Portland (/ˈpɔːrtlənd/) is the largest 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. The city covers 145 square
miles (380 square kilometers) and had an estimated population of
639,863 in 2016, making it the 26th most populous city in the
United States, and the second-most populous in the Pacific
Northwest. Approximately 2,424,955 people live in the Portland
metropolitan statistical area (MSA), making it the 25th most populous
MSA in the United States. Its
Combined Statistical Area
Combined Statistical Area (CSA) ranks
18th with a population of 3,160,488. Roughly 60% of Oregon's
population resides within the Portland metropolitan area.
Named after Portland, Maine, 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, Portland became noted for its growing
progressive political values, earning it a reputation as a bastion of
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. The city
government is notable for its land-use planning and investment in
public transportation. 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. 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. "Keep Portland Weird" is an unofficial slogan
for the city.
1.1 Pre-history and natives
1.3 Postwar development
1.4 1990s to present
5.1 Music, film, and performing arts
5.2 Museums and recreation
5.3 Cuisine and breweries
8 Parks and gardens
9 Law and government
9.2 Planning and development
9.3 Free speech
10.1 Primary and secondary education
10.2 Higher education
13 Notable people
14 Sister cities
15 See also
19 Further reading
20 External links
Main articles: History of Portland,
Oregon and Timeline of Portland,
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.
Before American pioneers began arriving in the 1800s, the land that
eventually became Portland and surrounding
Multnomah County was
inhabited for many centuries by two bands of indigenous Chinook
people— the Multnomah and the Clackamas peoples. The Chinook
people occupying the land which would become Portland were first
Meriwether Lewis and
William Clark in 1805. Before
its European settlement, the Portland Basin of the lower Columbia
Willamette River valleys had been one of the most densely
populated regions on the Pacific Coast.
Pioneer Courthouse, 1886
1890 map of Portland
Portland waterfront in 1898
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, roughly
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. 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.
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 which Pettygrove won in a series of two out
of three tosses, thereby providing Portland with its namesake. The
coin used for this decision, now known as the Portland Penny, is on
display in the headquarters of the
Oregon Historical Society. At the
time of its incorporation on February 8, 1851, Portland had over 800
inhabitants, a steam sawmill, a log cabin hotel, and a newspaper,
the Weekly Oregonian. 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. By 1879, the population had grown to 17,500 and by 1890 it
had grown to 46,385. In 1888, the city built the first steel
bridge built on the West Coast.
Portland's access to the Pacific Ocean via the Willamette and the
Columbia rivers, as well as its easy access to the agricultural
Tualatin Valley via the "Great Plank Road" (the route of current-day
U.S. Route 26), provided the pioneer city with an advantage over other
nearby ports, and it grew very quickly. Portland remained the
major port in the
Pacific Northwest for much of the 19th century,
until the 1890s, when Seattle's deepwater harbor was connected to the
rest of the mainland by rail, affording an inland route without the
treacherous navigation of the Columbia River. The lumber industry also
became a prominent economical presence, due to the area's large
population of Douglas Firs, Western Hemlocks, Red Cedars, and Big Leaf
The White Eagle saloon (c. 1910), one of many in Portland that had
reputed ties to illegal activities such as gambling rackets and
Burnside Street, 1937
Portland developed a reputation early in its history as a hard-edged
and gritty port town. 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." In 1889,
The Oregonian called Portland "the most filthy
city in the Northern States", due to the unsanitary sewers and
gutters, and, at the turn of the 20th century, it was considered
one of the most dangerous port cities in the world. 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. By the early 20th century, the city had lost its reputation
as a "sober frontier city" and garnered a reputation for being violent
Between 1900 and 1930, the city's population tripled from nearly
100,000 to 301,815. During World War II, it housed an "assembly
center" from which up to 3,676 people of Japanese descent were
dispatched on concentration camps in the heartland. The Pacific
International Livestock Exposition operated from May through September
10, 1942 processing people from the city, northern Oregon, and central
At the same time, Portland became a notorious hub for underground
criminal activity and organized crime between the 1940s and 1950s.
LIFE Magazine published an article detailing the city's
history of government corruption and crime, specifically its gambling
rackets and illegal nightclubs. 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
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. During this time, Portland's population rose by over
150,000, largely attributed to recruited laborers.
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. 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. A large social activist
presence evolved during this time as well, specifically concerning
Native American rights, environmentalist causes, and gay rights.
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.
1990s to present
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.
After the year 2000, Portland experienced significant growth, with a
population rise of over 90,000 between the years 2000 and 2014.
The city's increased presence within the cultural lexicon has
established it as a popular city for young people, and it was second
Louisville, Kentucky as one of the cities to attract and
retain the highest number of college-educated people in the United
States. Between 2001 and 2012, Portland's gross domestic product
per person grew fifty percent, more than any other city in the
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", the latter of which has been its unofficial nickname since
1888 and its official nickname since 2003. 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, Stumptown, Rip City, Soccer
City, P-Town, Portlandia, and the more antiquated
See also: East Bank Fault, Geology of the Pacific Northwest, and
Portland Hills Fault
Mt. Rainier (left) and
Mt. St. Helens
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 (1,180 feet) near Forest Park. 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
Rocky Butte rise to 614 feet (187 m) and 612 feet
(187 m), respectively. To the west of the
Tualatin Mountains lies
Oregon Coast Range, and to the east lies the actively volcanic
Cascade Range. On clear days, Mt. Hood and
Mt. St. Helens
Mt. St. Helens dominate the
horizon, while Mt. Adams and
Mt. Rainier can also be seen in the
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. 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,
Portland lies on top of an extinct volcanic field known as the Boring
Lava Field, named after the nearby bedroom community of Boring.
Boring Lava Field
Boring Lava Field has at least 32 cinder cones such as Mount
Tabor, and its center lies in southeast Portland. Mount St.
Helens, a highly active volcano 50 miles (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.
Architecture of Portland, Oregon; List of tallest buildings
in Portland, Oregon; and Downtown Portland
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. Three of downtown's most heavily used
bridges are more than 100 years old and are designated historic
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
Other bridges that span the Willamette river in the downtown area
include the Burnside Bridge, the
Ross Island Bridge
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
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
Panorama of downtown Portland at night. View from SE Portland across
the Willamette River.
Willamette River runs through the center of the city, while Mount
Tabor (center) rises on the city's east side.
Mount St. Helens
Mount St. Helens (left)
Mount Hood (right center) are visible from many places in the
See also: Neighborhoods of Portland, Oregon
The five "quadrants" of 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
Ladd Carriage House, downtown Portland
United States National Bank Building, downtown Portland
The five quadrants of Portland 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. The official quadrants of Portland
are: North, Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, and Southeast, with
downtown Portland in the SW quadrant. The
Willamette River divides the
east and west quadrants while Burnside Street, which traverses the
entire city lengthwise, divides the north and south quadrants. All
addresses within the city are denoted as belonging to one of these
specific quadrants with the prefixes: N, NW, NE, SW or SE.
Pearl District (left) from the Steel Bridge
Lloyd District from downtown Portland
Though officially in SW Portland, the RiverPlace, John's Landing and
South Waterfront neighborhoods lie in a so-called (but unofficial)
"sixth quadrant" called South Portland, where addresses rise higher
from west to east toward the river. This "sixth quadrant" is roughly
bounded by Naito Parkway and Barbur Boulevard to the west, Montgomery
Street to the north and Nevada Street to the south. East-West
addresses in this area are denoted with a leading zero (instead of a
minus sign). This means 0246 SW California St. is not the same as 246
SW California St. Many mapping programs cannot distinguish between
them. In 2018, the city's Bureau of Transportation finalized a plan to
transition this part of Portland into a new "sixth sextant" South
Portland, beginning in May 2020 and by May 2025, to reduce confusions
by 9-1-1 dispatchers and delivery services.  Using the
aforementioned example, 0246 SW California St. will become 246 S.
California St. effective May 2020.
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. 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.
Northeast Portland is home to the Lloyd District, Alberta Arts
District, and the Hollywood District. The northernmost point of the
city, known simply as North Portland, is also largely residential; it
contains the St. Johns neighborhood, which is historically one of the
most ethnically diverse and poorest neighborhoods in the city.
Old Town Chinatown
Old Town Chinatown is next to the Pearl District in Northwest
Portland, while Southwest Portland consists largely of the downtown
district, made up of commercial businesses, museums, skyscrapers, and
public landmarks. Southeast Portland is largely residential, and
consists of the Hawthorne District, Belmont, Brooklyn, and Mount
South Waterfront area has developed into a mecca of shops,
condominiums, and apartments. The area is served by the Portland
MAX Orange Line
MAX Orange Line and four
TriMet bus lines.
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Portland experiences a temperate climate with both oceanic and
Mediterranean features. This climate is characterized by warm, dry
summers and cool, rainy winters. The precipitation pattern is
distinctly Mediterranean, with little to no rainfall occurring during
the summer months and more than half of annual precipitation falling
between November and February. Of the three most populated cities
Pacific Northwest (Seattle,
Vancouver and Portland)
Portland has the warmest average temperature, the highest number of
sunshine hours, and the fewest inches of rainfall and snowfall.
According to the Köppen climate classification, Portland falls within
the dry-summer mild temperate zone (Csb), also referred to as a
warm-summer Mediterranean climate with a USDA Plant Hardiness
Zones between 8b and 9a. 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.
Summers in Portland are warm to hot, dry, and sunny. 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 with
temperatures rising well above 90 °F (32 °C) for days at a
time, and sometimes above 100 °F (38 °C). On average,
temperatures reach or exceed 80 °F (27 °C) 56 days per
year, of which 12 days will reach 90 °F (32 °C) and 1.4
days will reach 100 °F (38 °C). The most 90-degree days
ever recorded in one year is 29, which happened in 2015. The
highest temperature ever recorded was 107 °F (42 °C),
on July 30, 1965, as well as August 8 and 10, 1981. The warmest
recorded overnight low was 74 °F (23 °C) on July 28,
2009. A temperature of 100 °F (38 °C) has been
recorded in all five months from May through September.
Portland's climate is conducive to the growth of roses. (Pictured:
Rose Test Garden)
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, consistently mild temperatures in the 50s
and 60s °F (12–19 °C) are the norm – with lengthy
stretches of cloudy or partly cloudy days beginning in mid fall and
continuing into mid spring. 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.
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. Evening temperatures
fall to or below freezing 33 nights per year on average, but very
rarely to or below 20 °F (−7 °C). There are only 2.1
days per year where the daytime high temperature fails to rise above
freezing. The lowest overnight temperature ever recorded was
−3 °F (−19 °C), on February 2, 1950 while the
coldest daytime high temperature ever recorded was 14 °F
(−10 °C) on December 30, 1968. The average window for
freezing temperatures to potentially occur is between November 15 and
March 19, allowing a growing season of 240 days.
Snowfall is uncommon with a normal yearly accumulation of 4.3 inches
(10.9 cm), which usually falls during only two or three days per
year. Portland has one of the warmest and least snowy winters of any
Sun Belt city in the United States, with more than 25 percent of
its winters receiving no snow whatsoever. The city of Portland
avoids snow more frequently than its suburbs, due in part to its low
elevation and urban heat island effect. Neighborhoods outside of the
downtown core, especially in slightly higher elevations near the West
Hills and Mount Tabor, can experience a dusting of snow while downtown
receives no accumulation at all. The city has experienced a few major
snow and ice storms in its past with extreme totals having reached
44.5 in (113 cm) at the airport in 1949–50 and
60.9 in (155 cm) at downtown in 1892–93.
Climate data for Portland,
Oregon (PDX), 1981–2010 normals,[a]
Record high °F (°C)
Mean maximum °F (°C)
Average high °F (°C)
Average low °F (°C)
Mean minimum °F (°C)
Record low °F (°C)
Average precipitation inches (mm)
Average snowfall inches (cm)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)
Average relative humidity (%)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Percent possible sunshine
Source: NOAA (relative humidity and sun 1961–1990)
U.S. Decennial Census
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). 9.4% were Hispanic or Latino, of any race (54,840).
Whites not of Hispanic origin made up 72.2% of the total
In 1940, Portland's African-American population was approximately
2,000 and largely consisted of railroad employees and their
families. During the war-time
Liberty Ship construction boom, the
need for workers drew many blacks to the city. The new influx of
blacks settled in specific neighborhoods, such as the Albina district
and Vanport. The May 1948 flood which destroyed Vanport eliminated the
only integrated neighborhood, and an influx of blacks into the
northeast quadrant of the city continued. Portland's longshoremen
racial mix was described as being "lily-white" in the 1960s, when the
International Longshore and Warehouse Union
International Longshore and Warehouse Union declined to
represent grain handlers since some were black.
At 6.3%, Portland's African American population is three times the
state average. Over two thirds of Oregon's African-American residents
live in Portland. As of the 2000 census, three of its high schools
(Cleveland, Lincoln and Wilson) were over 70% white, reflecting the
overall population, while Jefferson High School was 87% non-white. The
remaining six schools have a higher number of non-whites, including
blacks and Asians. Hispanic students average from 3.3% at Wilson to
31% at Roosevelt.
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%). A small
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
With about 12,000 Vietnamese residing in the city proper, Portland has
one of the largest Vietnamese populations in America per capita.
According to statistics there are 21,000 Pacific Islanders in
Portland, making up 4% of the population.
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. 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. Some scholars have noted the
Pacific Northwest as a whole is "one of the last Caucasian bastions of
the United States". While Portland's diversity was historically
comparable to metro
Seattle and Salt Lake City, those areas grew more
diverse in the late 1990s and 2000s. Portland not only remains white,
but migration to Portland is disproportionately white.
Oregon Territory banned African American settlement in 1849. In
the 19th century, certain laws allowed the immigration of Chinese
laborers but prohibited them from owning property or bringing their
families. The early 1920s saw the rapid growth of the Ku
Klux Klan, which became very influential in
culminating in the election of
Walter M. Pierce
Walter M. Pierce as
The largest influxes of minority populations occurred during World War
II, as the African American population grew by a factor of 10 for
wartime work. After World War II, the Vanport flood in 1948
displaced many African Americans. As they resettled, redlining
directed the displaced workers from the wartime settlement to
neighboring Albina. There and elsewhere in Portland,
they experienced police hostility, lack of employment, and mortgage
discrimination, leading to half the black population leaving after the
In the 1980s and 1990s, radical skinhead groups flourished in
Portland. In 1988, Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian immigrant, was
killed by three skinheads. The response to his murder involved a
community-driven series of rallies, campaigns, nonprofits and events
designed to address Portland's racial history, leading to a city
considered significantly more tolerant than in 1988 at Seraw's
During the early 2000s, displacement of minorities occurred at a
drastic rate. Out of 29 census tracts in north and northeast Portland,
ten were majority nonwhite in 2000. By 2010, none of these tracts were
majority nonwhite as gentrification drove the cost of living up.
Today, Portland's African-American community is concentrated in the
north and northeast section of the city, mainly in the King
neighborhood. In 2017, the gentrification of Portland was named by
Realtor.com to be among the fastest gentrification of cities in the
As of the 2010 census, there are 583,776 people residing in the city,
organized into 235,508 households. The population density is 4,375.2
people per square mile. There are 265,439 housing units at an average
density of 1989.4 per square mile (1,236.3/km²). Population growth in
Portland increased 10.3% between 2000 and 2010. Population growth
Portland metropolitan area
Portland metropolitan area has outpaced the national average
during the last decade, and this is expected to continue over the next
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
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. 8.10% of the population spoke Spanish (54,036),
with Vietnamese speakers making up 1.94%, and Russian 1.46%.
St. Michael the Archangel Church; of the 35% of religiously affiliated
Roman Catholics make up the largest group.
Portland metropolitan area
Portland metropolitan area has historically had a significant LGBT
population throughout the late 20th and 21st century. 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. 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%. The city held its first pride festival in 1975 on the
Portland State University
Portland State University campus.
Portland has been cited as the least religious city in the United
States, with over 42% of residents identifying as religiously
"unaffiliated," according to the nonpartisan and nonprofit Public
Religion Research Institute's American Values Atlas. Of the
35.89% of the city's residents who do identify as religious, Roman
Catholics make up the largest group, at 15.8%. The second highest
religious group in the city are Evangelical Christians at 6.04%, with
Baptists following behind at 2.5%.
Latter Day Saints
Latter Day Saints make up 2.3% of
the city's religiously affiliated population, with
Pentecostal following behind. 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.
See also: Companies based in Portland, Oregon
Portland's location is beneficial for several industries. Relatively
low energy cost, accessible resources, north–south and east–west
Interstates, international air terminals, large marine shipping
facilities, and both west coast intercontinental railroads are all
economic advantages. The 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.
In 2012, the city was listed among the 10 best places to retire in the
U.S. by CBS MoneyWatch.
Adidas has its North American headquarters in the Overlook
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. 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. The city of Portland is largest shipper of
wheat in the United States, and is the second-largest port
for wheat in the world.
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
Technology is a major component of the city's economy, with more than
1,200 technology companies existing within the metro. This high
density of technology companies has led to the nickname Silicon Forest
being used to describe the Portland area, a reference to the abundance
of trees in the region and to the
Silicon Valley region in Northern
California. The area also hosts facilities for software companies
and online startup companies, some supported by local seed funding
organizations and business incubators. Computer components
Intel is the Portland area's largest employer, providing
jobs for more than 15,000 people, with several campuses to the west of
central Portland in the city of Hillsboro.
The Portland metro area has become a business cluster for athletic and
footwear manufacturers. The area is home to the global, North
American or U.S. headquarters of Nike, Adidas, Columbia Sportswear,
LaCrosse Footwear, Dr. Martens, Li-Ning, Keen, and Hi-Tec
Sports. 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 and Storables.
Breweries are another major industry in Portland, which is home to 85
breweries/microbreweries, the most of any city in the
world. Additionally, the city boasts a robust
coffee culture that now rivals
Seattle and hosts over 20 coffee
In 2016, home prices in Portland grew faster than in any other city in
the United States. 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. New sky
rise apartment building and condo complexes have changed the skyline
of the city, adding over 16,000 new units since 2010.
Music, film, and performing arts
See also: Music of
Oregon and List of films shot in Northwestern
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. The city is
also home to several theaters and performing arts institutions,
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. Portland is home to famous bands
such as the Kingsmen and Paul Revere & the Raiders, both famous
for their association with the song "Louie Louie" (1963). Other
widely known musical groups include the Dandy Warhols, 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. 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
Courtney Love in 1990. Love was then a resident
of Portland and started several bands there with Kat Bjelland, later
of Babes in Toyland. Multi-
Grammy award-winning jazz artist
Esperanza Spalding is from Portland and performed with the Chamber
Music Society of
Oregon at a young age.
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
Gus Van Sant has
notably set and shot many of his films in the city. 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, was shot on location in Portland, and
satirized the city as a hub of liberal politics, organic food,
alternative lifestyles, and anti-establishment attitudes. MTV's
long-time running reality show
The Real World
The Real World was also shot in
Portland for the show's 29th season: The Real World: Portland
MTV in 2013. Other television series shot in the
city include Leverage, The Librarians, Under Suspicion, Grimm,
and Nowhere Man.
An unusual feature of Portland entertainment is the large number of
movie theaters serving beer, often with second-run or revival
films. Notable examples of these "brew and view" theaters include
the Bagdad Theater and Pub, a former vaudeville theater built in 1927
by Universal Studios; Cinema 21; and the Laurelhurst Theater, in
operation since 1923. Portland hosts the world's longest-running H. P.
Lovecraft Film Festival at the Hollywood Theatre.
Oregon Symphony performs at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.
The Hollywood Theatre is a non-profit organization.
The Art Deco-styled
Laurelhurst Theater in the Kerns neighborhood was
opened in 1923.
Avalon Theatre in the Belmont neighborhood plays second-run films.
The Moreland Theater in the Westmoreland neighborhood
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest premiered at the Bagdad Theater in
Museums and recreation
See also: List of museums in Portland, Oregon; Tourism in Portland,
Oregon; and List of artists and art institutions in Portland, Oregon
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, the ultra-large-screen Empirical Theater (which
replaced an OMNIMAX theater in 2013), and the Kendall
World Forestry Center
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
Portland Art Museum
Portland Art Museum
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.
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.
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. 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. In
2014, the Washington Post called Portland the fourth best city for
food in the United States.
Travel + Leisure
Travel + Leisure ranked Portland's
food and bar scene No. 5 in the nation in 2012. Portland is
also known as a leader in specialty coffee. The city is
Stumptown Coffee Roasters
Stumptown Coffee Roasters as well as dozens of other
micro-roasteries and cafes.
Widmer Brewing Company headquarters
Portland has the most breweries and independent microbreweries of any
city in the world, with 58 active breweries
within city limits and 70+ within the surrounding metro
area. The city receives frequent acclaim as the best beer city in
United States and is consistently ranked as one of the top-five
beer destinations in the world. Portland has played a prominent
role in the microbrewery revolution in the U.S. and is nicknamed
"Beertown" and "Beervana" as a result. 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
Portland hosts a number of festivals throughout the year that
celebrtate beer and brewing, including the
Oregon Brewers Festival,
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. Other major
beer festivals throughout the calendar year include the Spring Beer
and Wine Festival in April, the North American Organic Brewers
Festival in June, the
Portland International Beerfest in July,
and the Holiday Ale Festival in December.
Portland is often awarded "Greenest City in America" and similar
Popular Science awarded Portland the title of the
Greenest City in America in 2008, and Grist magazine listed it in
2007 as the second greenest city in the world. The city became a
pioneer of state-directed metropolitan planning, a program which was
instituted statewide in 1969 to compact the urban growth boundaries of
Main article: Sports in Portland, Oregon
Providence Park, home of the
Portland Timbers and the Portland Thorns
Portland is home to two major league sports franchises: the Portland
Trail Blazers of the NBA and the
Portland Timbers of Major League
Portland Thorns of the
National Women's Soccer League
National Women's Soccer League also
play in Portland. 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. 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
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. The Timbers joined MLS in 2011 and have sold out
every home match since joining the league, a streak that has now
reached 70+ matches. The Timbers season ticket waiting list has
reached 10,000+, the longest waiting list in MLS. 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.
The Moda Center, home of the Portland Trail Blazers
Two rival universities exist within Portland city limits: the
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.
The Shamrock Run, held annually on St. Patrick's Day
Running is a popular activity in Portland and every year the city
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.
Portland also hosts numerous cycling events and has become an elite
bicycle racing destination. The
Oregon Bicycle Racing
Association supports hundreds of official bicycling events every year.
Weekly events at
Alpenrose Velodrome and Portland International
Raceway allow for racing nearly every night of the week from March
Cyclocross races, such as the Cross Crusade, can
attract over 1,000 riders and spectators.
Portland area sports teams
Portland Thorns FC
National Women's Soccer League
2 (2013, 2017)
Major League Soccer
Portland Timbers 2
Portland Timbers U23s
Premier Development League
Portland Trail Blazers
Western Hockey League
2 (1982–83, 1997–98)
Parks and gardens
Main article: List of parks in Portland, Oregon
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. Ten years later,
more than 8,100 acres (33 km2) of ecologically valuable natural
areas had been purchased and permanently protected from
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
Forest Park is the largest wilderness park within city limits in the
United States, covering more than 5,000 acres (2,023 ha).
Portland is also home to Mill Ends Park, the world's smallest park (a
two-foot-diameter circle, the park's area is only about 0.3 m2).
Washington Park is just west of downtown and is home to the Oregon
Zoo, Hoyt Arboretum, the Portland Japanese Garden, and the
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
Rose Garden, the rose gardens of Ladd's Addition, the Crystal
Springs Rhododendron Garden, the Leach Botanical Garden, and The
Portland's downtown features two groups of contiguous city blocks
dedicated for park space: the North and South Park Blocks.
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. The
nearby historically significant
Burnside Skatepark and five indoor
skateparks give Portland a reputation as possibly "the most
skateboard-friendly town in America."
Tryon Creek State Natural Area
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
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. ParkScore ranks city park systems by a
formula that analyzes the city's median park size, park acres as
percent of city area, the percent of city residents within a half-mile
of a park, spending of park services per resident, and the number of
playgrounds per 10,000 residents. The survey revealed that 80% of
Portlanders live within a half-mile to a park, and over 16% of
Portland's city area is parkland.
Holly Farm Park
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.
Located in Downtown Portland,
Keller Fountain Park
Keller Fountain Park is named for
Portland Development Commission chairwoman Ira Keller.
Portland Japanese Garden
Portland Japanese Garden is a traditional
Japanese garden that
opened in 1967.
Cathedral Park, under the St. Johns Bridge, hosts an annual jazz music
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
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
See also: Government of Portland, Oregon
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.
Built in 1869,
Pioneer Courthouse (pictured) is the oldest federal
building in the Pacific Northwest
The city's Office of Neighborhood Involvement serves as a conduit
between city government and Portland's 95 officially recognized
neighborhoods. Each neighborhood is represented by a volunteer-based
neighborhood association which serves as a liaison between residents
of the neighborhood and the city government. The city provides funding
to neighborhood associations through seven district coalitions, each
of which is a geographical grouping of several neighborhood
associations. Most (but not all) neighborhood associations belong to
one of these district coalitions.
Portland and its surrounding metropolitan area are served by Metro,
the United States' only directly elected metropolitan planning
organization. Metro's charter gives it responsibility for land use and
transportation planning, solid waste management, and map development.
Metro also owns and operates the
Oregon Convention Center,
Portland Center for the Performing Arts, and Portland Metropolitan
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 technically non-partisan.
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
Diane Rosenbaum (District 21),
Chip Shields (District
Jackie Dingfelder (District 23), and
Rod Monroe (District 24).
Portland sends six Representatives to the state House of
Jules Bailey (District 42),
Lew Frederick (District
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.
Sam Adams, the former mayor of Portland, became the city's first
openly gay mayor in 2009. In 2004, 59.7 percent of Multnomah
County voters cast ballots against
Oregon Ballot Measure 36, which
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,
Oregon State University. On April 28, 2005, Portland
became the only city in the nation to withdraw from a Joint Terrorism
Task Force. As of February 19, 2015, the Portland city
council approved permanently staffing the JTTF with two of its city's
Voter registration and party enrollment As of December
Number of voters
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 andthe
40 Mile Loop
40 Mile Loop greenway,
which interconnects many of the city's parks. Portland is often
cited as an example of a city with strong land use planning
controls. This is largely the result of statewide land
conservation policies adopted in 1973 under Governor Tom McCall, in
particular the requirement for an urban growth boundary (UGB) for
every city and metropolitan area. The opposite extreme, a city with
few or no controls, is typically illustrated by
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
Portland's urban growth boundary, adopted in 1979, separates urban
areas (where high-density development is encouraged and focused) from
traditional farm land (where restrictions on non-agricultural
development are very strict). This was atypical in an era when
automobile use led many areas to neglect their core cities in favor of
development along interstate highways, in suburbs, and satellite
cities. The original state rules included a provision for expanding
urban growth boundaries, but critics felt this wasn't being
accomplished. In 1995, the State passed a law requiring cities to
expand UGBs to provide enough undeveloped land for a 20-year supply of
future housing at projected growth levels.
Oregon's 1973 "urban growth boundary" law limits the boundaries for
large-scale development in each metropolitan area in Oregon. This
limits access to utilities such as sewage, water and
telecommunications, as well as coverage by fire, police and
schools. Originally this law mandated 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. The growth boundary, along with efforts of the PDC to
create economic development zones, has led to the development of a
large portion of downtown, a large number of mid- and high-rise
developments, and an overall increase in housing and business
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 PDC led the razing of a large Italian-Jewish
neighborhood downtown, bounded roughly by I-405, the Willamette River,
4th Avenue and Market street. Mayor
Neil Goldschmidt took office
in 1972 as a proponent of bringing housing and the associated vitality
back to the downtown area, which was seen as emptying out after
5 pm. The effort has had dramatic effects in the 30 years since,
with many thousands of new housing units clustered in three areas:
Portland State University
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.).
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. 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
MAX Light Rail and
extensive bike paths. 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.
As of 2012, Portland was the largest city in the
United States that
did not add fluoride to its public water supply, and fluoridation
has historically been a subject of controversy in the city.
Portland voters have four times voted against fluoridation, in 1956,
1962, 1980 (repealing a 1978 vote in favor), and 2013. In 2012
the city council, responding to advocacy from public health
organizations and others, voted unanimously to begin fluoridation by
2014. Fluoridation opponents forced a public vote on the issue,
and on May 21, 2013, city voters again rejected fluoridation.
Protests against the Iraq War
Protests against the Iraq War on March 19, 2006
Strong free speech protections of the
Oregon Constitution upheld by
Oregon Supreme Court in State v. Henry, specifically found
that full nudity and lap dances in strip clubs are protected
speech. 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. In addition to its strip clubs and
erotic massage parlors, the city also has a high rate of child sex
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
2004—has created a "well-established tradition" in Portland where
cyclists may ride naked as a form of protest against cars and fossil
fuel dependence. The defendant was not riding in the official
World Naked Bike Ride
World Naked Bike Ride at the time of his arrest as it had occurred 12
days earlier that year, on June 14.
A state law prohibiting publicly insulting a person in a way likely to
provoke a violent response was tested in Portland and struck down
unanimously by the State Supreme Court as violating protected free
speech and being overly broad.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime
Report in 2009, Portland ranked 53rd in violent crime out of the top
75 U.S. cities with a population greater than 250,000. The murder
rate in Portland 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
Below is a sortable table containing violent crime data from each
Portland neighborhood during the calendar year of 2014.
Violent Crime by Neighborhood in Portland (2014)
Per 100,000 residents
Rose City Park
West Portland Park
Main article: Education in Portland, Oregon
Primary and secondary education
St. Mary's Academy, a private
Roman Catholic girls' school established
Six public school districts and many private schools serve Portland.
Portland Public Schools is the largest school district, operating 85
public schools. David Douglas High School, in the Powellhurst
neighborhood, has the largest enrollment of any public high school in
the city. Other high schools include Benson Polytechnic High
School, Cleveland High School, Grant High School, Jefferson High
School, Madison High School and Roosevelt High School. Established in
1869, Lincoln 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).
Former public schools in the city included Washington High School,
which operated from 1906 until 1981, as well as Jackson High School,
which also closed the same year.
The area's private schools include The Northwest Academy, Portland
Jewish Academy, Rosemary Anderson High School, Portland Adventist
Lutheran School, the Portland Waldorf School, and
Trinity Academy. 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.
Eliot Hall, Reed College
Urban Center, Portland State University
Portland State University
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. It has been named among the top
fifteen percentile of American universities by The Princeton Review
for undergraduate education, and has been internationally
recognized for its degrees in
Masters of Business Administration and
urban planning. 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 rigorous liberal arts college, ranked by Forbes
as the 52nd best college in the country; and Lewis & Clark
Other institutions of higher learning within the city are:
Pacific Northwest College of Art
Warner Pacific College
Oregon College of Oriental Medicine
National University of Natural Medicine
The Art Institute of Portland
Northwest Film Center
Lewis & Clark Law School
Oregon Culinary Institute
University of Western States
Main article: Media in Portland, Oregon
See also: List of radio stations in
Oregon and List of television
stations in Oregon
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,
KPTV is the
Fox Broadcasting Company
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
The Portland Mercury
The Portland Mercury (another alt-weekly, targeted at
younger urban readers published on Thursdays), The Asian Reporter (a
weekly covering Asian news, both international and local) and The
Skanner (a weekly African-American newspaper covering both local and
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
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.
Main article: List of hospitals in Portland, Oregon
Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center
Legacy Health, a non-profit healthcare system in Portland, operates
multiple facilities in the city and surrounding suburbs. These
include Legacy Emanuel, founded in 1912, in Northeast Portland; and
Legacy Good Samaritan, founded in 1875, and in Northwest
Portland. 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.
The Catholic-affiliated Providence Health & Services operates
Providence Portland Medical Center
Providence Portland Medical Center in the North Tabor neighborhood of
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
Adventist Medical Center also serves the city. Shriners Hospital for
Children is a small children's hospital established in 1923.
Main article: Transportation in Portland, Oregon
MAX Light Rail
MAX Light Rail is the centerpiece of the city's public transportation
Portland Streetcar is a three-line system serving downtown and nearby
Portland metropolitan area
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
Travel + Leisure
Travel + Leisure magazine rated Portland as the No. 1 most
pedestrian and transit-friendly city in the United States. A 2011
Walk Score ranked Portland 12th most walkable of fifty
largest U.S. cities.
In 2008, 12.6% of all commutes in Portland were on public
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.
WES Commuter Rail
WES Commuter Rail opened in
February 2009 in Portland's western suburbs, linking Beaverton and
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
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. The east-side line completed a
loop to the tracks on the west side of the river upon completion of
Tilikum Crossing in 2015, 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
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
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, and subsequently to discontinue the fare-free zone
entirely in 2012.
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.
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
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 ranks 13th in traffic
congestion of all American cities, and is 16th among all North
Portland's main airport is Portland International Airport, about 20
minutes by car (40 minutes by MAX) northeast of downtown. 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
Coast Starlight (with service from Los Angeles to Seattle)
Empire Builder (with service from Seattle/Portland to
Amtrak Cascades state-supported trains operate between
Vancouver and Eugene, Oregon, and serve Portland several times daily.
The city is also served by
Greyhound Lines intercity bus service which
BoltBus an express bus service. The bus depot is about one
block from the Portland Union Station. The city's first airport was
Swan Island Municipal Airport
Swan Island Municipal Airport which was closed in the 1940s.
Portland Aerial Tram
Portland Aerial Tram connects the
South Waterfront district with
Portland is the only city in the
United States that owns operating
mainline steam locomotives, donated to the city in 1958 by the
railroads that ran them. Spokane, Portland &
Seattle 700 and
Southern Pacific 4449
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. These trains and others
are operated by volunteers of the
Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation, an
amalgamation of rail preservation groups which collaborated on the
finance and construction of the
Oregon Rail Heritage Center, a
permanent and publicly accessible home for the locomotives, which
opened in 2012 adjacent to OMSI.
In Portland, cycling is a significant mode of transportation. As the
city has been particularly supportive of urban bicycling it now ranks
highly among the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world.
Approximately 8% of commuters bike to work, the highest proportion of
any major U.S. city and about 10 times the national average. 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. A new bicycle-sharing system, Biketown, launched on July
19, 2016, with 100 stations in the city's central and eastside
neighborhoods. The bikes were provided by Social Bicycles, and
the system is operated by Motivate.
Car sharing through Zipcar, Car2Go, Getaround, and
Uhaul Car Share
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
South Waterfront district on the
Willamette River to the
Oregon Health & Science University campus on Marquam Hill above.
St. Johns Bridge
Glenn Jackson Bridge
For a more comprehensive list, see List of people from Portland,
Japan is Portland's oldest sister city
Portland has ten sister cities and one "friendship city" (Utrecht);
each city is required to maintain long-term involvement and
Japan (November 17, 1959)
Mexico (September 23, 1983)
Israel (October 13, 1987)
South Korea (November 20, 1987)
Suzhou, Jiangsu, People's Republic of
China (June 7, 1988)
Russia (June 10, 1988)
Taiwan (October 11, 1988)
Zimbabwe (December 18, 1991)
Italy (June 5, 2003)
Malaysia (September 29, 2014)
United States portal
List of hospitals in Portland, Oregon
List of sports venues in Portland, Oregon
Roses in Portland, Oregon
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon
Keep Portland Weird
^ 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.
^ Official records for Portland have been kept at PDX since 13 October
1940. 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.
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