Portland Real Estate

Portland, Oregon

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Portland Neighborhood Guide

Portland

  City  

City of Portland

Collage of Portland


Flag

Seal

Nickname(s): "Rose City", "Stumptown", "P-town", "PDX", and "Little Beirut"[1] See Nicknames of Portland, Oregon for a complete listing.

Location of Portland in Multnomah County and the state of Oregon

Portland is located in the USA
Portland
Location in the United States

 

Country

 United States

State

 Oregon

Counties

Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas

Founded

1845

Incorporated

February 8, 1851

Government

 - Type

Commission

 - Mayor

Sam Adams[2]

 - Commissioners

Randy Leonard
Dan Saltzman
Nick Fish
Amanda Fritz

 - Auditor

LaVonne Griffin-Valade

Area

 - City

145.4 sq mi (376.5 km2)

 - Land

134.3 sq mi (347.9 km2)

 - Water

11.1 sq mi (28.6 km2)

Elevation

50 ft (15.2 m)

Population (2010)

 - City

583,776

 - Density

4,288.38/sq mi (1,655.31/km2)

 - Metro

2,226,009

 - Demonym

Portlander

Time zone

PST (UTC-8)

 - Summer (DST)

PDT (UTC-7)

ZIP codes

97086-97299

Area code(s)

503/971

FIPS code

41-59000[3]

GNIS feature ID

1136645[4]

Website

www.portlandonline.com

 

Portland is a city located in the Northwestern United States, near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers in the state of Oregon. As of July 2009, it has an estimated population of 582,130,[5] making it the 30th most populous in the United States. Portland is Oregon's most populous city, and the third most populous city in the Pacific Northwest, after Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Approximately 2.2 million people live in the Portland metropolitan area (MSA), the 23rd most populous in the United States as of July 2006.[6]

Portland was incorporated in 1851 and is the county seat of Multnomah County.[7] The city extends slightly into Washington County to the west and Clackamas County to the south. It is governed by a commission-based government headed by a mayor and four other commissioners.

The City of Portland has been referred to as one of the most environmentally friendly or "green" cities in the world.[8] The city and region are noted for strong land-use planning[9] and investment in light rail, supported by Metro, a distinctive regional government. Portland is known for its large number of microbreweries and microdistilleries, as well as its coffee enthusiasm. It is also the home of the Trail Blazers NBA team and the Timbers MLS team.

Portland lies in the Marine west coast climate region, marked by warm, dry summers and rainy but mild winters. This climate is ideal for growing roses, and for more than a century, Portland has been known as "The City of Roses"[10][11] with many rose gardensmost prominently the International Rose Test Garden.

History

Portland in 1890

Portland started as a spot known as "the clearing,"[12] which was on the banks of the Willamette about halfway between Oregon City and Fort Vancouver. In 1843, William Overton saw great commercial potential for this land but lacked the funds required to file a land claim. He struck a bargain with his partner, Asa Lovejoy of Boston, Massachusetts: for 25, Overton would share his claim to the 640 acre (2.6 km) site. Overton later sold his half of the claim to Francis W. Pettygrove of Portland, Maine. Pettygrove and Lovejoy each wished to name the new city after his respective home town. On 23 January 1851, this controversy was settled with a coin toss, which Pettygrove won in a series of two out of three tosses.[13] 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,[14] a steam sawmill, a log cabin hotel, and a newspaper, the Weekly Oregonian. By 1879, the population had grown to 17,500.[15] The city merged with Albina and East Portland in 1891, and annexed the cities of Linnton and St. Johns in 1915.

Portland's location, with access both to the Pacific Ocean via the Willamette and the Columbia rivers and to the agricultural Tualatin Valley via the "Great Plank Road" through a canyon in the West Hills (the route of current-day U.S. Route 26), gave it an advantage over nearby ports, and it grew very quickly.[16] It 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.

Nicknames

The most common nickname for Portland is The City of Roses,[17] and this became the city's official nickname in 2003.[18] Other nicknames include Stumptown,[19] Bridgetown,[20] Rip City,[21] Little Beirut,[1] Beervana[22][23] or Beertown,[24] P-Town,[18][25] Soccer City USA,[26][27][28][29] Portlandia, and the metonymous PDX.

Geography

The Willamette River runs through the center of the city, while Mount Tabor (center) rises on the city's east side. Mount Saint Helens (left) and Mount Hood (right center) are visible from many places in the city.

Topography

Portland lies at the northern end of Oregon's most populated region, the Willamette Valley. However, as the metropolitan area is culturally and politically distinct from the rest of the valley, local usage often excludes Portland from the valley proper. Although almost all of Portland lies within Multnomah County, small portions of the city lie within Clackamas and Washington counties with mid-2005 populations estimated at 785 and 1,455, respectively. The Willamette River runs north through the city center, separating the east and west sections of the city before veering northwest to join with the Columbia River (which separates the state of Washington from the state of Oregon) a short distance north of the city.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 145.4 sq mi (376.5 km). 134.3 sq mi (347.9 km) of it is land and 11.1 sq mi (28.6 km), or 7.6%, is water.[30]

Portland lies on top of an extinct Plio-Pleistocene volcanic field known as the Boring Lava Field.[31] The Boring Lava Field includes at least 32 cinder cones such as Mount Tabor,[32] and its center lies in Southeast Portland. The dormant but potentially active volcano Mount Hood to the east of Portland is easily visible from much of the city during clear weather. The active volcano Mount Saint Helens to the north in Washington is visible in the distance from high-elevation locations in the city and is close enough to have dusted the city with volcanic ash after an eruption on May 18, 1980.[33] Mount Adams, another prominent volcano in Washington state to the northeast of Portland, is also visible from parts of the city.

Climate

Portland experiences a temperate climate that is usually described as Oceanic or Marine west coast, with mild, damp winters and relatively dry, warm summers. Like much of the Pacific Northwest, according to the Kppen climate classification it falls within the cool, dry-summer subtropical zone (Csb), also referred to as cool-summer Mediterranean, because of its relatively dry summers.[34] Other climate classification systems, such as Trewartha, place it firmly in the Oceanic zone (Do).[35]

Summers in Portland are warm, sunny and rather dry, with August, the warmest month, averaging 79.7 F (26.5 C), and much larger day-night variation than in winter. Because of its inland location and when there is an absence of a sea breeze, heatwaves occur (in particular during the months of July and August) with air temperatures sometimes rising over 100 F (38 C), but 90 F (32 C) is more commonplace, occurring 13 days per annum.[36] Winters are normally mild, and very moist, with January averaging 39.9 F (4.4 C). Lows, though usually above freezing, can reach that mark or below 37 nights per year, however.[36] Cold snaps are short-lived, and snowfall occurs no more than a few times per year, although the city has been known to see major snow and ice storms because of the cold air outflow from the Columbia River Gorge. The city's winter snowfall totals have ranged from just a trace on many occasions, to 60.9 inches (154.7 cm) in 1892-93. Spring can bring rather unpredictable weather, resulting from warm spells, to thunderstorms rolling off the Cascade Range. The rainfall averages an equivalent 37.5 inches (950 mm) per year in downtown Portland, spread over 155 days a year. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Portland was −3 F (−19 C), set on February 2, 1950.[37] The highest temperature ever recorded was 107 F (42 C), set on July 30, 1965 as well as August 8 and 10, 1981.[37] Temperatures of 100 F (38 C) have been recorded in each of the months from May through September.[37]

Cityscape

Panorama of downtown Portland. Hawthorne Bridge viewed from a dock on the Willamette River near the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)
Panorama of downtown Portland at night. Viewed from across the Willamette River in SE Portland.

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.

The "Five Quadrants" of Portland

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. This means 0246 SW California St. is not the same as 246 SW California St. Most mapping programs cannot distinguish between these two different addresses.

Parks and gardens

A panoramic view of the International Rose Test Garden
Tom McCall Waterfront Park seen from the north

Portland is proud of its parks and its legacy of preserving open spaces. 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 development.[39]

Portland is one of only three cities in the contiguous U.S. with extinct volcanoes within its boundaries (besides Jackson, Mississippi and Bend, Oregon). Mount Tabor Park is known for its scenic views and historic reservoirs.[40]

Forest Park is the largest wilderness park within city limits in the United States, covering more than 5,000 acres (20 km). 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 square m). Washington Park is just west of downtown, and is home to the Oregon Zoo, the Portland Japanese Garden, and the International Rose Test Garden. Nearby is Council Crest Park, the highest point in Portland. Portland is also known for being the greenest city in the nation, also, it has also been known to be the only city in the U.S. to be ranked in the greenest cities in the world.[citation needed]

Tom McCall Waterfront Park runs along the west bank of the Willamette for the length of downtown. The 37-acre (15 ha) park was built in 1974 after Harbor Drive was removed and now hosts large events throughout the year. Portland's downtown features two groups of contiguous city blocks dedicated for park space: the North and South Park Blocks.

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 located in the West Hills and the Government Island State Recreation Area located in the Columbia River near Portland International Airport.

Culture and contemporary life

Portland is often awarded the "Greenest City in America", and ranks among the world's top 10 greenest cities. Popular Science has continued to award Portland the title of the Greenest City in America and Grist magazine lists it as the second greenest city in the world.[41][42] Portland is the home city of The World's Oldest Teenage Drag Queen Pageant Rose Bud and Thorn Pageant, started in 1975 and modeled after the Imperial Sovereign Rose Court of Oregon.[43]

Entertainment and performing arts

Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, home of the Oregon Symphony, among others

Like most large cities, Portland has a range of classical performing arts institutions which include the Oregon Ballet Theatre, Oregon Symphony, Portland Baroque Orchestra and the Portland Opera. It also has quite a few stages similar to New York's Off Broadway or Off-Off-Broadway such as Portland Center Stage, Artists Repertory Theatre, Miracle Theatre, Stark Raving Theatre, and Tears of Joy Theatre. Portland hosts the world's only HP Lovecraft Film Festival[44] at the Hollywood Theatre.

Portland is home to famous bands such as The Kingsmen and Paul Revere & the Raiders, both famous for Louie Louie. Other widely known musical groups include The Dandy Warhols, Everclear, Modest Mouse, Pink Martini, Sleater-Kinney, The Shins, Blitzen Trapper, The Decemberists, and the late Elliott Smith. The city's now-demolished Satyricon nightclub is well known for being the place where the late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain and Hole frontwoman Courtney Love met each other; Love had grown up in Portland for most of her life.[45]

Widely recognized animators include Matt Groening (The Simpsons) and Will Vinton (Will Vinton's A Claymation Christmas Celebration), and filmmaker Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting (1997), Milk (2008)). Actors from Portland include Sam Elliott and Sally Struthers. Dan Steffan, cartoonist-illustrator for Heavy Metal and other magazines, lives in Portland.

Recent films set and shot in Portland include Extraordinary Measures, Body of Evidence, What the Bleep Do We Know!?,The Hunted, Twilight, Paranoid Park, Wendy and Lucy, Feast of Love, and Untraceable. An unusual feature of Portland entertainment is the large number of movie theaters serving beer, often with second-run or revival films. A notable example of these "brew and view" theaters is The Bagdad Theater and Pub.

TV shows including Portlandia, Leverage, Under Suspicion, Nowhere Man and Life Unexpected have been filmed in Portland.

Authors

Authors from Portland include science fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin, famous for her Earthsea novels, Hainish Cycle and Orsinian Tales; transgressional fiction novelist Chuck Palahniuk, best known for his award-winning novel Fight Club; and Beverly Cleary, author of the famous series of children's books featuring Henry Huggins, his dog Ribsy, Beatrice "Beezus" Quimby and Ramona Quimby. Klickitat Street, where Cleary's characters live, is an actual street in northeast Portland. Statues of the characters stand in nearby Grant Park.

Portland is home to a number of independent, small graphic novel publishers such as Dark Horse Comics and Oni Press,[46] as well as comic book artists and writers such as Brian Michael Bendis and Farel Dalrymple.

Tourism

The White Stag sign is a popular city landmark

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 OMNIMAX 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 bookstore in the United States and the largest bookstore west of the Mississippi River.

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.[47] 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,[48] and the Holiday Ale Festival in December.

Shopping

Portland has many options for shopping. Some of the well known shopping areas are Downtown Portland, Nob Hill (NW 21st & 23rd Avenues), Pearl District, and the Lloyd District. Major department stores in downtown include Nordstrom, Macy's, and Mario's. The major malls in the metropolitan area are Bridgeport Village, Washington Square, Clackamas Town Center, Lloyd Center, Vancouver Mall, 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.

Breweries

Portland is well-known for its microbrewery beer.[49] Oregon Public Broadcasting has documented Portland's role in the microbrew revolution in the United States in a report called Beervana.[50] Some illustrate Portlanders' interest in the beverage by an offer made in 1888 when local brewer Henry Weinhard volunteered to pump beer from his brewery into the newly dedicated Skidmore Fountain. However, the renown for quality beer dates to the 1980s when state law was changed to allow consumption of beer on brewery premises. Brewery innovation was supported by the abundance of local ingredients, including two-row barley, over a dozen varieties of hops, and pure water from the Bull Run Watershed. The Willamette Valley is one of the leading hop growing regions in the United States.[citation needed]

With twenty-eight breweries within the city, Portland is home to more breweries than any other city in the country,[49] which is partially responsible for CNBC to name Portland the best city for happy hour in the U.S.[51] 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, and Hair of the Dog, as well as numerous smaller, quality brewers. In 1999, author Michael "Beerhunter" Jackson called Portland a candidate for the beer capital of the world because the city boasted more breweries than Cologne, Germany. The Portland Oregon Visitors Association promotes "Beervana" and "Brewtopia" as nicknames for the city.[52] In mid-January 2006, Mayor Tom Potter officially gave the city a new nickname: Beertown.[53]

Cuisine

Portland has a growing restaurant scene, and among three nominees, was recognized by the Food Network Awards as their "Delicious Destination of the Year: A rising city with a fast-growing food scene" for 2007.[54]

The original Stumptown Coffee location at 47th and Division.

The New York Times also spotlighted Portland for its burgeoning restaurant scene in the same year.[55] Travel + Leisure ranked Portland #9 among all national cities in 2007.[56] The city is also known for being the most vegetarian-friendly city in America.[57]

In addition to beer, Portland has become known as a premier coffee destination in the Pacific Northwest. Yelp.com lists more than 20 coffee houses in Portland with 4.5-5 star ratings.[58] The city is home to the original Stumptown Coffee Roasters, well-known by aficionados as one of the nation's highest quality direct-trade roasteries,[59] as well as dozens of other micro-roasteries and cafes.

Sports

The Rose Garden, home of the Portland Trail Blazers.

Portland is home to the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer[60] and the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association.[61] The city is also home to a number of minor league teams.

Running is a popular sport in the metropolitan area, which hosts the Portland Marathon and much of the Hood to Coast Relay, the world's largest such event. The city is home to the Oregon Track Club, sponsored by Nike, which includes American record holders Chris Solinsky, Alan Webb, and Shalane Flanagan. Skiing and snowboarding are also highly popular, with a number of nearby resorts on Mount Hood, including year round Timberline.

It was formerly home to the Portland Rosebuds of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, the first professional sports team in Oregon and the first professional hockey team in the U.S. The Rosebuds played in the 1916 Stanley Cup Final, the first U.S. team to do so.

Portland has one of the most active bicycle racing scenes in the United States, with hundreds of events sanctioned each year by the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association. Weekly events at Alpenrose Velodrome and Portland International Raceway allow for racing nearly every night of the week during spring and summer, and autumn cyclocross races such as the Cross Crusade can have over 1000 riders and boisterous spectators.

Additionally, the Portland metro has its own cricket league, Oregon Cricket League that hosts two formats.[62][63]

Portland has two Division I college 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 Jeld-Wen Field. In addition, Lewis & Clark College field several sports that compete in the NCAA Division III.

Club↓ Sport↓ League↓ League championships↓ Home venue↓ Founded↓
Portland Trail Blazers Basketball National Basketball Association 1 (1976-77) Rose Garden 1970
Portland Timbers Soccer Major League Soccer 0 Jeld-Wen Field 1975
Portland Winterhawks Ice hockey Western Hockey League 2 (198283, 199798) Rose Garden, Memorial Coliseum 1976

Media

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

Smaller local newspapers, distributed free of charge in newspaper boxes and at venues around the city, include Portland Tribune (general-interest paper published on Thursdays), Willamette Week (general-interest alternative weekly published on Wednesdays), The Portland Mercury (another weekly, targeted at younger urban readers published on Thursdays), and The Asian Reporter (a weekly covering Asian news, both international and local).

Portland Indymedia is one of the oldest and largest Independent Media Centers. The Portland Alliance, a largely anti-authoritarian progressive monthly, is the largest radical print paper in the city. Just Out, published in Portland twice monthly, is the region's foremost LGBT publication. A biweekly paper, Street Roots, is also sold within the city by members of the homeless community.

The Portland Business Journal, a weekly, covers business-related news, as does The Daily Journal of Commerce. Portland Monthly is a monthly news and culture magazine. The Bee, over 100 years old, is another neighborhood newspaper serving the inner southeast neighborhoods.

Portland is well served by television and radio. The metro area is the 22nd largest U.S. market area with 1,086,900 homes and 0.992% of the U.S. market.[citation needed] The major network television affiliates include:

  • KATU 2 (ABC)
  • KOIN 6 (CBS)
  • KGW 8 (NBC)
  • KOPB-TV 10 Oregon Public Broadcasting (PBS)
  • KPTV 12 (Fox)
  • KPXG 22 (ION)
  • KNMT 24 (TBN)
  • KRCW-TV 32 (The CW)
  • KUNP-LP 47 (Univision)
  • KPDX 49 (MyNetworkTV)

Economy

The Portland House-Price Index has remained stronger than the national average.

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.[64] The US 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.[65]

The city's history of attracting and retaining company headquarters is mixed. Major businesses such as Willamette Industries, Louisiana-Pacific, CH2M HILL, U.S. Bank, and Evraz North American (formerly known as Oregon Steel Mills), have moved headquarters out of the city, as have smaller companies such as Lucy Activewear and Northwest Pipe Company.[66] Examples of how the city has attracted a company's world, North American, or U.S. headquarters include Vestas Wind Systems, and sporting goods manufacturers Li-Ning Co., Hi-Tec Sports, KEEN, Inc. and Adidas.[66]

Real estate and construction

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

Oregon's 1973 "urban growth boundary" law limits the boundaries for large scale development in each metropolitan area in Oregon.[67] This limits access to utilities such as sewage, water and telecommunications, as well as coverage by fire, police and schools.[67] Originally this law mandated that the city must maintain enough land within the boundary to provide an estimated 20 years of growth, however in 2007 the legislature altered 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.[68]

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 density.[69][70] In October, 2009, the Forbes magazine rated Portland as the 3rd safest city in America.[71]

Manufacturing

Computer components manufacturer Intel is the Portland area's largest employer, providing jobs for more than 14,000 residents, with several campuses to the west of central Portland in the city of Hillsboro.[64] The metro area is home to more than 1,200 technology companies.[64] This high density of technology companies has led to the nickname Silicon Forest being used to describe Portland, a reference to the abundance of trees in the region.

Portland is home to the regional headquarters for Adidas. The metro area serves as the headquarters for the Columbia Sportswear corporation, Yakima Products and Nike, Inc.. Beaverton, Oregon's Nike, Inc. and Portland's Precision Castparts Corp. are the only two Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Oregon. Philip Knight, co-founder and chairman of Nike, is an Oregon native and University of Oregon alumnus.

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.[72] 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.[72]

The aluminum industry expanded in the Portland area during the later half of the 20th century. This was primarily due to the comparatively low cost electricity in the region, courtesy of the many dams on local rivers. The industry has been one of the more intrusive industries politically however, due to the effect on residential and business energy costs to the rest of the city, and the pollution associated with aluminum production.[73]

Logistics

Portland is the largest shipper of wheat in the United States,[74][75] and is the second largest port for wheat in the world.[76] The marine terminals alone handle over 13 million tons of cargo per year, and is home to one of the largest commercial dry docks in the country.[77][78] The Port of Portland is the third largest U.S. port on the west coast, though it is located about 80 miles (130 km) upriver.[64][78]

Transportation

MAX Light Rail is the centerpiece of the city's public transportation system
Portland Streetcar runs north-south through Downtown
Portland Aerial Tram car descends towards the South Waterfront district

The Portland metropolitan area has transportation services common to major U.S. cities, though Oregon's emphasis on proactive land-use planning and transit-oriented development within the urban growth boundary means that commuters have multiple well-developed options.

Some Portlanders use mass transit for their daily commute. In 2008, 12.6% of all commutes in Portland were on public transit.[79] 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. Westside Express Service, or WES, opened in February 2009 as commuter rail for Portland's western suburbs, linking Beaverton and Wilsonville. The Portland Streetcar operates from the south waterfront, through Portland State University and north to nearby homes and shopping districts. Within the Free Rail Zone, a designated geographic area centered in downtown, rides on TriMet's MAX and streetcar systems are free. 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. Intense public transit development continues as two light rail lines are under construction, as well as a new downtown transit mall linking several transit options. TriMet also provides real-time tracking of buses and trains with its TransitTracker and even makes the data available to software developers so they can create customized tools of their own.[80]

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. US 26 supports commuting within the metro area and continues to the Pacific Ocean westward and Mount Hood and Central Oregon eastward. US 30 has a main, bypass, and business route through the city extending to Astoria, Oregon to the west; through Gresham, Oregon, and the eastern exurbs, and connects to I-84, traveling towards Boise, Idaho.

Portland's main airport is Portland International Airport, located about 20 minutes by car (40 minutes by MAX) northeast of downtown. In addition Portland is home to Oregon's only public use heliport, the Portland Downtown Heliport. Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Portland at Union Station on three routes. Long-haul train routes include the Coast Starlight (with service from Los Angeles to Seattle) and the Empire Builder (with service from Portland to Chicago.) The Amtrak Cascades commuter trains operate between Vancouver, British Columbia and Eugene, Oregon, and serve Portland several times daily.

The city is particularly supportive of urban bicycling and has been recognized by the League of American Bicyclists among others for its network of on street bicycling facilities and other bicycle-friendly services.[81] It ranks highly among the most bicycle friendly cities in the world.[82] The Bicycle Transportation Alliance sponsors an annual Bicycle Commute Challenge, in which thousands of commuters compete for prizes and recognition based on the length and frequency of their commutes.[83] Approximately 8% of commuters bike to work, the highest proportion of any major U.S. city and about 10 times the national average.[84]

Car sharing through Zipcar and U Car Share is available to residents of the city and some inner suburbs. Portland has a commuter aerial cableway, the Portland Aerial Tram, which connects the South Waterfront district on the Willamette River to the Oregon Health & Science University campus on Marquam Hill above.

Portland has five indoor skateparks and is home to historically significant Burnside Skatepark. Gabriel Skatepark is the most recent, which opened on July 12, 2008. Another fourteen are in the works.[85] The Wall Street Journal stated Portland "may be the most skateboard-friendly town in America."[86]

 

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