Portland, Oregon

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Portland, Oregon
City of Portland
Portland and Mt. Hood from Pittock Mansion.jpg
Portland, OR -- St. John's Bridge, view of east tower from southwest.jpg
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Portland Aerial Tram, Portland, Oregon (2013) - 2.JPG
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"Rose City"; "Stumptown"; "PDX"; see Nicknames of Portland, Oregon for a complete list.
Interactive map outlining Portland
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Location within Oregon
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Location within the United States
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Location within North America
Coordinates: 45°31′12″N122°40′55″W / 45.52000°N 122.68194°W / 45.52000; -122.68194 Coordinates: 45°31′12″N122°40′55″W / 45.52000°N 122.68194°W / 45.52000; -122.68194
Country United States
State Oregon
Counties Multnomah
Bioregion Cascadia
Founded 1845
Incorporated February 8, 1851
Named for Portland, Maine [1]
  Type Commission
  Mayor Ted Wheeler [2] (D)
  AuditorMary Hull Caballero
   City 145 sq mi (376 km2)
  Land133 sq mi (346 km2)
  Water12 sq mi (30 km2)
50 ft (15.2 m)
Highest elevation
1,188 ft (362 m)
Lowest elevation0.62 ft (0.19 m)
 (2010) [6]
   City 583,776
(2018) [7]
  RankUS: 25th
  Density4,504.2/sq mi (1,737/km2)
1,849,898 (US: 24th)
2,478,810 (US: 25th)
3,239,335 (US: 19th)
Demonym(s) Portlander
Time zone UTC−08:00 (PST)
  Summer (DST) UTC−07:00 (PDT)
ZIP Codes
Area codes 503 and 971
FIPS code 41-59000
GNIS feature ID1136645 [8]
Website PortlandOregon.gov

Portland ( /ˈpɔːrtlənd/ ; PAWRT-luh-nd), officially the City of Portland, is the largest and most populous city in the U.S. state of Oregon and the seat of Multnomah County. It is a major port in the Willamette Valley region of the Pacific Northwest, at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. As of 2018, Portland had an estimated population of 653,115, [7] making it the 25th most populated city in the United States, and the second-most populous in the Pacific Northwest. [9] Approximately 2.4 million people live in the Portland metropolitan statistical area (MSA), making it the 25th most populous in the United States. Its combined statistical area (CSA) ranks 19th-largest with a population of around 3.2 million. Approximately 60% of Oregon's population resides within the Portland metropolitan area. [lower-alpha 1]

U.S. state constituent political entity of the United States

In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders.

Oregon state of the United States of America

Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region on the West Coast of the United States. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon's northern boundary with Washington, while the Snake River delineates much of its eastern boundary with Idaho. The parallel 42° north delineates the southern boundary with California and Nevada.


Named after Portland, Maine, [10] the Oregon settlement began to be populated in the 1830s near the end of the Oregon Trail. Its water access provided convenient transportation of goods, and the timber industry was a major force in the city's early economy. At the turn of the 20th century, the city had a reputation as one of the most dangerous port cities in the world, a hub for organized crime and racketeering. After the city's economy experienced an industrial boom during World War II, its hard-edged reputation began to dissipate. Beginning in the 1960s, [11] Portland became noted for its growing progressive political values, earning it a reputation as a bastion of counterculture. [12]

Portland, Maine Largest city in Maine, United States

Portland is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Maine and the seat of Cumberland County. Portland's population was 67,067 as of 2017. The Greater Portland metropolitan area is home to over half a million people, more than one-third of Maine's total population, making it the most populous metropolitan area in northern New England. Portland's economy relies mostly on the service sector and tourism. The Old Port district is known for its 19th-century architecture and nightlife. Marine industry still plays an important role in the city's economy, with an active waterfront that supports fishing and commercial shipping. The Port of Portland is the largest tonnage seaport in New England.

Oregon Trail Historic route to and through the American Old West

The Oregon Trail is a 2,170-mile (3,490 km) historic East–West, large-wheeled wagon route and emigrant trail in the United States that connected the Missouri River to valleys in Oregon. The eastern part of the Oregon Trail spanned part of the future state of Kansas, and nearly all of what are now the states of Nebraska and Wyoming. The western half of the trail spanned most of the future states of Idaho and Oregon.

World War II 1939–1945, between Axis and Allies

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from more than 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

The city operates with a 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. [13] The city government is notable for its land-use planning and investment in public transportation. [14] Portland is frequently recognized as one of the world's most environmentally conscious cities because of its high walkability, large community of bicyclists, farm-to-table dining, expansive network of public transportation options, and over 10,000 acres (4,000 hectares) of public parks. As a result, Portland consistently ranks highly in quality of life in the United States. [15] Its climate is marked by warm, dry summers and cool, rainy winters. This climate is ideal for growing roses, and Portland has been called the "City of Roses" for over a century. [16]

City commission government is a form of local government in the United States. In a city commission government, voters elect a small commission, typically of five to seven members, on a plurality-at-large voting basis.

Metro (Oregon regional government) regional government agency and metropolitan planning organization in the Oregon portion of the Portland metropolitan area

Metro is the regional government for the Oregon portion of the Portland metropolitan area. It is the only directly elected regional government and metropolitan planning organization in the United States. Metro is responsible for managing the Portland region's solid waste system, coordinating the growth of the cities in the region, managing a regional parks and natural areas system, and overseeing the Oregon Zoo, Oregon Convention Center, Portland's Centers for the Arts, and the Portland Expo Center. It also administers the Regional Illegal Dumping Patrol or RID Patrol which is tasked with cleaning up illegal dumping and it is the designated point of contact for citizens to report illegal dumping in the Portland metro area.

Metropolitan planning organization federally-mandated and -funded transportation policy-making organization in the USA that is made up of representatives from local government and governmental transportation authorities, ensuring regional cooperation in transportation planning

A metropolitan planning organization (MPO) is a federally mandated and federally funded transportation policy-making organization in the United States that is made up of representatives from local government and governmental transportation authorities. They were created to ensure regional cooperation in transportation planning. MPOs were introduced by the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962, which required the formation of an MPO for any urbanized area (UZA) with a population greater than 50,000. Federal funding for transportation projects and programs are channeled through this planning process. Congress created MPOs in order to ensure that existing and future expenditures of governmental funds for transportation projects and programs are based on a continuing, cooperative, and comprehensive (“3‑C”) planning process. Statewide and metropolitan transportation planning processes are governed by federal law. Transparency through public access to participation in the planning process and electronic publication of plans now is required by federal law. As of 2015, there are 408 MPOs in the United States.


Pre-history and natives

During the prehistoric period, the land that would become Portland was flooded after the collapse of glacial dams from Lake Missoula, in what would later become Montana. These massive floods occurred during the last ice age and filled the Willamette Valley with 300 to 400 feet (91 to 122 m) of water. [17]

Lake Missoula Prehistoric proglacial lake in Western Montana

Lake Missoula was a prehistoric proglacial lake in western Montana that existed periodically at the end of the last ice age between 15,000 and 13,000 years ago. The lake measured about 7,770 square kilometres (3,000 sq mi) and contained about 2,100 cubic kilometres (500 cu mi) of water, half the volume of Lake Michigan.

Montana U.S. state in the United States

Montana is a state in the Northwestern United States. Montana has several nicknames, although none are official, including "Big Sky Country" and "The Treasure State", and slogans that include "Land of the Shining Mountains" and more recently "The Last Best Place".

Ice age Period of long-term reduction in temperature of Earths surface and atmosphere

An ice age is a long period of reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental and polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers. Earth's climate alternates between ice ages and greenhouse periods, during which there are no glaciers on the planet. Earth is currently in the Quaternary glaciation, known in popular terminology as the Ice Age. Individual pulses of cold climate within an ice age are termed "glacial periods", and intermittent warm periods within an ice age are called "interglacials" or "interstadials", with both climatic pulses part of the Quaternary or other periods in Earth's history.

Before American pioneers began arriving in the 1800s, the land was inhabited for many centuries by two bands of indigenous Chinook people—the Multnomah and the Clackamas. [18] The Chinook people occupying the land were first documented in 1805 by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. [19] Before its European settlement, the Portland Basin of the lower Columbia River and Willamette River valleys had been one of the most densely populated regions on the Pacific Coast. [19]

The Multnomah are a tribe of Chinookan people who live in the area of Portland, Oregon, in the United States. Multnomah villages were located throughout the Portland basin and on both sides of the Columbia River. The Multnomah speak a dialect of the Upper Chinookan language in the Oregon Penutian family.

The Clackamas Indians are a tribe of Native Americans of the U.S. state of Oregon who traditionally lived along the Clackamas River in the Willamette Valley. Lewis and Clark estimated their population at 1800 in 1806. At the time the tribe lived in 11 villages and subsisted on fish and roots.

Lewis and Clark Expedition American overland expedition to the Pacific coast

The Lewis and Clark Expedition from May 1804 to September 1806, also known as the Corps of Discovery Expedition, was the first American expedition to cross the western portion of the United States. It began in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, made its way westward, and passed through the Continental Divide of the Americas to reach the Pacific coast. The Corps of Discovery was a selected group of US Army volunteers under the command of Captain Meriwether Lewis and his close friend Second Lieutenant William Clark.


Pioneer Courthouse, 1886 1886 Pioneer Post Office.jpeg
Pioneer Courthouse, 1886
1890 map of Portland Portland Oregon in 1890.gif
1890 map of Portland

Large 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 emerged ten miles from the mouth of the Willamette River, [20] roughly halfway between Oregon City and Fort Vancouver. This community was initially referred to as "Stumptown" and "The Clearing" because of the many trees cut down to allow for its growth. [21] In 1843 William Overton saw potential in the new settlement but lacked the funds 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. [22]

Oregon City, Oregon City in Oregon, United States

Oregon City is the county seat of Clackamas County, Oregon, United States, located on the Willamette River near the southern limits of the Portland metropolitan area. Established in 1829 by the Hudson's Bay Company, in 1844 it became the first U.S. city west of the Rocky Mountains to be incorporated.

Fort Vancouver United States historic place

Fort Vancouver was a 19th-century fur trading post that was the headquarters of the Hudson's Bay Company's Columbia Department, located in the Pacific Northwest. Named for Captain George Vancouver, the fort was located on the northern bank of the Columbia River in present-day Vancouver, Washington. The fort was a major center of the regional fur trading. Every year trade goods and supplies from London arrived either via ships sailing to the Pacific Ocean or overland from Hudson Bay via the York Factory Express. Supplies and trade goods were exchanged with a plethora of Indigenous cultures for fur pelts. Furs from Fort Vancouver were often shipped to the Chinese port of Guangzhou where they were traded for Chinese manufactured goods for sale in the United Kingdom. At its pinnacle, Fort Vancouver watched over 34 outposts, 24 ports, six ships, and 600 employees. Today, a full-scale replica of the fort, with internal buildings, has been constructed and is open to the public as Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.

William Overton was a pioneer of the Oregon Country in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. In the mid-1840s he purchased the land claim, along with Asa Lovejoy, for the site which would become Portland, Oregon. Overton sold his share shortly thereafter to Francis Pettygrove.

In 1845 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 (Lovejoy's being Boston, and Pettygrove's, Portland). This controversy was settled with a coin toss that Pettygrove won in a series of two out of three tosses, thereby providing Portland with its namesake. [1] 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, [23] a steam sawmill, a log cabin hotel, and a newspaper, the Weekly Oregonian . A major fire swept through downtown in August 1873, destroying twenty blocks on the west side of the Willamette along Yamhill and Morrison Streets, and causing $1.3 million in damage, [24] roughly equivalent to $27.2 million today. [25] By 1879, the population had grown to 17,500 and by 1890 it had grown to 46,385. [26] In 1888, the city built the first steel bridge built on the West Coast. [27]

Portland's access to the Pacific Ocean via the Willamette and 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. [28] 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 had its own Japantown, [29] for one, and the lumber industry also became a prominent economic presence, due to the area's large population of Douglas fir, western hemlock, red cedar, and big leaf maple trees. [19]

Portland waterfront in 1898 Portland Oregon waterfront 1898.tif
Portland waterfront in 1898
The White Eagle Saloon (c. 1910), one of many in Portland that had reputed ties to illegal activities such as gambling rackets and prostitution White Eagle Portland.jpg
The White Eagle Saloon (c. 1910), one of many in Portland that had reputed ties to illegal activities such as gambling rackets and prostitution

Portland developed a reputation early in its history as a hard-edged and gritty port town. [31] Some historians have described the city's early establishment as being a "scion of New England; an ends-of-the-earth home for the exiled spawn of the eastern established elite." [32] In 1889, The Oregonian called Portland "the most filthy city in the Northern States", due to the unsanitary sewers and gutters, [33] and, at the turn of the 20th century, it was considered one of the most dangerous port cities in the world. [34] The city housed a large number of saloons, bordellos, gambling dens, and boardinghouses which were populated with miners after the California Gold Rush, as well as the multitude of sailors passing through the port. [31] By the early 20th century, the city had lost its reputation as a "sober frontier city" and garnered a reputation for being violent and dangerous. [31] [35]

20th-century development

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Burnside Street, 1937

Between 1900 and 1930, the city's population tripled from nearly 100,000 to 301,815. [36] During World War II, it housed an "assembly center" from which up to 3,676 people of Japanese descent were dispatched to internment camps in the heartland. It was the first American city to have residents report thus, [37] and the Pacific International Livestock Exposition operated from May through September 10, 1942 processing people from the city, northern Oregon, and central Washington. [38] General John DeWitt called the city the first "Jap free city on the West Coast." [37]

At the same time, Portland became a notorious hub for underground criminal activity and organized crime between the 1940s and 1950s. [39] In 1957, Life magazine published an article detailing the city's history of government corruption and crime, specifically its gambling rackets and illegal nightclubs. [39] The article, which focused on crime boss Jim Elkins, became the basis of a fictionalized film titled Portland Exposé (1957). In spite of the city's seedier undercurrent of criminal activity, Portland enjoyed an economic and industrial surge during World War II. Ship builder Henry J. Kaiser had been awarded contracts to build Liberty ships and aircraft carrier escorts, and chose sites in Portland and Vancouver, Washington, for work yards. [40] During this time, Portland's population rose by over 150,000, largely attributed to recruited laborers. [40]

During the 1960s, an influx of hippie subculture began to take root in the city in the wake of San Francisco's burgeoning countercultural scene. [11] The city's Crystal Ballroom became a hub for the city's psychedelic culture, while food cooperatives and listener-funded media and radio stations were established. [41] A large social activist presence evolved during this time as well, specifically concerning Native American rights, environmentalist causes, and gay rights. [41] By the 1970s, Portland had well established itself as a progressive city, and experienced an economic boom for the majority of the decade; however, the slowing of the housing market in 1979 caused demand for the city and state timber industries to drop significantly. [42]

1990s to present

Aerial view of Portland and its bridges across the Willamette River Portland OR aerial.jpg
Aerial view of Portland and its bridges across the Willamette River

In the 1990s, the technology industry began to emerge in Portland, specifically with the establishment of companies like Intel, which brought more than $10 billion in investments in 1995 alone. [43] After the year 2000, Portland experienced significant growth, with a population rise of over 90,000 between the years 2000 and 2014. [44] The city's increased presence within the cultural lexicon has established it as a popular city for young people, and it was second only to Louisville, Kentucky as one of the cities to attract and retain the highest number of college-educated people in the United States. [45] Between 2001 and 2012, Portland's gross domestic product per person grew fifty percent, more than any other city in the country. [45]

The city has acquired a diverse range of nicknames throughout its history, though it is most often called "Rose City" or "The City of Roses", [46] the latter of which has been its unofficial nickname since 1888 and its official nickname since 2003. [47] Another widely used nickname by local residents in everyday speech is "PDX", which is also the airport code for Portland International Airport. Other nicknames include Bridgetown, [48] Stumptown, [49] Rip City, [50] Soccer City, [51] [52] [53] P-Town, [47] [54] Portlandia, and the more antiquated Little Beirut. [55]



Portland lies on top of an extinct volcanic field known as the Boring Lava Field, named after the nearby bedroom community of Boring. [56] The Boring Lava Field has at least 32 cinder cones such as Mount Tabor, [57] and its center lies in southeast Portland. Mount St. Helens, a highly active volcano 50 miles (80 km) 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. [58] The rocks of the Portland area range in age from late Eocene to more recent eras. [59]

Multiple shallow, active fault lines traverse the Portland metropolitan area. [60] Among them are the Portland Hills Fault on the city's west side, [61] and the East Bank Fault on the east side. [62] According to a 2017 survey, several of these faults were characterized as "probably more of a hazard" than the Cascadia subduction zone due to their proximities to population centers, with the potential of producing magnitude 7 earthquakes. [60] Notable earthquakes that have impacted the Portland area in recent history include the 6.8-magnitude Nisqually earthquake in 2001, and a 5.6-magnitude earthquake that struck on March 25, 1993. [63] [64]

Per a 2014 report, over 7,000 locations within the Portland area are at high-risk for landslides and soil liquefaction in the event of a major earthquake, including much of the city's west side (such as Washington Park) and sections of Clackamas County. [65]


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Mt. Rainier (left) and Mt. St. Helens (right) photographed from Mount Calvary Cemetery in Portland

Portland is 60 miles (97 km) 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 separates the city's east and west neighborhoods. Less than 10 miles (16 km) from downtown, the Willamette River flows into the Columbia River, the fourth-largest river in the United States, which divides Oregon from Washington state. Portland is approximately 100 miles (160 km) upriver from the Pacific Ocean on the Columbia.

Though much of downtown Portland is relatively flat, the foothills of the Tualatin Mountains, more commonly referred to locally as the "West Hills", pierce through the northwest and southwest reaches of the city. Council Crest Park, commonly thought of as the highest point within city limits, is in the West Hills and rises to an elevation of 1,073 feet (327 m) The city's actual high point is a little-known and infrequently accessed point of 1,180 feet (360 m) near Forest Park. [66] The highest point east of the river is Mt. Tabor, an extinct volcanic cinder cone, which rises to 636 feet (194 m). Nearby Powell Butte and Rocky Butte rise to 614 feet (187 m) and 612 feet (187 m), 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 seen in the distance.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an 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. [3] Although almost all of Portland is within Multnomah County, small portions of the city are within Clackamas and Washington Counties, with populations estimated at 785 and 1,455, respectively.[ citation needed ]


Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches

Portland has a temperate oceanic climate with cool and cloudy winters, and warm and dry summers. [67] This climate is characterized by having overcast, wet, and changing weather conditions in fall, winter, and spring, as Portland lies in the direct path of the stormy westerly flow, and mild and dry summers when the Pacific High reaches in northernmost point in mid summer. [68] Of the three most populated cities within the Pacific Northwest (Seattle, Vancouver, British Columbia and Portland) Portland has the warmest average temperature, the highest number of sunshine hours, and the fewest inches of rainfall and snowfall, although the city still is frequently overcast compared to other US cities at the same latitude. [69] According to the Köppen climate classification, Portland falls within the dry-summer temperate zone (Csb). [68] [70] with a USDA Plant Hardiness Zones between 8b and 9a. [71] Other climate systems, such as the Trewartha climate classification, places it within the oceanic zone (Do), like much of the Pacific Northwest and Western Europe. [72]

Winters are cool, cloudy, and rainy. The coldest month is December with an average daily high of 45.6 °F (7.6 °C), although overnight lows usually remain above freezing by a few degrees. Evening temperatures fall to or below freezing 33 nights per year on average, but very rarely to or below 18 °F (−8 °C). There are only 2.1 days per year where the daytime high temperature fails to rise above freezing. The lowest overnight temperature ever recorded was −3 °F (−19 °C), [73] on February 2, 1950, [74] while the coldest daytime high temperature ever recorded was 14 °F (−10 °C) on December 30, 1968. [74] The average window for freezing temperatures to potentially occur is between November 15 and March 19, allowing a growing season of 240 days. [74]

Annual snowfall in Portland is 4.3 inches (10.9 cm), which usually falls during the December to March time frame. . [75] 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. [76] [77]

Portland's climate is conducive to the growth of roses. (Pictured: International Rose Test Garden) RoseTestGardenPortland.jpg
Portland's climate is conducive to the growth of roses. (Pictured: International Rose Test Garden)

Summers in Portland are warm, dry, and sunny, though the sunny warm weather is short lived from mid June through early September. [78] The months of June, July, August and September account for a combined 4.49 inches (114 mm) of total rainfall  only 12% of the 36.03 in (915 mm) of the 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 on rare occasion, with temperatures rising into the 90 °F (32 °C) for a few days. However, on average, temperatures reach or exceed 80 °F (27 °C) on only 56 days per year, of which 12 days will reach 90 °F (32 °C) and only 1.4 days will reach 100 °F (38 °C). The most 90-degree days ever recorded in one year is 31, which happened recently in 2018. [79] The highest temperature ever recorded was 107 °F (42 °C), [73] on July 30, 1965, as well as August 8 and 10, 1981. [74] The warmest recorded overnight low was 74 °F (23 °C) on July 28, 2009. [74] A temperature of 100 °F (38 °C) has been recorded in all five months from May through September.

Spring and fall can bring variable weather including warm fronts that send temperatures surging above 80 °F (27 °C) and cold snaps that plunge daytime temperatures into the 40s °F (4–9 °C). However, lengthy stretches of overcast days beginning in mid fall and continuing into mid spring are most common. Rain often falls as a light drizzle for several consecutive days at a time, contributing to 155 days on average 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. Severe weather, such as thunder and lightning, is uncommon and tornadoes are exceptionally rare. [80] [81]

Climate data for Portland, Oregon (PDX), 1981–2010 normals, [lower-alpha 2] extremes 1940–present [lower-alpha 3]
Record high °F (°C)66
Mean maximum °F (°C)58.4
Average high °F (°C)47.0
Average low °F (°C)35.8
Mean minimum °F (°C)24.6
Record low °F (°C)−2
Average precipitation inches (mm)4.88
Average snowfall inches (cm)0.5
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)18.014.917.616.413.
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)
Average relative humidity (%)80.978.074.671.668.765.862.864.869.477.981.582.773.2
Mean monthly sunshine hours 85.6116.4191.1221.1276.1290.2331.9298.1235.7151.779.363.72,340.9
Percent possible sunshine 30405254606270686345282352
Average ultraviolet index 1235678753214
Source #1: NOAA (relative humidity and sun 1961–1990) [74] [83] [84]
Source #2: Weather Atlas [85] (UV index)


Portland's cityscape derives much of its character from the many bridges that span the Willamette River downtown, several of which are historic landmarks, and Portland has been nicknamed "Bridgetown" for many decades as a result. [48] Three of downtown's most heavily used 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 in the downtown area, Tilikum Crossing, opened in 2015 and is the first new bridge to span the Willamette in Portland since the 1973 opening of the double-decker Fremont Bridge.

Other bridges that span the Willamette river in the downtown area include the Burnside Bridge, the Ross Island Bridge (both built 1926), and the double-decker Marquam Bridge (built 1966). Other bridges outside the downtown area include the Sellwood Bridge (built 2016) to the south; and the St. Johns Bridge, a Gothic revival suspension bridge built in 1931, to the north. The Glenn L. Jackson Memorial Bridge and the Interstate Bridge provide access from Portland across the Columbia River into Washington state.

Panorama of downtown Portland in the day. Hawthorne Bridge viewed from a dock on the Willamette River near the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.
Portland Skyline glow July 2017 pan - Oregon.jpg
Panorama of downtown Portland at night. View from SE Portland across the Willamette River.
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The Willamette River runs through the center of the city, while Mount Tabor (center) rises on the city's east side. Mount St. Helens (left) and Mount Hood (right center) are visible from many places in the city.


The five current addressing sectors of Portland, pending the addition of South Portland Portland.png
The five current addressing sectors of Portland, pending the addition of South Portland

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, divided Portland into five official quadrants, and changed house numbers from 20 per block to 100 per block. [86]

Ladd Carriage House, downtown Portland Ladd Carriage House in 2014.jpg
Ladd Carriage House, downtown Portland
The United States National Bank Building, downtown Portland U.S. National Bank Building - Portland, Oregon.jpg
The United States National Bank Building, downtown Portland

The five current addressing sections of Portland, which are known as quadrants despite there being five, [87] [88] have developed distinctive identities, with mild cultural differences and friendly rivalries between their residents, especially between those who live east of the Willamette River versus west of the river. [89] Portland's addressing sections are North, Northwest, Northeast, Southeast, and Southwest (which includes downtown Portland). The Willamette River divides the city into east and west while Burnside Street, which traverses the entire city lengthwise, divides the north and south. North Portland consists of the peninsula formed by the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, with N Williams Ave serving as its eastern boundary. All addresses and streets within the city are prefixed by N, NW, NE, SW or SE with the exception of Burnside Street, which is prefixed with W or E. Starting in May 2020, South Portland neighborhood addresses with house numbers leading with zero will drop the zero and the street prefix will convert to South from Southwest. For example, the current address 0246 SW California St. will become 246 S. California St. effective May 2020.

Pearl District (left) from the Steel Bridge Pearl District and Broadway Bridge.jpg
Pearl District (left) from the Steel Bridge
Lloyd District from downtown Portland Steam tug PORTLAND - Portland Oregon.jpg
Lloyd District from downtown Portland

A new South Portland section, officially approved by the Portland City Council on June 6, 2018, [90] is bounded by SW Naito Parkway and SW View Point Terrace to the west, SW Clay Street to the north and the Clackamas County line to the south. In 2018, the city's Bureau of Transportation finalized a plan to transition this part of Portland into South Portland, beginning in May 2020 and to be completed by May 2025, to reduce confusions by 9-1-1 dispatchers and delivery services. [91]

The Pearl District in Northwest Portland, which was largely occupied by warehouses, light industry and railroad classification yards in the early to mid-20th century, now houses upscale art galleries, restaurants, and retail stores, and is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city. [92] Areas further west of the Pearl District include neighborhoods known as Uptown and Nob Hill, as well as the Alphabet District and NW 23rd Ave., a major shopping street lined with clothing boutiques and other upscale retail, mixed with cafes and restaurants. [93]

Northeast Portland is home to the Lloyd District, Alberta Arts District, and the Hollywood District.

North Portland is largely residential and industrial. It contains Kelly Point Park, the northernmost point of the city. It also contains the St. Johns neighborhood, which is historically one of the most ethnically diverse and poorest neighborhoods in the city. [94]

Old Town Chinatown is next to the Pearl District in Northwest Portland. In 2017, the crime rate was several times above the city average. This neighborhood has been called Portland's skid row. [95] Southwest Portland is largely residential. Downtown district, made up of commercial businesses, museums, skyscrapers, and public landmarks represents a small area within the southwest address section. Portland's South Waterfront area has been developing into a dense neighborhood of shops, condominiums, and apartments starting in the mid-2000s. Development in this area is ongoing. [96] The area is served by the Portland Streetcar, the MAX Orange Line and four TriMet bus lines. This former industrial area sat as a brownfield prior to development in the mid-2000s. [97]

Southeast Portland is largely residential, and consists of the Hawthorne District, Belmont, Brooklyn, and Mount Tabor.


Historical population
1860 2,874
1870 8,293188.6%
1880 17,577111.9%
1890 46,385163.9%
1900 90,42694.9%
1910 207,214129.2%
1920 258,28824.6%
1930 301,81516.9%
1940 305,3941.2%
1950 373,62822.3%
1960 372,676−0.3%
1970 382,6192.7%
1980 366,383−4.2%
1990 437,31919.4%
2000 529,12121.0%
2010 583,77610.3%
Est. 2018653,115 [7] 11.9%
U.S. Decennial Census [98]
Demographic profile2010 [99] 1990 [100] 1970 [100] 1940 [100]
White 76.1%84.6%92.2%98.1%
 Non-Hispanic whites 72.2%82.9%90.7% [101]
Black or African American 6.3%7.7%5.6%0.6%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race)9.4%3.2%1.7% [101]
Asian 7.1%5.3%1.3%1.2%

The 2010 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). [99] 9.4% were Hispanic or Latino, of any race (54,840). Whites not of Hispanic origin made up 72.2% of the total population. [99]

In 1940, Portland's African-American population was approximately 2,000 and largely consisted of railroad employees and their families. [102] 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. [102] 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. [103]

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. [102] 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. [104]

Graph showing the city's population growth from 1850 to 2010 Portland population growth.png
Graph showing the city's population growth from 1850 to 2010

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%). [106] A small population of Yao people live in Portland. Portland has two Chinatowns, with New Chinatown along SE 82nd Avenue with Chinese supermarkets, Hong Kong style noodle houses, dim sum, and Vietnamese phở restaurants. [107]

With about 12,000 Vietnamese residing in the city proper, Portland has one of the largest Vietnamese populations in America per capita. [108] According to statistics there are 21,000 Pacific Islanders in Portland, making up 4% of the population. [109]

Map of racial distribution in Portland, 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot represents 25 people, according to the following color code: White, Black, Asian, Hispanic or Other (yellow). Race and ethnicity Portland (2010).png
Map of racial distribution in Portland, 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot represents 25 people, according to the following color code: White, Black, Asian, Hispanic or Other (yellow).

Portland's population has been and remains predominantly white. In 1940, whites were over 98% of the city's population. [110] 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 Portland's urban core has the highest percentage of white residents. [111] Some scholars have noted the Pacific Northwest as a whole is "one of the last Caucasian bastions of the United States". [112] 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. [111] [113]

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. [111] [114] [115] 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. [114] [115] [116]

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. [111] 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. [112] [115] [117] 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. [111]

In the 1980s and 1990s, radical skinhead groups flourished in Portland. [115] 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. [118]


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. [119] 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. [120]

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. According to the Modern Language Association, in 2010 80.92% (539,885) percent of Multnomah County residents ages 5 and over spoke English as their primary language at home. [121] 8.10% of the population spoke Spanish (54,036), with Vietnamese speakers making up 1.94%, and Russian 1.46%. [121]


St. Michael the Archangel Church; of the 35% of religiously affiliated Portland residents, Roman Catholics make up the largest group. St Michael the Archangel Church front - Portland, Oregon.JPG
St. Michael the Archangel Church; of the 35% of religiously affiliated Portland residents, Roman Catholics make up the largest group.

The Portland metropolitan area has historically had a significant LGBT population throughout the late 20th and 21st century. [123] [124] In 2015, the city metro had the second highest percentage of LGBT residents in the United States with 5.4% of residents identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, second only to San Francisco. [125] In 2006, it was reported to have the seventh highest LGBT population in the country, with 8.8% of residents identifying as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, and the metro ranking fourth in the nation at 6.1%. [126] The city held its first pride festival in 1975 on the Portland State University campus. [127]

Portland has been cited as the least religious city in the United States, [128] with over 42% of residents identifying as religiously "unaffiliated", [129] according to the nonpartisan and nonprofit Public Religion Research Institute's American Values Atlas. [130] Of the 35.89% of the city's residents who do identify as religious, Roman Catholics make up the largest group, at 15.8%. [122] The second highest religious group in the city are Evangelical Christians at 6.04%, with Baptists following behind at 2.5%. Latter Day Saints make up 2.3% of the city's religiously affiliated population, with Lutheran and Pentecostal following behind. [122] 1.48% of religiously affiliated persons identified themselves as following Eastern religions, while 0.86% of the religiously affiliated population identified as Jewish, and 0.29% as Muslim. [122]


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. [131] The U.S. 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. [132] In 2012, the city was listed among the 10 best places to retire in the U.S. by CBS MoneyWatch. [133] [134]

Adidas has its North American headquarters in the Overlook neighborhood Adidas Village Giant Shoes.jpg
Adidas has its North American headquarters in the Overlook neighborhood

The city's 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. [135] [136] The Port of Portland is the third-largest export tonnage port on the west coast of the U.S., and being about 80 miles (130 km) upriver, it is the largest fresh-water port. [131] The city of Portland is the largest shipper of wheat in the United States, [137] [138] and is the second-largest port for wheat in the world. [139]

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. [140] [141]

Technology is a major component of the city's economy, with more than 1,200 technology companies existing within the metro. [131] 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. [142] The area also hosts facilities for software companies and online startup companies, some supported by local seed funding organizations and business incubators. [143] 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. [131]

Coava Coffee Coava Coffee-2.jpg
Coava Coffee

The Portland metro area has become a business cluster for athletic and footwear manufacturers. [144] The area is home to the global, North American or U.S. headquarters of Nike, Adidas, Columbia Sportswear, LaCrosse Footwear, Dr. Martens, Li-Ning, [145] Keen, [146] and Hi-Tec Sports. [147] While headquartered elsewhere, Merrell, Amer Sports and Under Armour have design studios and local offices in the Portland area. Portland-based Precision Castparts is one of two Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Oregon, the other being Nike. Other notable Portland-based companies include film animation studio Laika; commercial vehicle manufacturer Daimler Trucks North America; advertising firm Wieden+Kennedy; bankers Umpqua Holdings; and retailers Fred Meyer, New Seasons Market and Storables.

Breweries are another major industry in Portland, which is home to 139 breweries/microbreweries, the 7th most in the nation, as of December 2018. [148] Additionally, the city boasts a robust coffee culture that now rivals Seattle and hosts over 20 coffee roasters. [149]


In 2016, home prices in Portland grew faster than in any other city in the United States. [150] Apartment rental costs in the Portland metro area are now equal to those in other major cities such as San Diego, Boston, Miami, Seattle, and Los Angeles with the average one bedroom costing between $1,300 and $1,950 per month. [151] New sky rise apartment building and condo complexes have changed the skyline of the city, adding over 16,000 new units since 2010.[ citation needed ]


Music, film, and performing arts

The Sagebrush Symphony, an early incarnation of the Portland Youth Philharmonic, performing in Burns c. 1916 Sagebrush Symphony, Burns, Oregon.jpg
The Sagebrush Symphony, an early incarnation of the Portland Youth Philharmonic, performing in Burns c. 1916

Portland is home to a range of classical performing arts institutions, including the Portland Opera, the Oregon Symphony, and the Portland Youth Philharmonic; the latter, established in 1924, was the first youth orchestra established in the United States. [152] The city is also home to several theaters and performing arts institutions, including the Oregon Ballet Theatre, Northwest Children's Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Artists Repertory Theatre, Miracle Theatre, and Tears of Joy Theatre.

In 2013, the Guardian named the city's music scene as one of the "most vibrant" in the United States. [153] 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). [154] Other widely known musical groups include the Dandy Warhols, Quarterflash, Everclear, Pink Martini, The Hugs, Sleater-Kinney, the Shins, Blitzen Trapper, the Decemberists, and the late Elliott Smith. In the 1980s, the city was home to a burgeoning punk scene, which included bands such as the Wipers and Dead Moon. [155] The city's now-demolished Satyricon nightclub was a punk venue notorious for being the place where Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain first encountered future wife and Hole frontwoman Courtney Love in 1990. [156] Love was then a resident of Portland and started several bands there with Kat Bjelland, later of Babes in Toyland. [157] [158] Multi-Grammy award-winning jazz artist Esperanza Spalding is from Portland and performed with the Chamber Music Society of Oregon at a young age. [159]

A wide range of films have been shot in Portland, from various independent features to major big-budget productions (see List of films shot in Oregon for a complete list). Director Gus Van Sant has notably set and shot many of his films in the city. [160] The city has also been featured in various television programs, notably the IFC sketch comedy series Portlandia . The series, which ran for eight seasons from 2011 to 2018, [161] was shot on location in Portland, and satirized the city as a hub of liberal politics, organic food, alternative lifestyles, and anti-establishment attitudes. [162] MTV's long-time running reality show The Real World was also shot in Portland for the show's 29th season: The Real World: Portland premiered on MTV in 2013. [163] Other television series shot in the city include Leverage , The Librarians, [164] Under Suspicion , Grimm , and Nowhere Man . [165]

An unusual feature of Portland entertainment is the large number of movie theaters serving beer, often with second-run or revival films. [166] Notable examples of these "brew and view" theaters include the Bagdad Theater and Pub, a former vaudeville theater built in 1927 by Universal Studios; [167] Cinema 21; and the Laurelhurst Theater, in operation since 1923. Portland hosts the world's longest-running H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival [168] at the Hollywood Theatre. [169]

Laurelhurst Theater neon sign - side view at night.jpg
The Art Deco-styled Laurelhurst Theater in the Kerns neighborhood was opened in 1923.
Avalon Theatre, Belmont, Portland, OR 2012.JPG
Avalon Theatre in the Belmont neighborhood plays second-run films.
Moreland Theater.jpg
The Moreland Theater in the Westmoreland neighborhood
Bagdad Theater.jpg
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest premiered at the Bagdad Theater in 1975.

Museums and recreation

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) OMSI entrance outside - Portland, Oregon.JPG
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)

Portland is home to numerous museums and educational institutions, ranging from art museums to institutions devoted to science and wildlife. Among the science-oriented institutions are the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), which consists of five main halls and other ticketed attractions, such as the USS Blueback submarine, [170] the ultra-large-screen Empirical Theater (which replaced an OMNIMAX theater in 2013), [171] and the Kendall Planetarium. [172] The World Forestry Center Discovery Museum, located in the city's Washington Park area, offers educational exhibits on forests and forest-related subjects. Also located in Washington Park are the Hoyt Arboretum, the International Rose Test Garden, the Japanese Garden, and the Oregon Zoo. [173]

Portland Art Museum Portland Art Museum.jpg
Portland Art Museum

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. Other museums include the Portland Children's Museum, a museum specifically geared for early childhood development; and the Oregon Historical Society Museum, founded in 1898, which has a variety of books, film, pictures, artifacts, and maps dating back throughout Oregon's history. It houses permanent and temporary exhibits about Oregon history, and hosts traveling exhibits about the history of the United States. [174]

Oaks Amusement Park, in the Sellwood district of Southeast Portland, is the city's only amusement park and is also one of the country's longest-running amusement parks. It has operated since 1905 and was known as the "Coney Island of the Northwest" upon its opening. [175]

Cuisine and breweries

Portland has been named the best city in the world for street food by several publications and news outlets, including the U.S. News & World Report and CNN. [176] [177] 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. [178] [179] In 2014, the Washington Post called Portland the fourth best city for food in the United States. [180] Travel + Leisure ranked Portland's food and bar scene No. 5 in the nation in 2012. [181] [182] Portland is also known as a leader in specialty coffee. [183] [184] [185] The city is home to Stumptown Coffee Roasters as well as dozens of other micro-roasteries and cafes. [186]

Widmer Brewing Company headquarters Widmer Brewing Company headquarters - Portland, Oregon.JPG
Widmer Brewing Company headquarters

It is frequently claimed that Portland has the most breweries and independent microbreweries of any city in the world, [187] [188] [189] [190] [191] with 58 active breweries within city limits [192] and 70+ within the surrounding metro area. [192] However, data compiled by the Brewers Association ranks Portland seventh in the United States as of 2018. [193] The city receives frequent acclaim as the best beer city in the United States and is consistently ranked as one of the top-five beer destinations in the world. [194] Portland has played a prominent role in the microbrewery revolution in the U.S. and is nicknamed "Beertown" and "Beervana" as a result. [195] [196] [197] 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, Portland Brewing, Hair of the Dog, and Hopworks Urban Brewery.

Portland hosts a number of festivals throughout the year that celebrate beer and brewing, including the Oregon Brewers Festival, held in Tom McCall Waterfront Park. 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. [198] 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, [199] and the Holiday Ale Festival in December.


Portland is often awarded "Greenest City in America" and similar designations. Popular Science awarded Portland the title of the Greenest City in America in 2008, [200] and Grist magazine listed it in 2007 as the second greenest city in the world. [201] The city became a pioneer of state-directed metropolitan planning, a program which was instituted statewide in 1969 to compact the urban growth boundaries of the city. [202]


Portland is home to three major league sports franchises: the Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA, the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer, and the Portland Thorns of the National Women's Soccer League. In 2015, the Timbers won the MLS Cup, which was the first male professional sports championship for a team from Portland since the Trail Blazers won the NBA championship in 1977. [203] 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 often rumored to receive an additional franchise, although efforts to acquire a team have failed due to stadium funding issues. [204] An organization known as the Portland Diamond Project (PDP) [205] has worked with the MLB and local government, and there are plans to have an MLB stadium constructed in the industrial district of Portland. [206] The PDP has not yet received the funding for this project.

Providence Park, home of the Portland Timbers and the Portland Thorns Jeld-Wen Field 2013.jpg
Providence Park, home of the Portland Timbers and the Portland Thorns

Portland sports fans are characterized by their passionate support. The Trail Blazers sold out every home game between 1977 and 1995, a span of 814 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in American sports history. [207] 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. [208] The Timbers season ticket waiting list has reached 10,000+, the longest waiting list in MLS. [209] In 2015, they became the first team in the Northwest to win the MLS Cup. Player Diego Valeri marked a new record for fastest goal in MLS Cup history at 27 seconds into the game. [210]

The Moda Center, home of the Portland Trail Blazers Portland Trail Blazers, Dec. 26, 2013.jpg
The Moda Center, home of the Portland Trail Blazers

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, and basketball. Portland State also has a football team. 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 110 and 84 miles from the city, respectively. [211]

The Shamrock Run, held annually on St. Patrick's Day 2015 Shamrock Run.jpg
The Shamrock Run, held annually on St. Patrick's Day

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 an elite running group, the Nike Oregon Project, and is the 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.[ citation needed ]

Historic Erv Lind Stadium is located in Normandale Park. [212] It has been home to professional and college softball.

Portland also hosts numerous cycling events and has become an elite bicycle racing destination.[ citation needed ] 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.[ citation needed ]

Portland area sports teams
Portland Thorns FC Women's soccer National Women's Soccer League 2 (2013, 2017) Providence Park 201216,945
Portland Timbers Soccer Major League Soccer 1 (2015)Providence Park200921,144
Portland Timbers 2 Soccer USL 0 Merlo Field 20141,740
Portland Timbers U23s Soccer Premier Development League 1 (2010)Providence Park2008
Portland Trail Blazers Basketball National Basketball Association 1 (1976–77)Moda Center 1970 19,317
Portland Winterhawks Ice hockey Western Hockey League 2 (1982–83, 1997–98)Moda Center19766,080

Parks and gardens

Forest Park is the largest wilderness park in the United States that is within city limits Forest park wildwood trail in early summer P2860.jpeg
Forest Park is the largest wilderness park in the United States that is within city limits

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. [213] Ten years later, more than 8,100 acres (33 km2) of ecologically valuable natural areas had been purchased and permanently protected from development. [214]

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. [215]

Forest Park is the largest wilderness park within city limits in the United States, covering more than 5,000 acres (2,023 ha). [216] 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, Hoyt Arboretum, the Portland Japanese Garden, and the International Rose Test Garden. Portland is also home to Lan Su Chinese Garden (formerly the Portland Classical Chinese Garden), an authentic representation of a Suzhou-style walled garden. Portland's east side has several formal public gardens: the historic Peninsula Park Rose Garden, the rose gardens of Ladd's Addition, the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, the Leach Botanical Garden, and The Grotto.

Portland's downtown features two groups of contiguous city blocks dedicated for park space: the North and South Park Blocks. [217] [218] The 37-acre (15 ha) Tom McCall Waterfront Park was built in 1974 along the length of the downtown waterfront after Harbor Drive was removed; it now hosts large events throughout the year. [219] The nearby historically significant Burnside Skatepark and five indoor skateparks give Portland a reputation as possibly "the most skateboard-friendly town in America." [220]

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, in the West Hills, and the Government Island State Recreation Area 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 Portland had the seventh best park system among the 50 most populous U.S. cities. [221] 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 of a park, and over 16% of Portland's city area is parkland.

Holly Farm Park (Portland, Oregon).jpg
Holly Farm Park is a relatively new park in Portland. After it was acquired in 2003 by Portland Parks & Recreation the land was developed into a park by 2007.
Keller Fountain (Multnomah County, Oregon scenic images) (mulDA0050).jpg
Located in Downtown Portland, Keller Fountain Park is named for Portland Development Commission chairwoman Ira Keller.
Portland Japanese garden creek.jpg
The Portland Japanese Garden is a traditional Japanese garden that opened in 1967.
Cathedral Park St Johns Bridge - Portland Oregon.jpg
Cathedral Park, under the St. Johns Bridge, hosts an annual jazz music festival.
Named in honor of Oregon's governor Tom McCall in 1984, the park opened in 1978. It hosts several annual events, including the Waterfront Blues Festival and the Oregon Brewers Festival.
Originally built as the private residence of The Oregonian publisher Henry Pittock, the grounds of Pittock Mansion are a public park.

Law and government

Portland City Hall PortlandCityHall.jpg
Portland City Hall

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. Portland is the only large city left in the United States with the commission form of government. [222]

Built in 1869, Pioneer Courthouse (pictured) is the oldest federal building in the Pacific Northwest Pioneer Courthouse, Portland, Oregon, 2013.jpeg
Built in 1869, Pioneer Courthouse (pictured) is the oldest federal building in the Pacific Northwest

The city's Community & Civic Life (formerly Office of Neighborhood Involvement) [224] 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.

The Multnomah County government provides many services to the Portland area, as do Washington and Clackamas counties to the west and south.

Law enforcement is provided by the Portland Police Bureau. Fire and emergency services are provided by Portland Fire & Rescue.


Portland is a territorial charter city, and strongly favors the Democratic Party. All city offices are non-partisan. [225]

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).

Portland is split among three U.S. 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. [226]

Sam Adams, the former mayor of Portland, became the city's first openly gay mayor in 2009. [227] 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. [228] On April 28, 2005, Portland became the only city in the nation to withdraw from a Joint Terrorism Task Force. [229] [230] As of February 19, 2015, the Portland city council approved permanently staffing the JTTF with two of its city's police officers. [231]

Voter registration and party enrollment As of December 2015 [232]
PartyNumber of votersPercentage
Democratic 197,13354.03%
Republican 40,37411.07%

Planning and development

Video of Portland's urban growth boundary. The red dots indicate areas of growth between 1986 and 1996. (larger size)

The city consulted with urban planners as far back as 1904, resulting in the development of Washington Park and the 40-Mile Loop greenway, which interconnects many of the city's parks. [233] Portland is often cited as an example of a city with strong land use planning controls. [14] 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. [234] [235] [236] [237] [238]

1966 photo shows sawdust-fired power plant on the edge of downtown that was removed to make way for dense residential development. High rises to left in background were early projects of the Portland Development Commission PDX1966PGEplant.jpg
1966 photo shows sawdust-fired power plant on the edge of downtown that was removed to make way for dense residential development. High rises to left in background were early projects of the Portland Development Commission

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). [239] 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. [240]

Oregon's 1973 "urban growth boundary" law limits the boundaries for large-scale development in each metropolitan area in Oregon. [241] This limits access to utilities such as sewage, water and telecommunications, as well as coverage by fire, police and schools. [241] Originally this law mandated the city must maintain enough land within the boundary to provide an estimated 20 years of growth; however, in 2007 the legislature changed 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. [120] The growth boundary, along with efforts of the Portland Development Commission 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. [242]

Prosper Portland (formerly Portland Development Commission) is a semi-public agency that plays a major role in downtown development; city voters created it 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 Portland Development Commission led the razing of a large Italian-Jewish neighborhood downtown, bounded roughly by I-405, the Willamette River, 4th Avenue and Market street. [243] 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 2015-opened Tilikum Crossing attracted national attention for being a major bridge open only to transit vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians, and not private motor vehicles. Tilikum Crossing with streetcar and MAX train in 2016.jpg
The 2015-opened Tilikum Crossing attracted national attention for being a major bridge open only to transit vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians, and not private motor vehicles.

Historically, environmental consciousness has weighed significantly in the city's planning and development efforts. [246] Portland was one of the first cities in the United States to promote and integrate alternative forms of transportation, such as the MAX Light Rail and extensive bike paths. [246] 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. [247] 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. [248] The city's longstanding efforts were recognized in a 2010 Reuters report, which named Portland the second-most environmentally conscious or "green" city in the world after Reykjavik, Iceland. [246]

As of 2012, Portland was the largest city in the United States that did not add fluoride to its public water supply, [249] and fluoridation has historically been a subject of controversy in the city. [250] Portland voters have four times voted against fluoridation, in 1956, 1962, 1980 (repealing a 1978 vote in favor), and 2013. [251] 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, [252] and on May 21, 2013, city voters again rejected fluoridation. [253]

Free speech

Protests against the Iraq War on March 19, 2006 No war pdx.jpg
Protests against the Iraq War on March 19, 2006

Strong free speech protections of the Oregon Constitution upheld by the Oregon Supreme Court in State v. Henry , [254] specifically found that full nudity and lap dances in strip clubs are protected speech. [255] Portland has the highest number of strip clubs per-capita in a city in the United States, and Oregon ranks as the highest state for per-capita strip clubs. [256] In addition to its strip clubs and erotic massage parlors, the city also has a high rate of child sex trafficking. [257] [258]

In November 2008, a Multnomah County judge dismissed charges against a nude bicyclist arrested on June 26, 2008. The judge stated that the city's annual World Naked Bike Ride held each year in June since 2004has created a "well-established tradition" in Portland where cyclists may ride naked as a form of protest against cars and fossil fuel dependence. [259] The defendant was not riding in the official World Naked Bike Ride at the time of his arrest as it had occurred 12 days earlier that year, on June 14. [260]

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. [261]


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. [262] The murder rate in Portland in 2013 averaged 2.3 murders per 100,000 people per year, which was lower than the national average. In October 2009, Forbes magazine rated Portland as the third safest city in America. [263] [264] In 2011, 72% of arrested male subjects tested positive for illegal drugs and was dubbed the "deadliest drug market in the Pacific Northwest" [265] [ clarification needed ]

In the Portland Metropolitan statistical area which includes Clackamas, Columbia,2 Multnomah, Washington, and Yamhill Counties, OR and Clark and Skamania Counties, WA for 2017, murder rate was 2.6, violent crime was 283.2 per 100,000 people per year. In 2017, the population within the city of Portland was 649,408 and there were 24 murders and 3,349 violent crimes. [266]

Below is a sortable table containing violent crime data from each Portland neighborhood during the calendar year of 2014.


Primary and secondary education

St. Mary's Academy, a private Roman Catholic girls' school established in 1859 St. Mary's Academy in Portland (2014).jpg
St. Mary's Academy, a private Roman Catholic girls' school established in 1859

Nine public school districts and many private schools serve Portland. Portland Public Schools is the largest school district, operating 85 public schools. [268] David Douglas High School, in the Powellhurst neighborhood, has the largest enrollment of any public high school in the city. [269] Other high schools include Benson, Cleveland, Franklin, Grant, Jefferson, Madison, Parkrose, Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson, and several suburban high schools which serve the city's outer areas. Established in 1869, Lincoln High School (formerly Portland High School) is the city's oldest public education institution, and is one of two of the oldest high schools west of the Mississippi River (after San Francisco's Lowell High School). [270]

Former public schools in the city included Washington High School, which operated from 1906 until 1981, as well as Adams and Jackson, which also closed the same year.

The area's private schools include The Northwest Academy, Portland Jewish Academy, Rosemary Anderson High School, Portland Adventist Academy, Portland Lutheran School, Trinity Academy, Catlin Gabel School, and Oregon Episcopal School.

The city and surrounding metropolitan area is also home to a large number of Roman Catholic-affiliated private schools, including St. Mary's Academy, an all-girls school; De La Salle North Catholic High School; the co-educational Jesuit High School; La Salle High School; and Central Catholic High School, the only archdiocesan high school in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland.

Higher education

Portland State University has the second-largest enrollment rate of any university in the state (after Oregon State University), with a student body of nearly 30,000. [271] It has been named among the top fifteen percentile of American universities by The Princeton Review for undergraduate education, [272] and has been internationally recognized for its degrees in Masters of Business Administration and urban planning. [273] The city is also home to the Oregon Health & Science University, as well as Portland Community College.

Notable private universities include the University of Portland, a Roman Catholic university affiliated with the Congregation of Holy Cross; Reed College, a liberal arts college, and Lewis & Clark College.

Other institutions of higher learning within the city are:


The Oregonian Building of 1892, which no longer stands The Oregonian Building circa 1912.jpg
The Oregonian Building of 1892, which no longer stands

The Oregonian is the only daily general-interest newspaper serving Portland. It also circulates throughout the state and in Clark County, Washington.

KPTV is the Fox Broadcasting Company affiliate KPTV FOX 12 office.JPG
KPTV is the Fox Broadcasting Company affiliate

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 every other 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.



Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital - Portland, Oregon.JPG
Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center

Legacy Health, a non-profit healthcare system in Portland, operates multiple facilities in the city and surrounding suburbs. [274] These include Legacy Emanuel, founded in 1912, in Northeast Portland; and Legacy Good Samaritan, founded in 1875, and in Northwest Portland. [274] Randall's Children's Hospital operates at the Legacy Emanuel Campus. Good Samaritan has centers for breast health, cancer, and stroke, and is home to the Legacy Devers Eye Institute, the Legacy Obesity and Diabetes Institute, the Legacy Diabetes and Endocrinology Center, the Legacy Rehabilitation Clinic of Oregon, and the Linfield-Good Samaritan School of Nursing. [275]

The Catholic-affiliated Providence Health & Services operates Providence Portland Medical Center in the North Tabor neighborhood of the city. Oregon Health & Science University is a university hospital formed in 1974. The Veterans Affairs Medical Center operates next to the Oregon Health & Science University main campus. Adventist Medical Center also serves the city. Shriners Hospital for Children is a small children's hospital established in 1923.


MAX Type 4 cars crossing 185th.JPG
MAX Light Rail is the centerpiece of the city's public transportation system.
Portland Streetcar is a three-line system serving downtown and nearby areas.

The Portland metropolitan area has transportation services common to major U.S. cities, though Oregon's emphasis on proactive land-use planning and transit-oriented development within the urban growth boundary means commuters have multiple well-developed options. In 2014, Travel + Leisure magazine rated Portland as the No. 1 most pedestrian and transit-friendly city in the United States. [276] A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked Portland 12th most walkable of fifty largest U.S. cities. [277]

In 2008, 12.6% of all commutes in Portland were on public transit. [278] 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 five lines, with the latest being the Orange Line to Milwaukie, in service as of September 2015. [279] 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 that opened in 2012 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. [280] The east-side line completed a loop to the tracks on the west side of the river upon completion of the new Tilikum Crossing in 2015, [281] and, in anticipation of that, had been named the Central Loop line in 2012. However, it was renamed the Loop Service, with an A Loop (clockwise) and B Loop (counterclockwise), when it became a complete loop with the opening of the Tilikum Crossing bridge.

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 minor budget cuts and funding needed for expansion prompted the agency to limit free rides to rail service only in 2010, [282] and subsequently to discontinue the fare-free zone entirely in 2012. [283]

TriMet provides real-time tracking of buses and trains with its TransitTracker, and makes the data available to software developers so they can create customized tools of their own. [284] [285]

Union Station UnionStationPortland.jpg
Union Station

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. U.S. 26 supports commuting within the metro area and continues to the Pacific Ocean westward and Mount Hood and Central Oregon eastward. U.S. 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 ranked 13th in traffic congestion of all American cities. By 2018, it ranked 10th [286] [287]

Portland International Airport PDX from Rocky Butte.JPG
Portland International Airport

Portland's main airport is Portland International Airport, about 20 minutes by car (40 minutes by MAX) northeast of downtown. Portland's airport has been named the best US airport for seven consecutive years (2013–2019). [288] Portland is also 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 to Chicago). The Amtrak Cascades state-supported trains operate between Vancouver, B.C., and Eugene, Oregon, and serve Portland several times daily. The city is also served by Greyhound Lines intercity bus service, which also operates BoltBus, an express bus service. The bus depot is about one block from the Portland Union Station. The city's first airport was the Swan Island Municipal Airport, which was closed in the 1940s.

The Portland Aerial Tram connects the South Waterfront district with OHSU PortlandTramCar3.jpg
The Portland Aerial Tram connects the South Waterfront district with OHSU

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. [289] 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 several years running. [290] 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. [291]

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. [292] Bicycles accounted for 6.3% of commuting in 2017. [293] 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 U.S. cities to have earned a Platinum-level rating. [294] A new bicycle-sharing system, Biketown, launched on July 19, 2016, [295] with 100 stations in the city's central and eastside neighborhoods. [296] The bikes were provided by Social Bicycles, and the system is operated by Motivate.

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.

Notable people

See List of people from Portland, Oregon

Sister cities

Sapporo, Japan is Portland's oldest sister city Hokkaido Sapporo Odori Park.jpg
Sapporo, Japan is Portland's oldest sister city

Portland has ten sister cities; [297] [298] each city is required to maintain long-term involvement and participation: [299] [300]

Sister Cities of Portland
Flag of Sapporo, Hokkaido.svg Sapporo satsuporotawa (terebiTa ) - panoramio.jpg Flag of Japan.svg  Japan November 17, 1959 [301]
Flag of Guadalajara (Mexico).svg  Guadalajara Skyline Guadalajara.jpg Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico September 23, 1983 [302] [303]
Ashkelon flag.png  Ashkelon Ashqelon.jpg Flag of Israel.svg  Israel October 13, 1987 [304]
Ulsan Flag.png Ulsan taehwagang,ulsan.jpg Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea November 20, 1987 [305]
Flag placeholder.svg  Suzhou Gate of the Orient Dong Fang Zhi Men dong fang zhi men Suzhou photo Christian Ganshirt 2015.JPG Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China June 7, 1988 [306]
Flag of Khabarovsk (Khabarovsk kray).png  Khabarovsk Russia. Khabarovsk. Industrialny City District 2016.jpg Flag of Russia.svg  Russia June 10, 1988 [307]
Flag of Kaohsiung City.svg  Kaohsiung Kaohsiung am Tuntex Sky Tower 3.jpg Flag of the Republic of China.svg  Taiwan October 11, 1988 [308]
Mutare Flag.gif  Mutare Mutare, Queensway.JPG Flag of Zimbabwe.svg  Zimbabwe December 18, 1991 [309]
Flag of Bologna.svg  Bologna Piazza Maggiore da Palazzo d'Accursio 2.jpg Flag of Italy.svg  Italy June 5, 2003 [310]
Flag of Kota Kinabalu.svg Kota Kinabalu Downtown Kota Kinabalu from Kopungit Hill.jpg Flag of Malaysia.svg  Malaysia September 29, 2014 [298]

See also


  1. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Oregon's population as of 2018 was 4,190,713; with the MSA being 2,478,810, this leaves 65% of Oregon's population residing within the metro.
  2. Mean monthly maxima and minima (i.e. the highest and lowest temperature readings during an entire month or year) calculated based on data at said location from 1981 to 2010.
  3. Official records for Portland have been kept at PDX since 13 October 1940. [82] In January 1996, snow measurements for PDX were moved to the NWS Portland office 4 mi (6.4 km) to the east at 5241 NE 122nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97230-1089. [76]

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Pearl District, Portland, Oregon Neighborhood in Portland, Oregon, United States

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Willamette Shore Trolley

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Oregon City Bridge historic bridge in Oregon, USA

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Willamette Falls waterfall on the Willamette River in Oregon, USA

The Willamette Falls is a natural waterfall on the Willamette River between Oregon City and West Linn, Oregon, in the United States. It is the largest waterfall in the Northwestern United States by volume, and the seventeenth widest in the world. Horseshoe in shape, it is 1,500 feet (460 m) wide and 40 feet (12 m) high with a flow of 30,849 cu ft/s, located 26 miles (42 km) upriver from the Willamette's mouth.

Forest Park (Portland, Oregon)

Forest Park is a public municipal park in the Tualatin Mountains west of downtown Portland, Oregon, United States. Stretching for more than 8 miles (13 km) on hillsides overlooking the Willamette River, it is one of the country's largest urban forest reserves. The park, a major component of a regional system of parks and trails, covers more than 5,100 acres (2,064 ha) of mostly second-growth forest with a few patches of old growth. About 70 miles (110 km) of recreational trails, including the Wildwood Trail segment of the city's 40-Mile Loop system, crisscross the park.

Tom McCall Waterfront Park park in Portland, Oregon, United States

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Transportation in Portland, Oregon

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Downtown Portland, Oregon Neighborhood in Portland, Oregon, United States

Downtown Portland, the city center of Portland, Oregon, United States, is located on the west bank of the Willamette River. It is in the northeastern corner of the southwest section of the city and where most of the city's high-rise buildings are found.

St. Johns, Portland, Oregon Neighborhood in Portland, Oregon, United States

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South Waterfront human settlement in Portland, Oregon, United States of America

The South Waterfront is a high-rise district under construction on former brownfield industrial land in the South Portland neighborhood south of downtown Portland, Oregon, U.S. It is one of the largest urban redevelopment projects in the United States. It is connected to downtown Portland by the Portland Streetcar and MAX Orange Line, and to the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) main campus atop Marquam Hill by the Portland Aerial Tram, as well as roads to Interstate 5 and Oregon Route 43.

Interstate 5 (I-5) in the U.S. state of Oregon is a major Interstate Highway that traverses the state from north to south. It travels to the west of the Cascade Mountains, connecting Portland to Salem, Eugene, Medford, and other major cities in the Willamette Valley and across the northern Siskiyou Mountains. The highway runs 308 miles (496 km) from the California state line near Ashland to the Washington state line in northern Portland, forming the central part of Interstate 5's route between Mexico and Canada.

Tilikum Crossing cable stayed bridge in United States of America

Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People is a cable-stayed bridge across the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon, United States. It was designed by TriMet, the Portland metropolitan area's regional transit authority, for its MAX Orange Line light rail passenger trains. The bridge also serves city buses and the Portland Streetcar, as well as bicycles, pedestrians, and emergency vehicles. Private cars and trucks are not permitted on the bridge. It is the first major bridge in the U.S. that was designed to allow access to transit vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians but not cars.

Cycling in Portland, Oregon description of pedal transport in the largest city in Oregon

Bicycle use in Portland, Oregon has been growing rapidly, having nearly tripled since 2001; for example, bicycle traffic on four of the Willamette River bridges has increased from 2,855 before 1992 to over 16,000 in 2008, partly due to improved facilities. The Portland Bureau of Transportation says 6% of commuters bike to work in Portland, the highest proportion of any major U.S. city and about 10 times the national average.

Charlie Hales Oregon politician

Charles Andrew Hales is a former American politician from Oregon. He served as the 52nd Mayor of Portland from 2013 to 2017, and previously served on the Portland City Council from 1993 to 2002.

There are several well-known and commonly used nicknames referring to Portland, Oregon.

Loop Service Portland Streetcar line

The Loop Service is a streetcar circle line in Portland, Oregon, United States, that is part of the Portland Streetcar system. Operated by Portland Streetcar, Inc. and TriMet, it consists of two distinguished services: the A Loop, which runs clockwise, and the B Loop, which runs counterclockwise. Each service travels 4.4 miles (7.1 km) to form a complete loop and serves 52 stations, connecting downtown Portland and the Central Eastside. The line traverses the Willamette River via two crossings: the Broadway Bridge in the north and Tilikum Crossing in the south.


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