It was in 1845 that Portland received its name. Before this, the area was simply known as “the clearing.” The principal founders of Portland, Asa Lovejoy and Frances Pettygrove, wanted to name the town different names. Since Lovejoy was from Massachusetts, he wanted to name the place Boston and since Pettygrove was from Maine, he wanted to name the place Portland. So, they decided to flip a coin. Pettygrove won 2 of the 3 flips and, fortunately, the name Portland was chosen. This may be the stuff of legend but it actually happened. The famous penny is on display at the Oregon Historical Society. Population estimates of 2009 show that Portland, Oregon has about 582,000 residents, making it the 30th most populous city in the United States and they are the most populous city in Oregon. Portland is also the 3rd most populous city in the Northwest, next to Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia. The Metropolitan area has approximately 2.22 million people, making it the 23rd most populous Metropolitan area in the United States. The official nickname for Portland is the “City of Roses.” A resolution was adopted by the city in June 2003 recognizing it as the official nickname of Portland. The term was first coined in 1888 when visitors with the Episcopal Church Convention mentioned the beautiful roses in the area. The first Portland Rose Festival was held in 1907 and it is still the city’s major annual festival. Portland has the smallest park within city limits in the Nation, Mill End Park, which is 2.5 feet in diameter. Forest Park, on the other hand, has over 5,000 square acres, making it the largest urban wilderness area in the Nation. Surprisingly enough, it is illegal to pump your own gas in the State of Oregon.
In 1843, William Overton, from Tennessee, and Asa Lovejoy, a Boston lawyer, were traveling down the Willamette River and beached their canoe at the spot that would become Portland. Overton, who didn’t have the $0.25 to file a land claim, sold half of the 640 acres of land to Lovejoy. The area became known simply as “the clearing.” Later, Overton left and sold his half to Frances Pettygrove, from Maine. Lovejoy and Pettygrove’s coin flip happened in 1845.
The city’s first Post Office was built in 1849. By 1850, there were about 800 residents in Portland. In that year, the US Congress passed the Oregon Land Act, which entitled every man or woman to 320 acres of land. Portland was incorporated in 1851 and Oregon became the 33rd State in 1859. Previously, Oregon was a part of Oregon Territory, a stretch of land encompassing the states of Washington, Idaho, and Montana. The current state line was drawn in 1859. By the end of the 19th century, Portland had about 90,000 residents, the largest Metropolitan area of the Northwest, and was the busiest port north of San Francisco. Ben Holladay began the Oregon and California Railroad in 1869, and it finally opened to California in 1887 after the South Pacific Railroad took over construction. The Rose Festival, which began in 1907, encompasses several months annually. It includes several parades, such as the Grand Floral Parade, which is the 2nd largest floral parade in the Nation, and numerous other events.
The .com boom of the mid to late 1990’s saw a major influx of creative young people, not just for Portland’s beautiful scenery, primarily for the work opportunities in the graphic design and internet industries. Subsequently, another nickname was coined, “Silicon Forest.”
In 2008, four magazines and one US consulting firm, gave acclaim to Portland, Oregon. Popular Science magazine said that Portland was #1 of the Greenest Cities in the Nation. Forbes magazine extolled that Portland was the 5th Cleanest City in the United States. Fit Pregnancy said that Portland was the #1 Best City to have a baby in. Bicyclist magazine said that Portland was the 2nd largest bicycle commuter city in the Nation. Lastly, the US consulting firm Mercel said that Portland placed 42nd in the world for cities with the best quality of life.
Out of the 40 major Metropolitan areas within the United States, Portland is 24th in highest cost of living. Portland, Oregon’s cost of living is 9.5% above the National average. Gasoline prices are even higher. As of September 2010, the price of gasoline in Portland is $2.93 per gallon vs. the National average of $2.70 per gallon. The climate in Portland is considered an Oceanic or Marine West Coast climate. This means there are relatively dry, warm summers and mild, damp winters. July is normally the hottest month of the year. The normal high for July is 81 degrees and the normal low is about 58 degrees. Winters are mild to cool and it is generally very moist. January temperatures usually reach a high of 46 degrees and the lows are usually about 37 degrees. There are, on average, 155 days annually with measurable precipitation. The amount of rainfall normally averages about 37.5 inches annually. Annual snowfall can be either a trace or up to 6 inches. The most snow, 60.9 inches, fell in the winter of 1892-1893. Median home sales are $240,000, down 4% or $2,200 from 2009. The average rental, as of July 2010, is $846, which is up 0.8% from June 2010.
As of July 2010, Portland’s unemployment rate is nearly a full percentage point higher than the national average of 9.5%. There are approximately 122,000 people unemployed within the Portland Metropolitan area. For those that are employed, the median income is $44,273 versus the national average of $48,451. There are many large industries, though, that continue to add to their workforces frequently. Intel is the largest employer in Portland. They currently employ about 14,000 residents. There are also about 1,200 other technology companies within the region. Because of the high density of technology companies within Portland, the city has garnered the nickname “Silicon Forest.” Other major employers include Adidas, Nike, Precision Castparts Corporation, and the Columbia Sportswear Company. The steel industry employs many people, the most prominent being Schnitzer Steel.
A program to help the disabled return to the workforce in Oregon is called Ticket to Work. It is an employment program enacted to help those with disabilities who are interested in going to work. This program is part of the Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999. This act removes many concerns by the disabled about the possibility of losing their healthcare coverage if they went back to work. These tickets are used to help those persons find an Employment Network Provider. Once one is found, the EN will help the person find work and, for every month the ticket-holder is employed, at a predetermined wage, the ENs will receive revenue and the employed person will not lose their healthcare benefits from Social Security.
Seafood, innovative dishes, and plain old down-home cooking are dominant within Portland. Many restaurants in the area pride themselves on using organic locally grown produce and free-range meats. Iorio Restaurant, on SE Hawthorne Road, is open from Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 9 pm. They offer elegant meals at reasonable prices. Chef Chris Thompson offers many Northwest dishes such as cornmeal crusted calamari (voted the Best in Portland) and Oregon Razor clams. It has been billed as one of Portland’s “most romantic restaurants.” Aqui Mexican Café, on SE 12th Avenue, has been reviewed as one of the most traditional Mexican restaurants north of the California/Oregon border. It was established in 2005 and they offer a variety of traditional Mexican dishes as well as the surprisingly unique. They have a cozy lounge, an eclectic dining room, and a heated patio. They also have marion berry, strawberry, or mango margaritas.
The Bluehour, on NW 13th Avenue, is Portland’s “Most Exclusive Restaurant.” Bluehour caters to the upscale set and their average main dish costs about $30. The fare that they offer is Northwest in orientation but they have a distinctive Mediterranean flair. For the first course, they offer seared scallops, beef Carpaccio, grilled quail, or poached oysters. Their main course menu changes daily and they have an in-house pastry chef.
In 2000, the US Census Bureau calculated that there were over 10,000 artists living within Portland. Consequently, the arts are alive and well in Portland, Oregon. The Portland Art Museum on SW Park Avenue was founded in the 1890’s and it is the oldest art institution in the area. Their permanent collection includes Chinese artifacts, European and Classical pieces, Northwest Coastal Indian art and they even offer an outdoor sculpture garden. Imago, on SE 8th Street, is a theater company that offers the patron displays of originality in every production. It was founded in 1979 by Jerry Mouawad and Carol Triffle. The company aims to place design and form at the forefront of theater creation. They were given the New York Dance Film Award recently. They were also awarded the title of “Best Touring Production” given by the Independent Reviewers of New England.
The Portland Opera, on SE Caruthers Street, was established in 1964. It is a vital part of the area’s cultural activity and identity. They are known to be a leader in making the opera more accessible to everyone and, in 1984, they became the second Opera in the United States to use Projected English translations (sub-titles) for the operas that were sung in a foreign language. In 2005 the Portland Opera established a Studio Artists program to train the next generation of opera singers. This program provides a “bridge” from the conservatory-taught world to the professional stage. The program takes youths from all across the country and gives them this opportunity which includes a rigorous 9 month training program.
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, on SE Water Avenue, is a technology museum with exhibits about computers and the earth and space sciences. They feature an earthquake-simulation room and a kid’s interactive make-believe village as well as a planetarium. General museum admission for adults is $11, seniors and children get in for $9 and parking is $2. Many other attractions such as the Omnimax Theater, submarine tours, the laser evening show and the motion simulator have their own fees.
The Japanese Garden, on SW Kingston Avenue, opened in 1967. It was designed by a Japanese landscape architect. It is five separate gardens in one. They are the Strolling Pond, Tea, Natural, Flat and Dry Landscape Garden. Using water, vegetation and stones each garden has their own character and spirit. Admission for adults is $9.50, seniors (62+) and students are $7.75, and $6.75 for children ages 6 through 17. There is also the Classical Chinese Garden in Portland. It encompasses an entire city block near Chinatown. This walled garden was designed by an architect from Suzhou, a Portland sister city. It is a microcosm of the natural world that is composed of rocks, water, and vegetation that are symbolically placed. Courtyards, gateways, pavilions and walkways add structure to the area and a two-storey tea house gives the garden height and focus. The garden’s official name is Lan Su Yuan, which means “Garden of Awakening Orchids.”
A night on the town in Portland, Oregon can be anything but boring. From a traditional English Pub all the way up to a hopping dance club, Portland has it all. McMenamin’s Crystal Ballroom, on West Burnside, is located on the upper floor of an entire complex of venues such as Lola’s Room, a smaller live music and dance venue, and Ringler’s Pub, which offers drinks and pool. The structure was built in 1914 and it has been known to feature acts such as the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and BB King. Now it hosts popular national and regional bands. They offer dancing on a 7,500-square-foot dance floor that is said to float because it was installed on rockers and ball bearings. Food and hand-crafted beers and wines are also available. Check their website for a fun and informative look into the complex and the Ballroom itself.
Dante’s, on SW 3rd Avenue, is a live venue and pub that can be rather risqué. This dark and moody club offers a wide range of events. Depending on the night, Dante’s offers live rock or heavy metal music, Karaoke, comedy shows, vaudeville and an adult cabaret/burlesque night that features strippers and fire dancers. The Horse Brass Pub, on SE Belmont, is an Old World traditional English pub that offers food and ale in a casual setting. They have a global selection of beers and microbrews and English pub grub such as pasties, steak and kidney pie, ploughman’s lunch, and Scotch eggs.
One good thing to know is that Portland doesn’t collect sales tax on purchased items. There are also, literally, hundreds of art galleries. Ten Thousand Villages, on NW Everett Street, is a gift and specialty store that offers unique, hand-made items that are made by artisans from the developing countries. Ten Thousand Villages focus on the craft rather than their own profit. They emphasize fair trade in their dealings. The crafts people work under favorable conditions and are paid well.
The store houses oriental rugs, handmade papers, children’s toys, carved trinkets, and much more. The Portland Saturday Market is a fun place to shop or just hang out. It is located on West Burnside, and it is a public market open on the weekends. This public market has been open since 1974. There are scores of booths with crafts, food, flowers, and artwork as well as just about anything else. Musicians also play while mingling through the crowds. Quintana Gallery, on NW 9th Street, is a Native American art gallery. For over 30 years, Quintana Gallery has been showcasing works by Native American artists from the Pacific Northwest and well into the Arctic region. They offer contemporary goods right along-side baskets, kachinas, beadwork, antiques and the gallery also offers an educational look at some of North America’s oldest cultures.
Portland, Oregon offers many beauty spas and treatments. A large part of them hinges on alternative types of healing techniques, such as acupuncture. The Dragon Tree, on NW Thurman Street, was established in 2003 and they have a full complement of spa services. Their primary focus is to use their services to still the mind, uplift the spirit, and mend the body. The Dragon Tree offers Fijian massage, deep massages done using the therapist’s feet, Ayurredic treatments, such as Shirodhara, Abhyanga, and Swedana.
They also offer acupuncture, which is performed by a doctor of Chinese medicine. Their Shakti Package for $220 includes an aromatherapy facial, a warm milk foot bath, an hour long full-body massage, aromatherapy body cleanse, and a customized all-natural facial. The Blooming Moon Wellness Spa on NW Lovejoy strives to give their guests a rejuvenating and relaxing experience. It is locally owned and operated and they pride themselves on creating a pampered atmosphere. They believe the key to total wellness is to live life in balance. A very popular package is the Sakura Package, for $245. It begins with a warm multi-flower aromatherapy foot soak that also includes a sea salt polish. Then there is a cherry blossom paraffin foot and hand dip, a lavender-rose facial and a hot stone massage. Living, working, or playing in Portland, Oregon can be an experience. Everywhere you look, anywhere you walk, there is always something else fun to do in Portland, Oregon.
Portland is definitely a terrific place for tourists and visitors who come for businesses or conferences. Choosing where to stay in the city is not a problem as there are about 124 hotels in the city. The hotels in Portland, Oregon have excellent services providing state of the art amenities. Punctual housekeeping services are offered to make the guests comfortable in their stay. The hotels in Portland are inviting to anybody who comes here as the city offers a good selection of affordable hotels.
One of these is Mark Spencer Hotel. This great spot is located in downtown Portland, where the city’s best attractions are just a few steps away. The Jake’s Famous Crawfish and several famous nightspots are just near this hotel. Each room has a kitchen and cable TV. Another accommodating hotel is the Shilo Inn Suites Hotel – Portland Airport. This hotel is close to the airport, where guests can use the hotel’s airport shuttle for transportation. The hotel has 200 rooms to accommodate a good number of guests, with several amenities such as a business center, favorable for holding conferences, and important meetings; a ballroom and fitness facilities; a spa tub and an indoor swimming pool for recreation. The Holiday Inn Portland Airport is located two miles from Portland International Airport and just a few minutes away from downtown Portland with the nearby attractions of the Rose City. The hotel offers full service facility with extensive amenities such as business services, airport shuttle service, recreational facilities, and Northwest Grille Restaurant. The Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Portland NW Downtown welcomes guests with warm hospitality and great accommodation for the leisure and business travelers. The guests will enjoy the fashionable boutiques, parks, and art galleries located just a few walks away from the hotel.
Not much would seem to go on in Portland or at least that would be the general thought. Still if one were to move there they would soon find out that there is a rather rich and vibrant city to explore. Going there for schooling and one would discover that pursuing a degree in a higher field of education would actually turn out for the best. Hidden away in the city is Portland State University, kind of like the diamond in the rough. Those who attend are likely to get a pleasant surprise in the quality of the education that they receive.
The school has gotten such praising words as “Best in the West” by the Princeton Review, those illustrating what a find school that it really is. As it continues to grow and strive to better itself the addition of more degrees programs have been issued. The success rate of the school is as such that their percentile of graduating students is rather impressive. During the academic year between 2007 and 2008 Portland State University proudly issued 4,738 degrees, broken down as 3,00 bachelor’s, 1, 485 master’s and 53 doctoral degrees. With such a high graduation rate of students making the requirements to receive their degrees Portland State University more than proves itself as deserving of that review from Princeton. The school is not only excelling in the academic but the sports teams as well are exemplary. Being in Division 1 for nearly every sport and even having a Division 1 AA football team which is part of the Big Sky Conference. The school has even won NCAA National Division II Championships in women's volleyball and wrestling. A proud school with pride in not only the mind but the body as well is probably what makes this school such a hit.
As with many modern day cities Portland has within its boundaries the usual forms of transportation that the daily commuters use to get about the hustle and bustle of the city. By far the most novel and charming form would be the Portland streetcars. Operating in the downtown areas, near homes and shopping districts the streetcars not only provide for a fun and unique mean of travel but the streetcars, along with the TriMet’s MAX service, is free. With the fresh air blowing in the face and money that was able to be saved by not having to pay for the current ride is a great feeling and can easily attract more people to come and visit. Nothing people like more than saving money and getting something that they want for free.
For those enthusiastic bicyclist the city even goes out of its way a bit to cater to them needs and wants. So aside from providing a means for them to bike in safely the city also allows to host The Bicycle Transportation Alliance sponsors an annual Bicycle Commute Challenge. These challenge the bikers from across the city as a means to see just who is the biker that goes the furthest out of their way and fastest from various points during their daily commutes. As it is the case that most of the local commuters in the city take their bike as a means of travel anyway so there are plenty of people available to participate in the competition. With so many people commuting in this city it is no wonder that they are ranked the topped city when it came to the amount of people who took their bikes to work, an impressive eight percent which is more than ten times the current national average. With free transport and bike friendly companies Portland has a lot to offer.
Portland, Oregon is a user-friendly big city that people describe as having a small town feel. It’s great for green companies, natural organizations, and liberal artists who want both freedom and convenience in an accessible city. The city government is a collaborative effort, with an elected Mayor, Council and Auditor. The Mayor and Council work together to manage the city’s daily operations and the Auditor is meant to make sure they fulfill their duties in good faith. The City Council keeps their services open and accessible. They hold weekly meetings at 9:30 am and 2 pm on Wednesdays and 2 pm on Thursdays and one additional Wednesday meeting at 6 pm the third week of the month. Meetings are open to the public, recorded and rentable on the website as well as aired live online. At the Council Clerk’s office on 1221 SW 4th Avenue, citizens can peruse previous and future meeting agendas or register to speak pursuant to the council guidelines, which qualifications can be seen Here.