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Portland, OR

Unpretentious but bustling, the city of Portland is located on the Willamette and Columbia Rivers in northern Oregon near the Washington border. This metropolis is the largest city in the state with a population of just under 600,000. It is the county seat of Multnomah County.

ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES

Portland's economy is quite diverse, although technology and industry are predominant. The city is sometimes referred to as the "Silicon Forest" because there are quite a few technology-related firms in the area. Intel, a computer components manufacturer, is one of the area's largest employers. Manufacturing also makes up a large sector of the economy, with steel and aluminum production being the two dominant industries.

Logistics also plays a role in the city's economy-the Port of Portland is the third-largest port on the West Coast. It is the largest shipper of wheat in the United States and the second largest in the world. Portland also has easy access to Interstate 5, Interstate 84, Interstate 205, and Interstate 405, further enhancing the city's logistics capabilities.

The city of Portland has a multitude of resources available for entrepreneurs who would like to start new businesses. The city offers training, clinics, and networking events for local business owners. There are also several Small Business Development Centers within the city.

Portland is a hub for health care. Residents from the surrounding areas come to Portland when they need medical care; the city has many hospitals and health-care facilities to accommodate them:

  • Adventist Medical Center
  • Legacy Emanuel Hospital and Health Center
  • Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital and Medical Center
  • Oregon Health and Science University Hospital
  • Providence Portland Medical Center
  • Providence Saint Vincent Medical Center

EDUCATION

The residents in and around Portland have quite a few choices for post-secondary education. These educational facilities are as diverse as the city itself:

  • Portland State University (public four-year school)
  • Portland Community College (public two-year school)
  • Lewis and Clark College (private four-year school)
  • University of Portland (private Catholic four-year school)
  • Oregon Health Sciences University (doctoral health-care programs)
  • Reed College (private four-year school)

In addition, Portland is home to several vocational schools that teach the foundations of massage therapy, naturopathic medicine, chiropractic, art and design, business, culinary arts, and technology.

NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS

Portland has quite a few historic homes. The city has also seen considerable growth in the development of high-rise condominiums in the downtown area.

There are many districts within the city of Portland. Following are just a few:

  • Alameda: This neighborhood is located on the east side of town and is home to younger, middle-class residents. It is a pedestrian-friendly urban area full of historic homes.
  • Bonny Slope/Willamette Heights: This wealthy neighborhood is situated on the west side of town. Highly educated executives live here.
  • City Center: This is an urban area located downtown, just west of the Willamette River. The majority of residents here are renters living in small, newer apartment complexes. Rental rates are low.
  • Old Town-Chinatown: The historic center of Portland features the Skidmore Fountain and other structures from the 1800s and early 1900s, as well as a wealth of restaurants and museums.
  • Maywood Park: This is a very small district at the north end of the city. It is wedged between Interstate 84 and Interstate 205.
  • Portland Heights: This district is sandwiched between Washington Park and Portland State University on the west side of town. It is a historic, urban area that is pedestrian-friendly and quiet. The neighborhood is full of young, successful professionals.
  • Sellwood: This district is across the Willamette River and includes Hardtack Island. It is a small suburban area home to young, upper-middle-class professionals.

BEST BETS

Portland Rose Festival: This is a huge festival that has taken place in late May or early June for more than 100 years. More than 2 million people show up for this three-week event, making it one of the largest festivals in the world. There are activities for children and adults, as well as parades, races, boating events, and concerts. The centerpiece of the festival is the Portland Rose Society's rose show.

Saturday Market: Local handcrafted goods are for sale at a large outdoor market held weekends in Portland's Old Town.

Performing Arts: Portland frequently has performances put on by local theater groups, dance companies, orchestras, and opera houses. Local groups include the Oregon Children's Theatre, the Oregon Ballet Theatre, the Oregon Symphony, and the Portland Opera.

Art: The Portland Art Museum features a wide variety of media. There are numerous galleries around town as well, especially in the Pearl District and the Alberta Arts District.

Portland Classical Chinese Garden: Set up as a traditional Chinese garden, this facility seeks to educate and inspire the community. Ninety percent of the garden's plants are native to China.

Pittock Mansion: A major landmark to the local residents, this mansion was built in 1914 and was way ahead of its time, complete with a central vacuum and intercom systems. The home was restored in 1965 and is open almost daily for tours.

Willamette Valley: More than 200 wineries exist in this area, making it the state's leading wine region. Tours are available by car and by hot air balloon.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Lewis and Clark discovered the land that would later become the city of Portland in 1806.
  • Asa Lovejoy and Francis Pettygrove founded Portland in 1851. Both wanted to name the city for their hometowns, Boston and Portland, Maine, respectively. A coin toss settled the dispute.
  • Oregon and New Jersey are the only states without self-serve gas stations.
  • Oregon is the only state with an official nut: the hazelnut.
  • Oregon's state birthday is Feb. 14, Valentine's Day.
  • The world's largest rosary collection, gathered by a Portland resident, is exhibited at Portland's Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center.
  • When Portland became a city in 1851, it measured 2.1 square miles.
  • With 28, Portland has more breweries than any city in the U.S.
  • In 1851, Portland completed its first municipal building: a jail. It cost $135 for two lots of land and $1,200 for construction.
  • In 1874, 15 women picketed downtown Portland saloons. They were arrested, charged and found guilty of "Disorderly Praying."
  • It is illegal to park your car on the street for more than 24 hours at a time. You must drive it off the block daily or park it on private property.
  • In Portland, people riding sleds may not attach themselves to passing cars.
  • A Portland law prohibits motorists from passing through a "traffic congestion thoroughfare" more than twice per night.
  • It is against a 1983 Portland law to drag race, test physical endurance or set a speed record while driving on a highway.
  • Improper opening or leaving open of a vehicle door is against a 1983 Portland law.
  • The Oregon Territory was officially formed in 1848. Through the help of Congress and the passage of the Oregon Land Act, every man or woman became entitled to 320 acres.
  • Portland's Pittock Mansion includes Turkish, English and French designs; however, the Pittocks hired Oregon craftsmen and artisans and used Northwest materials to build the house.
  • The Portland Marathon is one of the only distance-running events in the country that allows MP3-players and iPods.
  • The Portland Marathon once had a 100-year-old participant. The oldest woman to finish the marathon was 91 and the oldest man was 95.
  • Portland is known by several nicknames, including Bridgetown, Stumptown, the City of Roses, Niketown, and P-Town.
  • Portland is home to the Trail Blazers, a National Basketball Association (NBA) team.
  • The city is known for being the most vegetarian-friendly city in the United States.
  • Portland is a beer-friendly city and boasts more breweries than any other city in the United States.
  • Based in Portland, Powell's Books is one of the largest independent booksellers in the nation.