There’s no sales tax: The price on the tag is the price you
pay in Portland, Oregon. Our neighbors in Washington
often hop the border to make use of Oregon’s tax free
You’re probably mispronouncing “Couch” and “
Willamette”: Couch rhymes with “pooch.” Portlanders will
immediately identify a newcomer if they want to meet
for drinks on “couch”, as in that piece of furniture in
your living room. Willamette is pronounced “will-AM-it”.
Willamette Valley Vineyards sells t-shirts that read, “It’s
Portland’s iconic drinking fountains are called “Benson
Bubblers”: These iconic drinking fountains can be found
around the downtown area, continuously pumping
clean drinking water out of their upturned copper bowls.
There are 52 of the fountains, and 74 of the one-bowl
varieties, mostly concentrated in the downtown area.
Domesticated elk once roamed the city streets of Portland: The elk that occupied the land before it became
the city of Portland weren’t giving up so easily when
people moved in.
Portland is home to the world’s largest independent
book store: Powell’s City of Books, located on Burnside in
downtown Portland, claims to be the largest independent
bookstore in the world, offering both used and new
options. The stacks of shelves occupy one city block —
that’s 68,000 square feet of books. Better get reading!
The city was almost called Boston: The flip of a coin
determined which New England town Portland would
take its name after. The two founders of Portland —
Francis Pettygrove from Portland, Maine and Asa Lovejoy
from Boston, Massachusetts — both wanted to name the
city after their hometowns. A copper, one cent piece,
now on display at the Oregon Historical Society Museum,
made the decision for them.
It’s illegal to pump your own gas: An attendant will
be right with you. Don’t touch that pump in Oregon.
Otherwise you could be subject to a $500 fine.
Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, is from here: Ned
Flanders, Reverend Lovejoy, and Mayor Quimby all got
their start in Portland. You’ll recognize many landmarks
in Portland share the same name as characters from
the long-running cartoon, The Simpsons. That’s because
Portland is the creator’s hometown.
There’s an extinct volcano within city limits: Mt. Tabor is
a volcanic cone, with a park on top, located at the far
Southeast part of town. It’s a popular place for hiking,
bike riding, and watching the sunset over the city.
The tiniest park in the world lies in Portland: A little bigger
than a large pizza, Mill Ends Park is 2 feet in diameter. It’s
not quite big enough to enjoy a picnic lunch, but it sure is
cute. It’s located in the median strip of SW Naito Parkway,
and according to the Guinness Book of World Records,
it’s the tiniest park in the world.
Off the screen and onto the stage, you’ll
find a thriving theater scene in Portland.
If you’re looking to catch a play, you can
choose from world-class shows at large
theaters downtown, or smaller, independent
companies who experiment with new talent
and creative risks.
There’s no shortage of music either, with a
variety of venues for nearly every neighbor-
hood. The Doug Fir Lounge is a nationally
recognized spot for catching big-name indie
acts and smaller, locals bands with a log-cabin-
of-the-future style decor.
The artsy crowd will surely be busy in
Portland, but we don’t forget the sports
While Portland is missing a few of the major
leagues like baseball and football, the teams
we do have are supported with passionate
dedication. Soccer has risen in popularity
here, faster than most American cities,
and our Timbers Army is one of the most
rambunctious fan sections you’ll find, and
with good reason. Our Portland Timbers
are the 2015 MLS Cup Champions. We also
love our basketball, cheering on the Port-
land Trail Blazers. Portland’s dedication to
the Trail Blazers was made official in 1995
when the city set the record for consecutive
sold out home games.
Portland has become a trendy place to talk about in recent years. Even if you’ve never been, you probably have an impression of what you think Portland is like, thanks to popular TV shows like “Portlandia”
picking apart the city’s cultural quirks. And while many of the jokes about Portland are spot on, there’s a lot
to learn about Portland that you won’t discover until you get here and experience it for yourself.
You Likely Didn’t Know