Portland is a city located in the U.S. state of Oregon, near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. As of the 2010 Census, it had a population of 583,776, estimated to have reached 587,865 in 2012, making it the 28th most populous city in the United States. Portland is Oregon's most populous city, and the third most populous city in the Pacific Northwest region, after Seattle, Washington, and Vancouver, British Columbia. Approximately 2,992,924 people live in the Portland metropolitan area (MSA), the 19th most populous MSA in the United States. Portland was incorporated in 1851 near the end of the Oregon Trail and is the county seat of Multnomah County. The city has a commission-based government headed by a mayor and four other commissioners as well as Metro, a distinctive regional government. The city is noted for its superior land-use planning and investment in light rail. Because of its public transportation networks and efficient land-use planning, Portland has been recognized as one of the most environmentally conscious cities in the World.
Located in the Marine west coast climate region, Portland has a climate marked by both warm, dry summers and wet, cool-to-chilly winter days. This climate is ideal for growing roses. For more than a century, Portland has been known as the "City of Roses", with many rose gardens – most prominently the International Rose Test Garden. The city is also known for its abundant outdoor activities, liberal political values, and beer and coffee enthusiasm. Portland is home to a large number of independent microbreweries, microdistilleries and food carts that contribute to the unofficial slogan "Keep Portland Weird".
Portland straddles the Willamette River near its confluence with the Columbia River. The denser and earlier-developed west side is mostly hemmed in by the nearby West Hills (Tualatin Mountains), though it extends over them to the border with Washington County. The flatter east side fans out for about 180 blocks, until it meets the suburb of Gresham. Rural Multnomah County lies farther east. In 1891 the cities of Portland, Albina, and East Portland were consolidated, and duplicate street names were given new names. The "great renumbering" on September 2, 1931, standardized street naming patterns, and changed house numbers from 20 per block to 100 per block. It divided Portland into five sections: Southwest, Southeast, Northwest, North, and Northeast. Burnside St. divides north and south, and the Willamette River divides east and west. The river curves west five blocks north of Burnside and in place of it, Williams Ave. is used as a divider. The North section lies between Williams Ave. and the Willamette River to the west.
On the west side, the Riverplace, John's Landing and South Waterfront Districts lie in a "sixth quadrant" where addresses go 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 are unable to distinguish between the two.
Culture and contemporary life
Portland is often awarded "Greenest City in America" and "most green cities" designations. 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 is home to the Rose Bud and Thorn Pageant, started in 1975 and modeled after the Imperial Sovereign Rose Court of Oregon. In 2012, the city was listed among the 10 best places to retire in the U.S. by CBS MoneyWatch.
Portland is home to a diverse array of artists and arts organizations, and was named in 2006 by American Style magazine as the tenth best Big City Arts Destination in the U.S. The Portland Art Museum owns the city's largest art collection and presents a variety of touring exhibitions each year. With the recent addition of the Modern and Contemporary Art wing it became one of the United States' twenty-five largest museums. Art galleries abound downtown and in the Pearl District, as well as in the Alberta Arts District and other neighborhoods throughout the city. The Oregon Museum Of Science And Industry (OMSI) is located on the east bank of the Willamette River across from downtown Portland, and contains a variety of hands-on exhibits covering the physical sciences, life science, earth science, technology, astronomy, and early childhood education. OMSI also has an ultra-large-screen movie theater and is home to the USS Blueback submarine, used in the film The Hunt for Red October.
Portland is also home to Portland Classical Chinese Garden, an authentic representation of a Suzhou-style walled garden. Portlandia, a statue on the west side of the Portland Building, is the second-largest hammered-Copper statue in the U.S. (after the Statue of Liberty). Portland's public art is managed by the Regional Arts & Culture Council. Powell's City of Books claims to be the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world, occupying a multistory building on an entire city block in the Pearl District. In 2010, Powell's Technical Books was relocated to Powell's Books Bldg. 2 across the street from the flagship store. The Portland Rose Festival takes place annually in June and includes two parades, dragon boat races, carnival rides at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, and dozens of other events.
Washington Park, in the West Hills, is home to some of Portland's most popular recreational sites, including the Oregon Zoo, the Portland Japanese Garden, the World Forestry Center, and the Hoyt Arboretum. Portland hosts a number of festivals throughout the year in celebration of beer and brewing, including the Oregon Brewers Festival. 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 has many options for shopping. Some of the well known shopping areas are Downtown Portland, Nob Hill (NW 21st & 23rd Avenues), Pearl District, Hawthorne Avenue for vintage apparel, and the Lloyd District. Major department stores in downtown include Nordstrom, Macy's, and H&M. The major malls in the metropolitan area are Lloyd Center, Washington Square, Clackamas Town Center, Westfield Vancouver, Bridgeport Village and Pioneer Place. Another destination is the Portland Saturday Market, a town bazaar-like environment where many kinds of goods are sold from Artisan Crafts to Tibetan Imports, reflecting the many cultures of Portland. The Saturday Market is open every weekend from March through Christmas.
Portland is home to two major league teams: the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer and the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association. The Timbers have been in MLS since 2011, playing at Providence Park, where they average over 20,000 fans and routinely sell out matches. A proposed stadium called the Delta Dome was announced in 1963, but when bond measures to raise money for the stadium were voted down the idea was abandoned. Portland is home to two major league teams: the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer and the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association. The Timbers have been in MLS since 2011, playing at Providence Park, where they average over 20,000 fans and routinely sell out matches. A proposed stadium called the Delta Dome was announced in 1963, but when bond measures to raise money for the stadium were voted down the idea was abandoned.
The city also has one of the most active bicycle racing scenes in the United States. The Oregon Bicycle Racing Association sanctions hundreds of bicycling events each year. Weekly events at Alpenrose Velodrome and Portland International Raceway allow for racing nearly every night of the week March through September, and cyclocross races September through December, such as the Cross Crusade, can have over 1,000 riders and boisterous spectators. Portland has two Division I college sports teams, the University of Portland Pilots and the Portland State Vikings. Both universities field teams in numerous sports, including soccer, baseball, basketball, and football. The University of Portland plays at Joe Etzel Field, the Clive Charles Soccer Complex, and the Chiles Center. Portland State University plays at the Stott Center and Providence Park.