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about Portland

Portland is the largest city in Oregon, and county seat of Multnomah County. It is a major Pacific seaport located about sixty miles from the west coast of the United States, situated on both sides of the Willamette River, just south of its confluence with the Columbia River. According the US Census estimates, as of July 2003, the city's population was estimated to be 538,544, a growth of 1.7% over the April 2000 census figure of 529,121.

The Portland metropolitan area spans Multnomah and Washington counties and parts of Clackamas, Columbia, and Yamhill counties in Oregon, and Clark County in Washington, with a population of 2,016,357 as of July 2003, 5.2% more than the 2000 census figure for the area. The metropolitan area includes the neighboring cities of Beaverton, Gresham, Hillsboro, Milwaukie, Lake Oswego, Oregon City, and Tigard (all in Oregon), as well as Vancouver (in Washington).

Portland geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 376.5 km² (145.4 mi²). 347.9 km² (134.3 mi²) of it is land and 28.6 km² (11.1 mi²), or 7.6%, is water.

Downtown Portland has compact city blocks and narrow streets. Each block is 200 ft (60 m) square; by comparison, Seattle's city blocks are 240 by 320 feet (70 by 100 m), and Manhattan's east-west streets are divided into blocks that are from 600 to 800 feet (180 to 240 m) long. In addition, most streets are 60 feet (20 m) wide, so the combination of compact blocks and narrow streets make the downtown more pedestrian-friendly.

As a result of a "great renumbering" on September 2, 1931, Portland is divided into five sections. Burnside Street bisects it into northern and southern halves. Below Burnside are the Southwest and Southeast sections, divided by the Willamette River. Above it, are Northwest, North, and Northeast sections; a separate North section is due to a bend in the Willamette which splits what would otherwise be a northwest quadrant into North Portland and Northwest sections of town. Locals refer to these areas by their section names (such as "Northwest"), with the exception of "North Portland", for which the full name is typically used, although it is infrequently abbreviated as "NoPo". The more densely populated parts of the city proper are somewhat asymmetrical, with the west side hemmed in by the West Hills, while the flatter east side stretches on for more than 150 blocks, until it meets Gresham.


Northwest includes the Pearl District, a fairly recent name for what originally was an old warehouse area. Since the late 1980s, many of the existing warehouses have been converted into lofts, and new multi-story condominiums have also been developed. The increasing density has attracted an urban mix of restaurants, brewpubs, shops, and art galleries, though in some cases pioneering tenants have been priced out of the area. The galleries sponsor receptions for their artists on the first Thursday of every month.

Further west is the toney NW 23rd neighborhood and shopping area.

Portland's Old Chinatown neighborhood is marked by a pair of lions at the corner of NW 4th and Burnside, and includes the district along the Willamette River between Burnside and Union Station.


Southwest includes Pioneer Courthouse Square (downtown's "living room"), various suburban neighborhoods including the expensive West Hills (mentioned in a 1997 Everclear song,I Will Buy You A New Life.), the campuses of Portland State University, OHSU, and Lewis and Clark College, and the south riverfront along Macadam Boulevard and the Willamette, over 100 acres (0.4 km²) of former industrial land. The city of Portland is hoping to redevelop this area into a mixed-use, high-density neighborhood, with 2700 residential units and provide 5,000 high-tech jobs after build-out. It is estimated that it would cost the city about 2 billion dollars to build altogether but the estimate could change in the future due to change in plan or scaling-down of the operation.

North Portland

North Portland, another working-class area, contains the St. Johns neighborhood adjacent to the St. Johns Bridge. St. Johns has been described as having an old-fashioned and slightly run-down feeling; North Portland overall has been accredited with a cozy "small town" charm by some inhabitants.

During World War II, a planned development named Vanport was constructed to the north of this section between the city limits and the Columbia River. It grew to be the second largest city in Oregon, but was wiped out by a disastrous flood in 1948. The old Housing Authority of Portland's Columbia Villa in the Portsmouth Neighborhood is being rebuilt; the new, $150 million community will be known as New Columbia and will offer public housing, rental housing, and single family home ownership units.

The area includes a new light-rail line (opened in 2004) along Interstate Avenue, which parallels Interstate 5. It is also home to the University of Portland. North Portland also has other various public transportation routes with several frequent service lines.


Northeast contains a diverse collection of neighborhoods, both sociologically and ethnically. While Irvington and the Alameda Ridge boast some of the most expensive homes in Portland, nearby Albina (for example) is a more working-class neighborhood. Northeast is more diverse racially than Portland as a whole. Inner Northeast includes several shopping districts such as the Lloyd and Hollywood Districts. The city plan targets Lloyd District as another mixed-use area, with high-rise residential development. Developers are waiting for the success of a seed project before intensive development occurs.

Rose Quarter is another district within the area. It is named after the Rose Garden, which is the home of the Portland Trail Blazers, and includes the Blazers' former home, the Memorial Coliseum. During the team's home games, the area is quite active, with spectators for the game mixing with local restaurant and bar patrons. The city hopes to expand this area beyond game-time entertainment, by promoting a major increase in residential units in the quarter, using zoning and tax incentives.


Southeast stretches from the warehouses by the river, through the expensive Ladd's Addition, to hippie/Generation X Hawthorne and Belmont districts, over Mt. Tabor and on to poorer neighborhoods beyond 82nd Avenue.

Farther south, the Brooklyn, Sellwood, Woodstock, and Brentwood-Darlington neighborhoods and wealthy areas near Reed College are close to the Willamette, with Clackamas Town Center acting as a hub for business further east, where I-205 splits the region.

Between the 1920s and the 1960s. the southeast was home to Lambert Gardens.

Portland history

Portland started as a spot known as "The Clearing" which was on the Willamette about half-way between Oregon City and Fort Vancouver. In 1843, William Overton saw great commercial potential for this land; his only problem was that he lacked the quarter needed to file a land claim. So, he struck a bargain with his partner Asa Lovejoy: for 25¢, Overton would share his claim to the 640 acre (2.6 km²) site.

Bored with clearing trees and building roads, Overton sold his half of the claim to Francis W. Pettygrove. When it came time to name their new town, Pettygrove and Lovejoy each wanted to name it after his home town. They settled the argument with a coin toss. Pettygrove won, and named it after Portland, Maine; had Lovejoy won, he intended to name it after Boston, Massachusetts.

In its early years, Portland existed in the shadow of Oregon City, the territorial capital twelve miles upstream on the falls of the Willamette. However, Portland was located at the Willamette's head of navigation, the furthest point inland one could reliably reach by ship. This gave it a key advantage over its older peer. It also triumphed over early rivals like Milwaukie. By 1850 Portland had approximately 800 inhabitants, a steam sawmill, a log cabin hotel, and a newspaper, called the Weekly Oregonian.

Portland was the major port in the Pacific Northwest for much of the 19th century, until the 1890s when direct railroad access between the deep water harbor in Seattle and points east by way of Stampede Pass were built. Goods could then be transported from the northwest coast to inland cities without needing to navigate the dangerous bar at the mouth of the Columbia.

In 2003, Vera Katz, mayor since 1992, announced that she would not primary election, none of the 10 candidates running received a majority of votes, so the two with the most votes -- former police chief Tom Potter and City Commissioner Jim Francesconi -- will face each other in the November general election.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Portland, Oregon".

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