Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon
City
City of Portland
Clockwise from top: Downtown Portland; Jackson Tower; International Rose Test Garden; the Broadway Bridge; "Car Wash" fountain; Pioneer Courthouse; Union Station in winter with U.S. Bancorp Tower in background

Flag

Seal
Nickname(s): "Rose City"; "Stumptown"; "PDX"; see Nicknames of Portland, Oregon for a complete list.

Location of Portland in Multnomah County and the state of Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 45°31′12″N 122°40′55″W / 45.52000°N 122.68194°W / 45.52000; -122.68194Coordinates: 45°31′12″N 122°40′55″W / 45.52000°N 122.68194°W / 45.52000; -122.68194
Country United States
State Oregon
Counties Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas
Founded 1845
Incorporated February 8, 1851
Named for Portland, Maine
Government
 • Type Commission
 • Mayor Charlie Hales (D)
 • Commissioners Steve Novick
Dan Saltzman
Nick Fish
Amanda Fritz
 • Auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade
Area
 • City 145 sq mi (376 km2)
 • Land 133 sq mi (346 km2)
 • Water 12 sq mi (30 km2)
Elevation 50 ft (15.2 m)
Highest elevation 1,188 ft (362 m)
Lowest elevation 0.62 ft (0.19 m)
Population (2010)
 • City 583,776
 • Estimate (2014) 619,360
 • Rank US: 28th
 • Density 4,375.1/sq mi (1,689.2/km2)
 • Urban 1,849,898 (US: 24th)
 • Metro 2,348,247 (US: 24th)
 • CSA 3,022,178 (US: 17th)
Demonym(s) Portlander
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 97086-97299
Area code(s) 503 and 971
FIPS code 41-59000
GNIS feature ID 1136645
Website www.portlandoregon.gov

Portland (/ˈpɔrtlənd/) is the largest city in the U.S. state of Oregon and the county seat of Multnomah County. It is located in the Willamette Valley region of the Pacific Northwest, at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. The city covers 145 square miles (376 km²) and had an estimated population of 619,360 in 2014, making it the 28th most populous city in the United States. Approximately 2,348,247 people live in the Portland metropolitan statistical area (MSA), the 24th most populous MSA in the United States. Its Combined Statistical Area (CSA) ranks 17th with a population of 3,022,178.

Named after the city in Maine, Portland was settled in the 1840s near the end of the Oregon Trail. Its water access provided convenient transportation of goods, and the timber industry was a major force in the city's early economy. At the turn of the 20th century, the city had developed a reputation as one of the most dangerous port cities in the world, a hub for organized crime and racketeering. After the city's economy experienced an industrial boom during World War II, its hard-edged reputation began to dissipate. Beginning in the 1960s, Portland became noted for its growing liberal political values, and the city has earned a reputation as a bastion of counterculture which has proceeded into the 21st century. According to a 2009 Pew Research Center study, Portland ranks as the 8th most popular American city, based on where people want to live.

The city operates with a commission-based government guided by a mayor and four commissioners as well as Metro, the only directly elected metropolitan planning organization in the United States. The city government is notable for its land-use planning and investment in public transportation. Portland is frequently recognized as one of the most environmentally conscious cities in the world because of its high walkability, large community of bicyclists, farm-to-table dining, expansive network of public transportation options, and 10,000+ acres of public parks. Its climate is marked by warm, dry summers and chilly, rainy winters. This climate is ideal for growing roses, and Portland has been called the "City of Roses" for over a century. "Keep Portland Weird" is an unofficial slogan for the city.

    History

    1890 map of Portland
    Portland waterfront in 1898

    Before American pioneers began arriving in the 1800s, the land that eventually became Portland and surrounding Multnomah County was inhabited for many centuries by two bands of Upper Chinook Indians— the Multnomah people and the Cascades Indians. The Chinook people occupying the land which would become Portland were first documented by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in 1805. Before its European settlement, the Portland Basin of the lower Columbia River and Willamette River valleys had been one of the most densely populated regions on the Pacific Coast.

    Significant numbers of pioneer settlers began arriving in the Willamette Valley in the 1830s via the Oregon Trail, though life was originally centered in nearby Oregon City. In the early 1840s a new settlement began emerging ten miles from of the mouth of the Willamette River, roughly halfway between Oregon City and Fort Vancouver. This community was initially referred to as "Stumptown" and "The Clearing" because of the many trees being cut down to allow for its growth. In 1843 William Overton saw potential in the new settlement but lacked the funds necessary to file an official land claim. For 25 cents Overton agreed to share half of the 640-acre (2.6 km2) site with Asa Lovejoy of Boston, Massachusetts.

    In 1845 Overton sold his remaining half of the claim to Francis W. Pettygrove of Portland, Maine. Both Pettygrove and Lovejoy wished to rename "The Clearing" after their respective hometowns (Lovejoy's being Boston, and Pettygrove's, Portland). This controversy was settled with a coin toss which Pettygrove won in a series of two out of three tosses, thereby providing Portland with its namesake. 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, a steam sawmill, a log cabin hotel, and a newspaper, the Weekly Oregonian. A major fire swept through downtown in August 1873, destroying twenty blocks on the west side of the Willamette along Yamhill and Morrison Streets, and causing $1.3 million in damage. By 1879, the population had grown to 17,500 and by 1890 it had grown to 46,385. In 1888, the city constructed the first steel bridge built on the West Coast.

    Portland's access to the Pacific Ocean via the Willamette and the Columbia rivers, as well as its easy access to the agricultural Tualatin Valley via the "Great Plank Road" (the route of current-day U.S. Route 26), provided the pioneer city with an advantage over other nearby ports, and it grew very quickly. Portland 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. The lumber industry also became a prominent economical presence, due to the area's large population of Douglas Firs, Western Hemlocks, Red Cedars, and Big Leaf Maple trees.

    The White Eagle saloon (ca. 1910), one of many in Portland that had reputed ties to illegal activities such as gambling rackets and prostitution

    Portland developed a reputation early on in its history as a hard-edged and gritty port town. Some historians have described the city's early establishment as being a "scion of New England; an ends-of-the-earth home for the exiled spawn of the eastern established elite." In 1889, The Oregonian called Portland "the most filthy city in the Northern States," due to the unsanitary sewers and gutters, and, at the turn of the 20th century, it was considered one of the most dangerous port cities in the world. The city housed a large number of saloons, bordellos, gambling dens, and boardinghouses which were populated with miners after the California Gold Rush, as well as the multitude of sailors passing through the port. By the early 20th century, the city had lost its reputation as a "sober frontier city" and garnered a reputation for being violent and dangerous.

    Between 1900 and 1930, the population of the city tripled from nearly 100,000 to 301,815. Following this population boom, Portland became a notorious hub for underground criminal activity and organized crime between the 1940s and 1950s. In 1957, LIFE Magazine published an article detailing the city's history of government corruption and crime, specifically its gambling rackets and illegal nightclubs. The article, which focused on crime boss Jim Elkins, became the basis of a fictionalized film titled Portland Exposé (1957). In spite of the city's seedier undercurrent of criminal activity, Portland was experiencing an economic and industrial surge during World War II. Ship builder Henry J. Kaiser had been awarded contracts to construct Liberty ships and aircraft carrier escorts, and chose sites in Portland and Vancouver, Washington for work yards. During this time, Portland's population rose by over 150,000, largely attributed to recruited laborers.

    During the 1960s, an influx of hippie subculture began to take root in the city in the wake of San Francisco's burgeoning countercultural scene. The city's Crystal Ballroom became a hub for the city's psychedelic culture, while food cooperatives and listener-funded media and radio stations were established. A large social activist presence evolved during this time as well, specifically concerning Native American rights, environmentalist causes, and gay rights. By the 1970s, Portland had well established itself as a progressive city, and experienced an economic boom for the majority of the decade; however, the slowing of the housing market in 1979 caused demand for the city and state timber industries to drop significantly.

    In the 1990s, the technology industry began to emerge in Portland, specifically with the establishment of companies like Intel, which brought more than $10 billion in investments in 1995 alone. After the millennium, Portland experienced significant growth, with a population rise of over 90,000 between the years 2000 and 2014. The city's increased presence within the cultural lexicon has established it a popular city for young people, and it was second only to Louisville, Kentucky as one of the cities to attract and retain the highest number of college-educated people in the United States. Between 2001 and 2012, Portland's gross domestic product per person grew fifty percent, more than any other city in the country.

    The city has acquired a diverse range of nicknames throughout its history, though it is most frequently called "Rose City" or "The City of Roses", the latter of which being its unofficial nickname since 1888 and its official nickname since 2003. Another widely utilized nickname by local residents in everyday speech is "PDX", which is also the airport code for Portland International Airport. Other nicknames include Bridgetown, Stumptown, Rip City, Soccer City, P-Town, Portlandia, and the more antiquated Little Beirut.

    Geography

    Topography

    Mt. Rainier (left) and Mt. St. Helens (right) photographed from Mount Calvary Cemetery in Portland.

    Portland is located 70 miles east of the Pacific Ocean at the northern end of Oregon's most populated region, the Willamette Valley. Downtown Portland straddles the banks of the Willamette River which flows north through the city center and consequently separates the east and west neighborhoods of the city. Less than 10 miles from downtown the Willamette River flows into the Columbia River, the fourth-largest river in the United States, which divides Oregon from Washington state.

    Though much of downtown Portland is relatively flat, the foothills of the Tualatin Mountains, more commonly referred to locally as the "West Hills", pierce through the Northwest and Southwest reaches of the city. Council Crest Park, the tallest point within city limits, is located in the West Hills and rises to an elevation of 1,073 feet. The highest point east of the river is Mt. Tabor, an extinct volcanic cinder cone, which rises to 636 feet. Nearby Powell Butte and Rocky Butte rise to 614 feet and 612 feet, respectively. To the west of the Tualatin Mountains lies the Oregon Coast Range, and to the east lies the actively volcanic Cascade Range. On clear days Mt. Hood and Mt St. Helens dominate the horizon while Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier can also be visible in the distance.

    According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 145.09 square miles (375.78 km2), of which, 133.43 square miles (345.58 km2) is land and 11.66 square miles (30.20 km2) is water. Although almost all of Portland lies within Multnomah County, small portions of the city lie within Clackamas and Washington counties with populations estimated at 785 and 1,455, respectively.[]

    Portland lies on top of an extinct volcanic field known as the Boring Lava Field. The Boring Lava Field contains at least 32 cinder cones such as Mount Tabor, and its center lies in Southeast Portland. Mount St. Helens, a highly active volcano 50 miles northeast of the city in Washington state, is easily visible on clear days and is close enough to have dusted the city with volcanic ash after its eruption on May 18, 1980.

    Cityscape

    Portland's cityscape derives much of its character from the numerous bridges that span the Willamette River downtown, several of which are historical landmarks, and Portland has been nicknamed "Bridgetown" for many decades as a result. Three of downtown's most heavily-utilized bridges are more than 100 years old and are designated historic landmarks: Hawthorne Bridge (1910), Steel Bridge (1912), and Broadway Bridge (1913). Portland's newest bridge, Tilikum Crossing, opened in 2015 and is the first new bridge to open in Portland since the 1973 opening of the Fremont Bridge.

    Panorama of downtown Portland in the day. Hawthorne Bridge viewed from a dock on the Willamette River near the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.
    Panorama of downtown Portland at night. View from SE Portland across the Willamette River.
    The Willamette River runs through the center of the city, while Mount Tabor (center) rises on the city's east side. Mount St. Helens (left) and Mount Hood (right center) are visible from many places in the city.

    Neighborhoods

    The five quadrants of Portland

    The Willamette River, which flows north through downtown, serves as the natural boundary between east and west Portland. The denser and earlier-developed west side extends into the lap of the West Hills, while the flatter east side fans out for roughly 180 blocks until it meets the suburb of Gresham. In 1891 the cities of Portland, Albina, and East Portland were consolidated, creating inconsistent patterns of street names and addresses. The "great renumbering" on September 2, 1931 standardized street naming patterns, divided Portland into five official quadrants, and changed house numbers from 20 per block to 100 per block.

    Piggott Castle, located in southwest Portland

    The five quadrants of Portland have come to develop distinctive identities over time, with mild cultural differences and friendly rivalries between their residents, especially between those who live east of the Willamette River versus west of the river. The official quadrants of Portland are: North, Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, and Southeast, with downtown Portland being located in the SW quadrant. The Willamette River divides the east and west quadrants while Burnside Street, which traverses the entire city lengthwise, divides the north and south quadrants. All addresses within the city are denoted as belonging to one of these specific quadrants with the prefixes: N, NW, NE, SW or SE.

    Though officially located in SW Portland, the RiverPlace, John's Landing and South Waterfront neighborhoods lie in a so-called (but unofficial) "sixth quadrant" called South Portland, where addresses rise 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.

    The Pearl District in Northwest Portland, which was largely occupied by warehouses, light industry and railroad classification yards in the early-mid twentieth century, now houses upscale art galleries, restaurants, and retail stores, and is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city. Areas further west of the Pearl District include neighborhoods known as Uptown and Nob Hill, as well as the Alphabet District and NW 23rd Ave., a major shopping street lined with swanky clothing boutiques and other upscale retail, mixed with cafes and restaurants.

    Northeast Portland is home to the Lloyd District, Alberta Arts District, and the Hollywood District. The northernmost point of the city, known simply as North Portland, is also largely residential; it contains the St. Johns neighborhood, which is historically one of the most ethnically-diverse and poorest neighborhoods in the city.

    Old Town Chinatown is located adjacent to the Pearl District in Northwest Portland, while Southwest Portland consists largely of the downtown district, made up of commercial businesses, museums, skyscrapers, and public landmarks. Southeast Portland is largely residential, and consists of the Hawthorne District, Belmont, Brooklyn, and Mount Tabor.

    Climate

    Portland
    Climate chart (explanation)
    J F M A M J J A S O N D
     
     
    4.9
     
     
    47
    36
     
     
    3.7
     
     
    51
    36
     
     
    3.7
     
     
    57
    40
     
     
    2.7
     
     
    61
    43
     
     
    2.5
     
     
    68
    49
     
     
    1.7
     
     
    74
    54
     
     
    0.7
     
     
    81
    58
     
     
    0.7
     
     
    81
    58
     
     
    1.5
     
     
    76
    53
     
     
    3
     
     
    64
    46
     
     
    5.6
     
     
    53
    41
     
     
    5.5
     
     
    46
    35
    Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
    Precipitation totals in inches
    In 1948 the city of Vanport was flooded and several buildings constructed a few years prior were a total loss, including Vanport Extension Center.

    Typical of the Willamette Valley in which it lies, Portland experiences a temperate climate with both oceanic and Mediterranean features. This climate is characterized by warm, dry summers and cool, rainy winters. Portland experiences a much more temperate climate than one would expect of its latitude, with snowfall and freezing temperatures happening infrequently. Out of the three most populated cities within the Pacific Northwest region (Seattle, Vancouver and Portland, respectively) Portland has the warmest average temperature, the highest number of sunshine hours, and the fewest inches of annual rainfall and snowfall among the three cities. According to the Köppen climate classification, Portland falls within the dry-summer mild temperate zone (Csb), also referred to as a warm-summer climate with a USDA Plant Hardiness Zones between 8b and 9a.

    Summers in Portland are warm to hot, dry, and sunny. The months of June, July, August and September account for a combined 4.49 inches (114 mm) of total rainfall – only 12% of the 36.03 in (915 mm) of the precipitation that falls throughout the year. The warmest month is August, with an average high temperature of 81.1 °F (27.3 °C). Because of its inland location 70 miles (110 km) from the coast, as well as the protective nature of the Oregon Coast Range to its west, Portland summers are less susceptible to the moderating influence of the nearby Pacific Ocean. Consequently, Portland experiences heat waves with temperatures rising well above 90 °F (32 °C) for days at a time, and sometimes above 100 °F (38 °C). On average temperatures reach or exceed 80 °F (27 °C) 56 days per year, of which 12 days will reach 90 °F (32 °C) and 1.4 days will reach 100 °F (38 °C). However, in 2015 the temperature downtown exceeded 90 °F (32 °C) on 29 different days - breaking the previous record of 24 days. The highest temperature ever recorded was 107 °F (42 °C), on July 30, 1965, as well as August 8 and 10, 1981. The warmest recorded overnight low was 74 °F (23 °C) on July 28, 2009. A temperature of 100 °F (38 °C) has been recorded in all five months from May through September.

    Spring and fall can bring variable weather including warm fronts that send temperatures surging above 80 °F (27 °C) and cold snaps that plunge daytime temperatures into the 40s °F (4–9 °C). However, consistently mild temperatures in the 50s and 60s °F (12−19 °C) are the norm  – with lengthy stretches of cloudy or partly cloudy days beginning in mid fall and continuing into mid spring. Rain often falls as a light drizzle for several consecutive days at a time, contributing to 155 days on average with measurable (≥0.01 in or 0.25 mm) precipitation annually. Temperatures have reached 90 °F (32 °C) as early as May 3 and as late as October 5, while 80 °F (27 °C) has been reached as early as April 1 and as late as October 21. Severe weather of any variety such as thunder, lightning, and tornadoes are all exceptionally rare, but are more likely to occur during the spring or fall.

    Spectators at Civic Stadium (now Providence Park Field) during a football game.

    Winters are cool, cloudy, and rainy, with more than half of Portland's annual precipitation falling between November and February. The coldest month is December with an average daily high of 45.6 °F (7.6 °C), although overnight lows usually remain above freezing. Evening temperatures fall to or below freezing 33 nights per year on average, but very rarely to or below 20 °F (−7 °C). There are only 2.1 days per year where the daytime high temperature fails to rise above freezing. The lowest overnight temperature ever recorded was −3 °F (−19 °C), on February 2, 1950 while the coldest daytime high temperature ever recorded was 14 °F (−10 °C) on December 30, 1968. The average window for freezing temperatures to potentially occur is between November 15 and March 19, allowing a growing season of 240 days.

    Snowfall is uncommon with a normal yearly accumulation of 4.3 inches (10.9 cm), which usually falls during only two or three days per year. Portland has one of the warmest and least snowy winters of any non-Sun Belt city in the United States, with more than 25 percent of its winters receiving no snow whatsoever. The city of Portland avoids snow more frequently than its suburbs, due in part to its low elevation and urban heat island effect. Neighborhoods outside of the downtown core, especially in slightly higher elevations near the West Hills and Mount Tabor, can experience a dusting of snow while downtown receives no accumulation at all. The city has experienced a few major snow and ice storms in its past with extreme totals having reached 44.5 in (113 cm) at the airport in 1949–50 and 60.9 in (155 cm) at downtown in 1892–93.


    Climate data for Portland, Oregon (PDX), 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1940–present
    Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
    Record high °F (°C) 66
    (19)
    71
    (22)
    80
    (27)
    90
    (32)
    100
    (38)
    102
    (39)
    107
    (42)
    107
    (42)
    105
    (41)
    92
    (33)
    73
    (23)
    65
    (18)
    107
    (42)
    Average high °F (°C) 47.0
    (8.3)
    51.3
    (10.7)
    56.7
    (13.7)
    61.4
    (16.3)
    68.0
    (20)
    73.5
    (23.1)
    80.6
    (27)
    81.1
    (27.3)
    75.8
    (24.3)
    63.8
    (17.7)
    52.8
    (11.6)
    45.6
    (7.6)
    63.1
    (17.3)
    Daily mean °F (°C) 41.4
    (5.2)
    43.8
    (6.6)
    48.2
    (9)
    52.3
    (11.3)
    58.3
    (14.6)
    63.6
    (17.6)
    69.2
    (20.7)
    69.5
    (20.8)
    64.5
    (18.1)
    54.9
    (12.7)
    46.6
    (8.1)
    40.4
    (4.7)
    54.4
    (12.4)
    Average low °F (°C) 35.8
    (2.1)
    36.3
    (2.4)
    39.6
    (4.2)
    43.1
    (6.2)
    48.6
    (9.2)
    53.6
    (12)
    57.8
    (14.3)
    58.0
    (14.4)
    53.1
    (11.7)
    46.0
    (7.8)
    40.5
    (4.7)
    35.2
    (1.8)
    45.6
    (7.6)
    Record low °F (°C) −2
    (−19)
    −3
    (−19)
    19
    (−7)
    29
    (−2)
    29
    (−2)
    39
    (4)
    43
    (6)
    44
    (7)
    34
    (1)
    26
    (−3)
    13
    (−11)
    6
    (−14)
    −3
    (−19)
    Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.88
    (124)
    3.66
    (93)
    3.68
    (93.5)
    2.73
    (69.3)
    2.47
    (62.7)
    1.70
    (43.2)
    0.65
    (16.5)
    0.67
    (17)
    1.47
    (37.3)
    3.00
    (76.2)
    5.63
    (143)
    5.49
    (139.4)
    36.03
    (915.2)
    Average snowfall inches (cm) 0.5
    (1.3)
    2.1
    (5.3)
    0.2
    (0.5)
    0
    (0)
    0
    (0)
    0
    (0)
    0
    (0)
    0
    (0)
    0
    (0)
    0
    (0)
    0.2
    (0.5)
    1.3
    (3.3)
    4.3
    (10.9)
    Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 18.0 14.9 17.6 16.4 13.6 9.2 4.1 3.9 6.7 12.5 19.0 18.6 154.5
    Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 0.7 1.5 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.5 1.5 4.4
    Average relative humidity (%) 80.9 78.0 74.6 71.6 68.7 65.8 62.8 64.8 69.4 77.9 81.5 82.7 73.2
    Mean monthly sunshine hours 85.6 116.4 191.1 221.1 276.1 290.2 331.9 298.1 235.7 151.7 79.3 63.7 2,340.9
    Percent possible sunshine 30 40 52 54 60 62 70 68 63 45 28 23 52
    Source: NOAA (relative humidity and sun 1961–1990)

    Demographics

    Historical population
    Census Pop.
    1860 2,874
    1870 8,293 188.6%
    1880 17,577 111.9%
    1890 46,385 163.9%
    1900 90,426 94.9%
    1910 207,214 129.2%
    1920 258,288 24.6%
    1930 301,815 16.9%
    1940 305,394 1.2%
    1950 373,628 22.3%
    1960 372,676 −0.3%
    1970 382,619 2.7%
    1980 366,383 −4.2%
    1990 437,319 19.4%
    2000 529,121 21.0%
    2010 583,776 10.3%
    Est. 2014 619,360 6.1%
    Sources:
    U.S. Decennial Census
    2014 Estimate

    The census reported the city as 76.1% White (444,254 people), 7.1% Asian (41,448), 6.3% Black or African American (36,778), 1.0% Native American (5,838), 0.5% Pacific Islander (2,919), 4.7% belonging to two or more racial groups (24,437) and 5.0% from other races (28,987). 9.4% were Hispanic or Latino, of any race (54,840). Whites not of Hispanic origin made up 72.2% of the total population.

    In 1940, Portland's African-American population was approximately 2,000 and largely consisted of railroad employees and their families. During the war-time liberty ship construction boom, the need for workers drew many blacks to the city. The new influx of blacks settled in specific neighborhoods, such as the Albina district and Vanport. The May 1948 flood which destroyed Vanport eliminated the only integrated neighborhood, and an influx of blacks into the northeast quadrant of the city continued. Portland's longshoremen racial mix was described as being "lily-white" in the 1960s, when the local International Longshore and Warehouse Union declined to represent grain handlers since some were black.

    At 6.3%, Portland's African American population is three times the state average. Over two thirds of Oregon's African-American residents live in Portland. As of the 2000 census, three of its high schools (Cleveland, Lincoln and Wilson) were over 70% white, reflecting the overall population, while Jefferson High School was 87% non-white. The remaining six schools have a higher number of non-whites, including blacks and Asians. Hispanic students average from 3.3% at Wilson to 31% at Roosevelt.

    Graph showing the city's population growth from 1850 to 2010

    Portland residents identifying solely as Asian Americans account for 7.1% of the population; an additional 1.8% is partially of Asian heritage. Vietnamese Americans make up 2.2% of Portland's population, and make up the largest Asian ethnic group in the city, followed by Chinese (1.7%), Filipinos (0.6%), Japanese (0.5%), Koreans (0.4%), Laotians (0.4%), Hmong (0.2%), and Cambodians (0.1%). There is a small population of Yao people that live in Portland. Portland has two Chinatowns, with New Chinatown located along SE 82nd Avenue and bustling with Chinese supermarkets, Hong Kong style noodle houses, dim sum, and Vietnamese phở restaurants.

    With about 12,000 Vietnamese residing in the city proper, Portland has one of the largest Vietnamese populations in America per capita. According to statistics there are 21,000 Pacific Islanders in Portland, making up 4% of the population.

    An ethnic distribution map of Portland, Oregon based on the 2000 census. Each dot represents 25 people, with red dots representing whites, blue representing Blacks, green representing Asians, orange representing Hispanics, and grey representing all other races.

    Portland's population has been and remains predominantly white. In 1940, whites were over 98% of the city's population. In 2009, Portland had the fifth-highest percentage of white residents among the 40 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. A 2007 survey of the 40 largest cities in the U.S. concluded that Portland's urban core has the highest percentage of white residents. Some scholars have noted the Pacific Northwest as a whole is "one of the last Caucasian bastions of the United States". While Portland's diversity was historically comparable to metro Seattle and Salt Lake City, those areas grew more diverse in the late 1990s and 2000s. Portland not only remains white, but migration to Portland is disproportionately white, at least partly because Portland is attractive to young college-educated Americans, a group which is primarily white.

    The Oregon Territory banned African American settlement in 1849. In the 19th century, certain laws allowed the immigration of Chinese laborers but prohibited them from owning property or bringing their families. The early 1920s saw the rapid growth of the Ku Klux Klan, which became very influential in Oregon politics, culminating in the election of Walter M. Pierce as governor.

    The largest influxes of minority populations occurred during World War II, as the African American population grew by a factor of 10 for wartime work. After World War II, the Vanport flood in 1948 displaced many African Americans. As they resettled, redlining directed the displaced workers from the wartime settlement to neighboring Albina. There and elsewhere in Portland, they experienced police hostility, lack of employment, and mortgage discrimination, leading to half the black population leaving after the war. Widespread housing discrimination continues to affect the racial landscape today.[]

    In the 1980s and 1990s, radical skinhead groups flourished in Portland. In 1988, Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian immigrant, was killed by three skinheads. The response to his murder involved a community-driven series of rallies, campaigns, nonprofits and events designed to address Portland's racial history, leading to a city considered significantly more tolerant than in 1988 at Seraw's death.

    During redevelopment of north Portland along the MAX Yellow Line, displacement of minorities occurred at a drastic rate. Out of 29 census tracts in north and northeast Portland, ten were majority nonwhite in 2000. By 2010, none of these tracts were majority nonwhite as gentrification drove the cost of living up. Today, Portland's African-American community is concentrated in the north and northeast section of the city, mainly in the King neighborhood.

    Households

    As of the 2010 census, there are 583,776 people residing in the city, organized into 235,508 households. The population density is 4,375.2 people per square mile. There are 265,439 housing units at an average density of 1989.4 per square mile (1,236.3/km²). Population growth in Portland increased 10.3% between 2000 and 2010. Population growth in the Portland metropolitan area has outpaced the national average during the last decade, and this is expected to continue over the next 50 years.

    Out of 223,737 households, 24.5% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.1% are married couples living together, 10.8% have a female householder with no husband present, and 47.1% are non-families. 34.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.3 and the average family size is 3. The age distribution was 21.1% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 34.7% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.6% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 35 years. For every 100 females there are 97.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 95.9 males.

    The median income for a household in the city is $40,146, and the median income for a family is $50,271. Males have a reported median income of $35,279 versus $29,344 reported for females. The per capita income for the city is $22,643. 13.1% of the population and 8.5% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 15.7% of those under the age of 18 and 10.4% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line. Figures delineating the income levels based on race are not available at this time. According to the Modern Language Association, in 2010 80.92% (539,885) percent of Multnomah County residents ages 5 and over spoke English as their primary language at home. 8.10% of the population spoke Spanish (54,036), with Vietnamese speakers making up 1.94%, and Russian 1.46%.

    Social demographics

    St. Michael the Archangel Church; of the 35% of religiously affiliated Portland residents, Roman Catholics make up the largest group.

    The Portland metropolitan area has historically had a significant LGBT population throughout the late twentieth and twenty-first century. In 2015, the city metro had the second highest percentage of LGBT residents in the United States with 5.4% of residents identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered, second only to San Francisco. In 2006, it was reported to have the seventh highest LGBT population in the country, with 8.8% of residents identifying as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, and the metro ranking fourth in the nation at 6.1%. The city held its first pride festival in 1975 on the Portland State University campus.

    Portland has been cited as the least religious city in the United States, with over 42% of residents identifying as religiously "unaffiliated," according to the nonpartisan and nonprofit Public Religion Research Institute’s American Values Atlas. Of the 35.89% of the city's residents who do identify as religious, Roman Catholics make up the largest group, at 15.8%. The second highest religious group in the city are Evangelical Christians at 6.04%, with Baptists following behind at 2.5%. Latter Day Saints make up 2.3% of the city's religiously affiliated population, with Lutheran and Pentecostal following behind. 1.48% of religiously affiliated persons identified themselves as following Eastern religions, while 0.86% of the religiously affiliated population identified as Jewish, and 0.29% as Muslim.

    Economy

    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. 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. In 2012, the city was listed among the 10 best places to retire in the U.S. by CBS MoneyWatch.

    Adidas has its North America headquarters in the Overlook neighborhood.

    The city's marine terminals alone handle over 13 million tons of cargo per year, and the port is home to one of the largest commercial dry docks in the country. The Port of Portland is the third largest export tonnage port on the west coast of the U.S., and being located about 80 miles (130 km) upriver, it is the largest fresh-water port. The city of Portland is largest shipper of wheat in the United States, and is the second largest port for wheat in the world.

    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. 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. Other heavy industry companies include ESCO Corporation and Oregon Steel Mills.

    Technology is a major component of the city's economy, with more than 1,200 technology companies existing within the metro. This high density of technology companies has led to the nickname Silicon Forest being used to describe the Portland area, a reference to the abundance of trees in the region and to the Silicon Valley region in Northern California. The area also hosts facilities for software companies and online startup companies, some supported by local seed funding organizations and business incubators. Computer components manufacturer Intel is the Portland area's largest employer, providing jobs for more than 15,000 people, with several campuses to the west of central Portland in the city of Hillsboro.

    The Portland metro area has become a hub for athletic and footwear manufacturers. The area is home to the global, North American or US headquarters of Nike, Adidas, Columbia Sportswear, Dr. Martens, Li-Ning,Keen, and Hi-Tec Sports. Portland-based Precision Castparts is one of two Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Oregon, the other being Nike. Other notable Portland-based companies include film animation studio Laika; advertising firm Wieden+Kennedy; bankers Umpqua Holdings; and retailers Fred Meyer, New Seasons and Storables.

    Culture

    Music, film, and performing arts

    Multi-Grammy award winning jazz artist Esperanza Spalding was raised in Portland and active in the city's jazz scene from a young age
    Controversial rock singer Courtney Love started her first band in Portland and also met Kurt Cobain there

    Portland is home to famous bands such as The Kingsmen and Paul Revere & the Raiders, both famous for their association with the song "Louie Louie" (1963). Other widely known musical groups include The Dandy Warhols, Quarterflash, Everclear, Pink Martini, Sleater-Kinney, The Shins, Blitzen Trapper, The Decemberists, and the late Elliott Smith. In the 1980s, the city was home to a burgeoning punk scene, which included bands such as the Wipers and Dead Moon. The city's now-demolished Satyricon nightclub was a punk venue that is notorious for being the place where Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain first encountered future wife and Hole frontwoman Courtney Love in 1990. Love was a native of Portland, and started several bands there with Kat Bjelland, later of Babes in Toyland. Multi-Grammy award winning jazz artist Esperanza Spalding is from Portland, and performed with the Chamber Music Society of Oregon at a young age.

    In 2013, The Guardian named the city's music scene as one of the "most vibrant" in the United States. According to the New York Times, the dozens of karaoke bars in Portland make it not just "the capital of karaoke" in the United States, but "one of the most exciting music scenes in America. Portland also has a range of classical performing arts institutions which include the Oregon Symphony, Portland Opera and the Portland Youth Philharmonic. The city is also home to several theaters and performing arts institutions, including the Oregon Ballet Theatre, Northwest Children's Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Artists Repertory Theatre, Miracle Theatre, and Tears of Joy Theatre.

    A wide range of films have been shot in Portland, from various independent features to major big-budget productions (see List of films shot in Oregon for a complete list). Director Gus Van Sant has notably set and shot many of his films in the city. The IFC sketch comedy series Portlandia, starring Fred Armisen and Sleater-Kinney member Carrie Brownstein, shoots on location in Portland, satirizing the city as a hub of liberal politics, organic food, alternative lifestyles and anti-establishment attitudes.MTV's long-time running reality show, The Real World, was shot in Portland for the show's 29th season. The Real World: Portland premiered on MTV on March 27, 2013 and was filmed in a loft in the Pearl District. The show featured the cast members taking part in several Portland activities, such as hiking in the Columbia River Gorge. The cast members worked at a local frozen yogurt shop and the local Pizza Schmizza. Other TV shows which have shot in the city include Leverage, The Librarians, Under Suspicion, Grimm, Nowhere Man and Life Unexpected.

    An unusual feature of Portland entertainment is the large number of movie theaters serving beer, often with second-run or revival films. Notable examples of these "brew and view" theaters includes The Bagdad Theater and Pub, a former vaudeville theater built in 1927 by Universal Studios;Cinema 21, and the Laurelhurst Theater, in operation since 1923. Portland hosts the world's longest-running HP Lovecraft Film Festival at the Hollywood Theatre.

    The Oregon Symphony performs at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.
    The Hollywood Theatre currently exists as a non-profit organization.
    The Art Deco designed Laurelhurst Theater in the Kerns neighborhood was opened in 1923.
    Avalon Theatre in the Belmont neighborhood plays second-run films.
    The Moreland Theater in the Sellwood neighborhood.
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest premiered at the Bagdad Theater in 1975.

    Museums

    Portland museums offer a variety of educational programs. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) includes many hands-on activities for adults and children. It consists of five main halls, most of which consist of smaller laboratories: Earth Science Hall, Life Science Hall, Turbine Hall, Science Playground, and Featured Exhibit Hall. The Featured Exhibit Hall has a new exhibit every few months. The laboratories are Chemistry, Physics, Technology, Life, Paleontology, and Watershed. OMSI has many other unique attractions, such as the USS Blueback submarine, used in the film The Hunt for Red October, the OMNIMAX Dome Theater, and OMSI's Kendall Planetarium.

    Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)

    The OMNIMAX Dome Theater is a variant of the IMAX motion picture format, where the movie is projected onto a domed projection surface. The projection surface at OMSI's OMNIMAX Dome Theater is 6,532 sq ft (606.8 m2). The OMNIMAX Theater uses the largest frame in the motion picture industry and the frames are ten times the size of the standard 35mm film. OMSI's Kendall Planetarium is the largest and most technologically advanced planetarium in the Pacific Northwest. OMSI is located at 1945 SE Water Ave. OMSI is built right up next to the river and is also conveniently located near the entrance to the Springwater Corridor and Eastbank Esplanade pedestrian and bike trails.

    The Portland Art Museum owns the city's largest art collection and presents a variety of touring exhibitions each year and with the recent addition of the Modern and Contemporary Art wing it became one of the United States' 25 largest museums.

    The Oregon History Museum was founded in 1898. The Oregon History Museum has a variety of books, film, pictures, artifacts, and maps dating back throughout Oregon's history. The Oregon History Museum has one of the most extensive collections of state history materials in the USA.

    The Portland Children's Museum is a museum specifically geared for early childhood development. This museum has many topics, and many of their exhibits rotate, to keep the information fresh. The Portland Children's Museum also supports a small charter school for elementary children.

    Cuisine and breweries

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