond measure to acquire valuable natural areas for fish, wildlife, and people. Ten years later, more than 8,100 acres (33 km2) of ecologically valuable natural areas had been purchased and permanently protected from development.
Portland is one of only four cities in the U.S. with extinct volcanoes within its boundaries (along with Pilot Butte in Bend, Oregon, Jackson Volcano in Jackson, Mississippi, and Diamond Head in Honolulu, Hawaii). Mount Tabor Park is known for its scenic views and historic reservoirs.
Forest Park is the largest wilderness park within city limits in the United States, covering more than 5,000 acres (2,023 ha). Portland is also home to Mill Ends Park, the world's smallest park (a two-foot-diameter circle, the park's area is only about 0.3 m2). Washington Park is just west of downtown, and is home to the Oregon Zoo, the Portland Japanese Garden, and the International Rose Test Garden.
Tom McCall Waterfront Park runs along the west bank of the Willamette for the length of downtown. The 37-acre (15 ha) park was built in 1974 after Harbor Drive was removed and now hosts large events throughout the year. Portland's downtown features two groups of contiguous city blocks dedicated for park space: the North and South Park Blocks.
Tryon Creek State Natural Area is one of three Oregon State Parks in Portland and the most popular; its creek has a run of steelhead. The other two State Parks are Willamette Stone State Heritage Site located in the West Hills and the Government Island State Recreation Area located in the Columbia River near Portland International Airport.
Portland's city park system has been proclaimed one of the best in America. In its 2013 ParkScore ranking, The Trust for Public Land reported that Portland had the 7th best park system among the 50 most populous U.S. cities. ParkScore ranks city park systems by a formula that analyzes the city's median park size, park acres as percent of city area, the percent of city residents within a half-mile of a park, spending of park services per resident, and the number of playgrounds per 10,000 residents. The survey revealed that 80% of Portlanders live within a half-mile to a park and over 16% of Portland's city area is parkland.
Law and government
The city of Portland is governed by the Portland City Council, which includes the Mayor, four Commissioners, and an auditor. Each is elected citywide to serve a four-year term. The auditor provides checks and balances in the commission form of government and accountability for the use of public resources. In addition, the auditor provides access to information and reports on various matters of city government.
The city's Office of Neighborhood Involvement serves as a conduit between city government and Portland's 95 officially recognized neighborhoods. Each neighborhood is represented by a volunteer-based neighborhood association which serves as a liaison between residents of the neighborhood and the city government. The city provides funding to neighborhood associations through seven district coalitions, each of which is a geographical grouping of several neighborhood associations. Most (but not all) neighborhood associations belong to one of these district coalitions.
Portland and its surrounding metropolitan area are served by Metro, the United States' only directly elected metropolitan planning organization. Metro's charter gives it responsibility for land use and transportation planning, solid waste management, and map development. Metro also owns and operates the Oregon Convention Center, Oregon Zoo, Portland Center for the Performing Arts, and Portland Metropolitan Exposition Center.
Portland strongly favors the Democratic Party. Although local elections are nonpartisan, most of the city's elected officials are known to be Democrats.
Portland's delegation to the Oregon Legislative Assembly is entirely Democratic. In the current 76th Oregon Legislative Assembly, which first convened in 2011, four state Senators represent Portland in the state Senate: Diane Rosenbaum (District 21), Chip Shields (District 22), Jackie Dingfelder (District 23), and Rod Monroe (District 24). Portland sends six Representatives to the state House of Representatives: Jules Bailey (District 42), Lew Frederick (District 43), Tina Kotek (District 44), Michael Dembrow (District 45), Alissa Keny-Guyer (District 46), and Jefferson Smith (District 47).
Federally, Portland is split among three congressional districts. Most of the city is in the 3rd District, represented by Earl Blumenauer, who served on the city council from 1986 until his election to Congress in 1996. Most of the city west of the Willamette River is part of the 1st District, represented by Suzanne Bonamici. A small portion of southwestern Portland is in the 5th District, represented by Kurt Schrader. All three are Democrats; a Republican has not represented a significant portion of Portland in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1975. Both of Oregon's senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, are from Portland and are also both Democrats.
In the 2008 presidential election, Democratic candidate Barack Obama easily carried Portland, winning 245,464 votes from city residents to 50,614 for his Republican rival, John McCain. In the 2012 presidential election, Democratic candidate Barack Obama again easily carried Portland, winning 256,925 votes from Multnomah county residents to 70,958 for his Republican rival, Mitt Romney.
Sam Adams, the former mayor of Portland, became the city's first openly gay mayor in 2009. In 2004, 59.7 percent of Multnomah County voters cast ballots against Oregon Ballot Measure 36, which amended the Oregon Constitution to prohibit recognition of same-sex marriages. The measure passed with 56.6% of the statewide vote. Multnomah County is one of two counties where a majority voted against the initiative; the other is Benton County, which includes Corvallis, home of Oregon State University.
Planning and development
The city consulted with urban planners as far back as 1903. Development of Washington Park and one of the country's finest greenways, the 40 Mile Loop, which interconnects many of the city's parks, began.
Portland is often cited as an example of a city with strong land use planning controls. This is largely the result of statewide land conservation policies adopted in 1973 under Governor Tom McCall, in particular the requirement for an urban growth boundary (UGB) for every city and metropolitan area. The opposite extreme, a city with few or no controls, is typically illustrated by Houston, Texas.
Portland's urban growth boundary, adopted in 1979, separates urban areas (where high-density development is encouraged and focused) from traditional farm land (where restrictions on non-agricultural development are very strict). This was atypical in an era when automobile use led many areas to neglect their core cities in favor of development along interstate highways, in suburbs, and satellite cities.
The original state rules included a provision for expanding urban growth boundaries, but critics felt this wasn't being accomplished. In 1995, the State passed a law requiring cities to expand UGBs to provide enough undeveloped land for a 20-year supply of future housing at projected growth levels.
Oregon's 1973 "urban growth boundary" law limits the boundaries for large-scale development in each metropolitan area in Oregon. This limits access to utilities such as sewage, water and telecommunications, as well as coverage by fire, police and schools. Originally this law mandated that the city must maintain enough land within the boundary to provide an estimated 20 years of growth; however, in 2007 the legislature altered the law to require the maintenance of an estimated 50 years of growth within the boundary, as well as the protection of accompanying farm and rural lands.
The growth boundary, along with efforts of the PDC to create economic development zones, has led to the development of a large portion of downtown, a large number of mid- and high-rise developments, and an overall increase in housing and business density.
The Portland Development Commission is a semi-public agency that plays a major role in downtown development; it was created by city voters in 1958 to serve as the city's urban renewal agency. It provides housing and economic development programs within the city, and works behind the scenes with major local developers to create large projects.
In the early 1960s, the PDC led the razing of a large Italian-Jewish neighborhood downtown, bounded roughly by I-405, the Willamette River, 4th Avenue and Market street.
Mayor Neil Goldschmidt took office in 1972 as a proponent of bringing housing and the associated vitality back to the downtown area, which was seen as emptying out after 5 pm. The effort has had dramatic effects in the 30 years since, with many thousands of new housing units clustered in three areas: north of Portland State University (between I-405, SW Broadway, and SW Taylor St.); the RiverPlace development along the waterfront under the Marquam (I-5) bridge; and most notably in the Pearl District (between I-405, Burnside St., NW Northrup St., and NW 9th Ave.).
The Urban Greenspaces Institute, housed in Portland State University Geography Department's Center for Mapping Research, promotes better integration of the built and natural environments. The institute works on urban park, trail, and natural areas planning issues, both at the local and regional levels.
In October 2009, the Portland City Council unanimously adopted a climate action plan that will cut the city's greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.
According to Grist magazine, Portland is the second most eco-friendly or "green" city in the world trailing only Reykjavík, Iceland. In 2010, Move, Inc. placed Portland in its "top 10 greenest cities" list.
As of 2012 Portland was the largest city in the United States that did not add fluoride to its public water supply, and fluoridation has historically been a subject of controversy in the city. Portland voters have four times voted against fluoridation, in 1956, 1962, 1980 (repealing a 1978 vote in favor), and 2013. Most recently, in 2012 the city council, responding to advocacy from public health organizations and others, voted unanimously to begin fluoridation by 2014. Fluoridation opponents forced a public vote on the issue, and on May 21, 2013, city voters again rejected fluoridation.
Because of strong free speech protections of the Oregon Constitution upheld by the Oregon Supreme Court in State v. Henry, 732 P.2d 9 (Or. 1987), which specifically found that full nudity and lap dances in strip clubs are protected speech, Portland is widely considered to have more strip clubs per capita than Las Vegas or San Francisco. Portland has been titled as "Pornland" for its strip clubs, erotic massage parlors, and high rate of child sex trafficking. The term was heavily used in 2010, but the term was referenced by Chuck Palahniuk in 2003.
A judge dismissed charges against a nude bicyclist in November 2008 on the grounds that the city's annual World Naked Bike Ride was "a well-established tradition" in Portland. The first instance occurred sometime around 1999 and had less than 7 participants; at the time it was jokingly referred to as "critical ass" (a play on Critical Mass bike rides). Participants would 'purchase' a bike from a local chain department store and then return it the next morning. It used to take place at midnight and lasted until the participants were stopped/arrested. The prankster aspect of it came in when the arresting officers didn't want to touch the naked cyclists in order to arrest them. The 2009 Naked Bike Ride occurred without significant incident. City police managed traffic intersections. There were an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 participants. In June 2010, Portland's World Naked Bike Ride had an estimated 13,000 people.
A state law prohibiting publicly insulting a person in a way likely to provoke a violent response was tested in Portland and struck down unanimously by the State Supreme Court as violating protected free speech and being overly broad.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Report in 2009, Portland ranked 53rd in violent crime out of the top 75 U.S. cities with a population greater than 250,000. The murder rate in Portland from 2005 to 2009 averaged 3.9 murders per 100,000 people per year, which was lower than the national average. For crimes other than murder, Portland is generally somewhat higher than the national average. According to the Portland Police, Killingsworth St., 82nd Ave., and the St. Johns Woods Apartments are the most dangerous areas of the city. In October 2009, Forbes magazine rated Portland as the third safest city in America.
Portland is served by six public school districts and many private schools. Portland Public Schools is the largest school district.
For public universities, Portland is home to Portland State University, which has been named among the top fifteen percentile of American universities by The Princeton Review for undergraduate education, and has been internationally recognized for its degrees in Masters of Business Administration and urban planning. It is also home to Oregon Health & Science University, as well as Portland Community College. The city is also home to private universities such as the University of Portland, Reed College, National College of Natural Medicine, and Lewis & Clark College.
Portland museums offer a variety of educational programs. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) includes many hands-on activities for adults and children. It consists of five main halls, most of which consist of smaller laboratories: Earth Science Hall, Life Science Hall, Turbine Hall, Science Playground, and Featured Exhibit Hall. The Featured Exhibit Hall has a new exhibit every few months. The laboratories are Chemistry, Physics, Technology, Life, Paleontology, and Watershed. OMSI has many other unique attractions, such as the USS Blueback (SS-581), the OMNIMAX Dome Theater, and OMSI's Kendall Planetarium. The USS Blueback was the last non-nuclear fast attack submarine to join the US Navy and OMSI offers daily tours.
The OMNIMAX Dome Theater is a variant of the IMAX motion picture format, where the movie is projected onto a domed projection surface. The projection surface at OMSI's OMNIMAX Dome Theater is 6,532 sq ft (606.8 m2). The OMNIMAX Theater uses the largest frame in the motion picture industry and the frames are ten times the size of the standard 35mm film. OMSI's Kendall Planetarium is the largest and most technologically advanced planetarium in the Pacific Northwest. OMSI is located at 1945 SE Water Ave. OMSI is built right up next to the river and is also conveniently located near the entrance to the Springwater Corridor and Eastbank Esplanade pedestrian and bike trails.
The Portland Art Museum owns the city's largest art collection and presents a variety of touring exhibitions each year and with the recent addition of the Modern and Contemporary Art wing it became one of the United States' 25 largest museums.
The Oregon History Museum was founded in 1898. The Oregon History Museum has a variety of books, film, pictures, artifacts, and maps dating back throughout Oregon's history. The Oregon History Museum has one of the most extensive collections of state history materials in the USA.
The Portland Children's Museum is a museum specifically geared for early childhood development. This museum has many topics, and many of their exhibits rotate, to keep the information fresh. The Portland Children's Museum also supports a small charter school for elementary children.
Smaller local newspapers, distributed free of charge in newspaper boxes and at venues around the city, include the Portland Tribune (general-interest paper published on Tuesdays and Thursdays), Willamette Week (general-interest alternative weekly published on Wednesdays), The Portland Mercury (another alt-weekly, targeted at younger urban readers published on Thursdays), The Asian Reporter (a weekly covering Asian news, both international and local) and The Skanner (a weekly African-American newspaper covering both local and national news).
Portland Indymedia is one of the oldest and largest Independent Media Centers. The Portland Alliance, a largely anti-authoritarian progressive monthly, is the largest radical print paper in the city. Just Out, published in Portland twice monthly until the end of 2011, was the region's foremost LGBT publication. A biweekly paper, Street Roots, is also sold within the city by members of the homeless community.
The Portland Business Journal, a weekly, covers business-related news, as does The Daily Journal of Commerce. Portland Monthly is a monthly news and culture magazine. The Bee, over 105 years old, is another neighborhood newspaper serving the inner southeast neighborhoods.
Portland is well served by television and radio.
The Portland metropolitan area has transportation services common to major US cities, though Oregon's emphasis on proactive land-use planning and transit-oriented development within the urban growth boundary means that commuters have multiple well-developed options. In 2012, Travel + Leisure magazine rated Portland as the #1 most pedestrian and transit-friendly city in the United States. A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked Portland 12th most walkable of fifty largest US cities.
In 2008, 12.6% of all commutes in Portland were on public transit. TriMet operates most of the region's buses and the MAX (short for Metropolitan Area Express) light rail system, which connects the city and suburbs. The 1986-opened MAX system has expanded to four lines, and a fifth (to Milwaukie) is under construction. WES Commuter Rail opened in February 2009 in Portland's western suburbs, linking Beaverton and Wilsonville.
The city-owned Portland Streetcar serves two routes in the Central City – downtown and adjacent districts. The first line, which opened in 2001 and was extended in 2005–2007, operates from the South Waterfront District through Portland State University and north through the West End of downtown, to shopping areas and dense residential districts north and northwest of downtown. The second line opened in 2012 and added 3.3 miles (5.3 km) of tracks on the east side of the Willamette River and across the Broadway Bridge to a connection with the original line. The east-side line will complete a loop to the tracks on the west side of the river once the new Tilikum Crossing is completed in 2015, and on that basis has already been named the Central Loop line.
Fifth and Sixth avenues within downtown comprise the Portland Transit Mall, two streets devoted primarily to bus and light rail traffic with limited automobile access. Opened in 1977 for buses, the transit mall was renovated and rebuilt in 2007–09, with light rail added. Starting in 1975 and lasting nearly four decades, all transit service within downtown Portland was free, the area being known by TriMet as Fareless Square, but a need for deep budget cuts prompted the agency to limit free rides to rail service only in 2010, and subsequently to discontinue the fare-free zone entirely in 2012.
I-5 connects Portland with the Willamette Valley, Southern Oregon, and California to the south and with Washington to the north. I-405 forms a loop with I-5 around the central downtown area of the city and I-205 is a loop freeway route on the east side which connects to the Portland International Airport. US 26 supports commuting within the metro area and continues to the Pacific Ocean westward and Mount Hood and Central Oregon eastward. US 30 has a main, bypass, and business route through the city extending to Astoria to the west; through Gresham, Oregon, and the eastern exurbs, and connects to I-84, traveling towards Boise, Idaho. Portland ranks 13th in traffic congestion of all American cities, and is 16th among all North American cities.
Portland's main airport is Portland International Airport, located about 20 minutes by car (40 minutes by MAX) northeast of downtown. In addition Portland is home to Oregon's only public use heliport, the Portland Downtown Heliport. Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Portland at Union Station on three routes. Long-haul train routes include the Coast Starlight (with service from Los Angeles to Seattle) and the Empire Builder (with service from Portland to Chicago.) The Amtrak Cascades commuter trains operate between Vancouver, British Columbia and Eugene, Oregon, and serve Portland several times daily. The city's first airport was the Swan Island Municipal Airport which was closed in the 1940s.
Portland is the only city in the United States that owns operating mainline steam locomotives, donated to the city in 1958 by the railroads that ran them. Spokane, Portland & Seattle 700 and the world-famous Southern Pacific 4449 can be seen several times a year pulling a special excursion train, either locally or on an extended trip. The "Holiday Express", pulled over the tracks of the Oregon Pacific Railroad on weekends in December, has become a Portland tradition over its seven years running. These trains and others are operated by volunteers of the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation, an amalgamation of rail preservation groups which collaborated on the finance and construction of the Oregon Rail Heritage Center, a permanent and publicly accessible home for the locomotives, which opened in 2012 adjacent to OMSI.
In Portland, cycling is a significant mode of transportation. As the city has been particularly supportive of urban bicycling it now ranks highly among the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world. Approximately 8% of commuters bike to work, the highest proportion of any major U.S. city and about 10 times the national average. To further encourage commuting by bike, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance sponsors an annual Bicycle Commute Challenge, in which thousands compete for prizes and recognition based on the length and frequency of their commutes. For its achievements in promoting cycling as an everyday means of transportation, Portland has been recognized by the League of American Bicyclists and other cycling organizations for its network of on-street bicycling facilities and other bicycle-friendly services, being one of only three US cities to have earned a Platinum-level rating.
Car sharing through Zipcar, Car2Go, Getaround, and Uhaul Car Share is available to residents of the city and some inner suburbs. Portland has a commuter aerial cableway, the Portland Aerial Tram, which connects the South Waterfront district on the Willamette River to the Oregon Health & Science University campus on Marquam Hill above.
Portland has five indoor skateparks and is home to historically significant Burnside Skatepark. Gabriel Skatepark is the most recent, which opened on July 12, 2008. Another fourteen are in the works. The Wall Street Journal stated Portland "may be the most skateboard-friendly town in America."
- Sapporo, Japan (November 17, 1959),
- Guadalajara, Mexico (September 23, 1983),
- Ashkelon, Israel (October 13, 1987),
- Ulsan, South Korea (November 20, 1987),
- Suzhou, Jiangsu, People's Republic of China (June 7, 1988),
- Khabarovsk, Russia (June 10, 1988),
- Kaohsiung, Taiwan (October 11, 1988),
- Mutare, Zimbabwe (December 18, 1991),
- Bologna, Italy (June 5, 2003),
- Utrecht, Netherlands
1897 topographic map of Portland shows streets, railroads, and significant differences in the Columbia Slough.
A map of the 1905 Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition which is credited with boosting the Portland population and economy.
A photochrom print of Portland, circa 1901
Downtown Portland with Mt. Hood in the background
- 1972 Portland–Vancouver tornado
- Best places in the US to retire
- List of hospitals in Portland, Oregon
- List of sports venues in Portland, Oregon
- Roses in Portland, Oregon
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