Portland, Oregon is only
five minutes away from where we live in
Washington. It's where
all the entertainment, shopping and big-city atmosphere is. When
people ask where we are from, we tell them Portland, because nobody
knows where Vancouver
is! I can't think of a nicer city to live in than Portland.
Mt. Hood looms over the city larger than life with its majestic peak,
the Columbia and Willamette Rivers run through the city, with its
bridges, and the west hills create incredible views and beautiful
wooded city streets. If only Portland had more universities, we
would perhaps never leave. Where else can you find skiing,
mountain climbing, watersports, scuba diving, ocean beaches, wildlife
preserves, hiking, windsurfing, wineries, hot-air ballooning, sky
diving, waterfalls and desert dunes all within an hour drive of a
Portland has a population of about 503,000 within its city limits, and
encompasses a metropolitan population of about 1.7 million people.
It is the 6th fastest growing major city in the country over the past
decade, with an population increase of almost 16%. It averages
about 173 feet above sea level with average temperatures running about
80°F in the summer and 33°F in the winter. Although its
reputation is that of a rain-drenched city, its average rainfall of
37" is less than that of cities such as Atlanta, Baltimore and
Houston! Mt. Hood provides a beautiful backdrop, only 65 miles
outside the city, and the Pacific
Ocean is only 78 miles to the west. The city has set aside
37,000 acres of parks, including the largest park in the city, 5,000
acre Forest Park.
Portland may be well known for its cutting-edge
rock'n'roll, but the alternative sounds of youthful angst coexist here
peacefully with Shakespeare, Broadway shows, ballerinas, chamber music
ensembles and full-blown classical orchestrations.
The Rose City's culture, however, isn't limited to the performing
arts. Its personality simmers in hip coffee houses, Native American
art galleries, and ubiquitous bookstores and brewpubs.
The city's love affair with beer stretches back more than 100 years.
It began in 1888, when Henry Weinhard and a few other fun-loving civic
leaders proposed pumping ale through the Skidmore Fountain. The
ambitious plan to transport beer through Portland's only set of fire
hoses, however, was nixed for fear that overzealous residents would
puncture the hoses and help themselves to the ale before it reached
Though none of the city's fountains is currently overflowing with
beer, more than 40 craft breweries and brewpubs have earned Portland
the nickname "Munich on the Willamette."
What's on tap? Try an English-style stout, an unfiltered Hefeweizen or
a fruit brew made with raspberries. Just don't let the enormous array
of beer choices intimidate you; Portland natives are always happy to
recommend their favorites. Just ask.
On the arts front, Portland's scene changes with the time of year.
Winter offers great off-season hotel rates and a full menu of theater,
symphony and dance productions, including an elaborate rendition of
The Nutcracker ballet.
Most of the arts companies begin or end their runs during spring and
fall, which means performances are plentiful even during these
reasonably priced "shoulder" seasons.
Portland has an easy come-as-you-are attitude regarding the arts. The
jeans you wore while sampling microbrews work just as well at the
symphony and theater. Sure, you'll see folks in tuxes and pearls, but
you'll also see plenty in flannel and denim. It's not the dress that's
upscale, it's the experience.
Keeping pace with the performing arts, the area's museums showcase a
steady stream of world-class exhibitions and artists.
Following a $13.3 million capital and endowment campaign, the
107-year-old Portland Art
Museum set its sights a notch higher: competing aggressively to
become the place in the Pacific Northwest for the nation's most
important traveling shows.
Getting around to take in the scene is easy and delightful. Years of
careful urban management have made Portland a city planner's dream.
Light rail trains move visitors and commuters through the town.
Statues and fountains dot every turn. Building height restrictions
guarantee sunlit streets and ensure tantalizing views of nearby Mount
Hood. Portland's 37,000 acres of park space include sizeable chunks of
prime downtown real estate (check out the farmers market in the Park
Blocks during the summer months), while progressive bike policies have
earned it a spot among the top three most bicycle-friendly cities in
the United States.
Built on a European model, Portland is also a walker's paradise, with
very manageable 200-foot city blocks as well as miles and miles of
woodsy nature trails.
site will introduce you to Portland, Oregon with some photographs,
links and narrative about the city we love.
photos of us in Portland (and some without us as well...!)