Nicknames of Portland, Oregon
There are several well-known and commonly used nicknames referring to Portland, Oregon.
City of Roses
The official, and also most common, nickname for Portland is The City of Roses or Rose City. The first known reference to Portland as "The City of Roses" was made by visitors to an 1888 Episcopal Church convention.
In 1889, the Portland Rose Society was founded, and promoted the planting of 20 miles (32 km) of Portland's streets with roses in advance of the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition. The nickname grew in popularity after the exposition, where Mayor Harry Lane suggested that the city needed a "festival of roses."
The nickname is often attributed to Leo Samuel, who founded the Oregon Life Insurance Company in 1906 (known today as Standard Insurance Company). Samuel, who moved to Portland in 1871, grew roses outside his home. He placed a pair of shears outside his garden so people could snip a rose from his garden to take for themselves. This encouraged other people and businesses to plant their own roses outside their homes and business. Today, roses are still planted outside the Standard Insurance Company's home office building in downtown Portland.
The first Portland Rose Festival was held in 1907, and remains the city's major annual festival more than a century later. In 1917, the International Rose Test Garden was established, and it now features more than 7,000 rose plants of 550 varieties. It is the oldest continuously operating public rose test garden in the United States.
The "City of Roses" nickname inspired the name for the four-year-old female Asian elephant who arrived in 1953, Rosy. The first elephant ever to live in Oregon, she remained the matriarch of the Oregon Zoo's herd and gave birth to six calves before her death in 1993. On August 31, 1994, her daughter Me-Tu became the first elephant in North America to have twins. On August 23, 2008, her granddaughter Rose-Tu (the surviving twin) gave birth to Samudra, the first third-generation elephant born in the United States.
Stumptown was coined in a period of phenomenal growth in Portland after 1847. The city was growing so rapidly that the stumps of trees were left behind until manpower could be spared to remove them. In some areas the stumps remained for so long that locals whitewashed them to make them more visible. They also used them to cross the street without sinking into the mud. Captain John C. Ainsworth commented that there were "more stumps than trees" in Portland in the early 1850s.
The nickname Rip City is usually used in the context of the city's NBA team, the Portland Trail Blazers. The term was coined by the team's play-by-play announcer Bill Schonely during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers on February 18, 1971, the Blazers' first season. In the days prior to the three-point field goal, Blazers guard Jim Barnett took an ill-advised long distance shot that none the less went in, giving the new team hope for a victory against the powerful Lakers. Excited, Schonely exclaimed "Rip City! All right!" Schonely admits that he has no idea how he came up with the expression, but it became synonymous with the team and the city of Portland.
The city of Portland is nicknamed PDX after the International Air Transport Association airport code for the Portland International Airport which is within the city limits. For example, the domain name for Portland State University of pdx.edu was chosen in 1987, since psu.edu had already been given to Pennsylvania State University in the previous year. As well, many Portland businesses include pdx in their web sites' domain names to denote their Portland location.
Ordinary or Obscure Nicknames
City of Churches
Portland was once compared with Brooklyn, New York, whose official nickname was "city of churches", by the Sunday Oregonian as seen on the front page of its November 12th, 1899 issue of which a reproduction can be seen on the outside of the Oregonian's building. It reads, "On the Pacific coast, Portland occupies the same relative position as that of Brooklyn on the Atlantic seaboard and might well be called "a city of churches"...Wherever the stranger wanders here he will see steeples pointing heavenward, in the very midst of one of the most pleasing landscapes in all the world, embracing, as it does the comprehensive view of river and vale, hill and mountain, farm and fruit orchard, city and country--all combined."
Forbidden City of the West
Portland has been referred to as the Forbidden City of the West, an allusion to Beijing's Forbidden City. The city received the nickname due to its history of Shanghaiing and the legends that such actions took place in the city's Shanghai tunnels.
Bridge City or Bridgetown
- Roses in Portland, Oregon
- International Rose Test Garden
- List of city nicknames in the United States
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- Beervana opb.org
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- McCall, William (August 19, 2003). "'Little Beirut' nickname has stuck". The Oregonian.
- Mellema, Valerie (March 2008). "Portland Underground: Shanghai Tunnels – Legends of America". Legends of America. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
- Hagestedt, Andre (April 7, 2009). "The Missing Oregon Coast: Waves After Dark". Retrieved April 30, 2009.
I’m used to seeing that hint of dawn back in P-town, with my wretched habit of playing video games until 6 a.m
- Griffin, Anna (April 24, 2007). "Free bikes failed, so P-town thinks rentals". The Oregonian. Retrieved April 30, 2009.
The city of Portland soon could become the Hertz, Avis and Enterprise of the bicycling business
- Nkrumah, Wade (March 31, 2005). "P-town grinds toward skate park legitimacy". The Oregonian. Retrieved April 30, 2009.
Skateboarders are abuzz over plans for Portland's first city-funded skate parks
- "Portland's nicknames, explained". Oregon Live. Retrieved August 22, 2017.