A Guide to Essential Facts about Portland, Oregon

A Guide to Essential Facts about Portland, Oregon

Progressive, cool with ultra-friendly locals and beautiful surroundings, Portland should be on everyone’s travel list. If you’re thinking of visiting or just want to find out more, here are some essential facts about the city of Portland, Oregon…

Where is Portland?

Where is Portland?

Portland is located in the United States in Oregon. The state of Oregon is on the West Coast and shares borders with Washington, Idaho, Nevada, and California. The city itself is located on the Washington Border approximately 60 miles from the coast. This means that Portland runs on Pacific Daylight Time, otherwise known as GMT-7. 

What is Portland’s Zip Code?

The zip codes in Portland vary depending on the exact area you are in. Currently, there are 31 different zip codes for the city. It is best to confirm the exact zip code of the area you are looking at by using a specific address.

What time zone is Portland in?

Portland Oregon is in the Pacific Time Zone

How Did Portland Get its Name?

Portland White Stag Sign

Portland got its name from the flip of a coin. There were two suggestions for Portland’s name, one was Boston and the other Portland. To settle the disagreement, they flipped a coin, whichever name received 2 wins out of 3, won (PDX History). As you may have guessed, Portland won the coin toss.

What are Portland’s Nicknames? 

The best places to see rose in Portland Oregon

There are also several nicknames that have been given to the city. These nicknames include:

  • City of roses/Rose city – This is one of Portland’s most common nicknames.
  • Rip City – This nickname was awarded thanks to the city’s NBA team, the Portland Trail Blazers. During their opening season in 1971, the announcer famously shouted “Rip City! All Right!” and the name stuck.
  • Stumptown – From a time when settlers were eagerly logging the city, it was also known as “The clearing” at this time due to the amount of deforestation that occurred.
  • Bridge City/Bridgetown – There are 14 bridges in Portland with many of those holding significant historical value.
  • Portlandia – This name comes from the second largest copper statue in the world, Portlandia (second only to the Statue of Liberty). Believe it or not, the statue of Portlandia is located on the east coast of the United States. The statue was built as a tribute to the Portland seal that was adopted in 1878.
  • PDX – This pays respect to the Portland International Airport whose airport code is PDX.

Who Runs Portland?

The Portland mayor is Ted Wheeler. Ted has been in office since 2017 (Portland.gov). The sheriff of Portland is Michael (Mike) Reese. He has been the sheriff since May 2016

What is Portland, Oregon’s Flag?

Portland, Oregon’s Flag

The flag of Portland is green with a white four-point star. Each side of the star has a blue stripe running from it. The blue streaks are surrounded by white and yellow. The flag is 3ft high and 5ft wide.

What Makes Portland Famous?

Tilikum Crossing Portland

Historically, Portland was known to be “one of the most dangerous cities on the West Coast”. This was due to the large number of sailors moving through the city’s port back in the 19th century. 

During this time, the city also boasted an extensive underground tunnel system used to transport goods directly from the ports to business and hotel basements. Though there are many other nefarious and colorful stories that have yet to be confirmed.

What is Portland like today?

In modern times, Portland is well known for its progressive thinking, quirky vibe, eco ideals, friendly local roses, being home to a large number of great coffee shops, craft breweries and restaurants and its beautiful surrounding scenery. 

What is Portland known for?

It’s also known for its large number of bridges. Some particularly notable bridges include the Steel Bridge, built-in 1888 and then re-built in 1912. The Hawthorne Bridge was restored in 1910, and most recently, Tilikum Crossing. Tilikum Crossing was built in 2012 and was the first of its kind allowing only foot traffic and cyclists to cross.

What is Portland’s Elevation

Northwest Heights View Portland

The city of Portland has varied elevations throughout the city with the lowest point sitting at sea level. The highest peak of the mountains surrounding the city sits at 1,300ft with the average elevation for the city being 253ft.

The highest point within the city limits is near the forest park. This peak is 1,180ft above sea level and is rarely accessed. 

What are the main demographics of Portland?

People at Portland Saturday Market

How big is the population?

The population of Portland, Oregon in 2022 is 666,453 people. This makes Portland the most populous city in Oregon and the 26th largest in the United States. Current trends show that Portland is continuously growing at a rate of 0.59% per year (neighborhoodscout.com).

What is the population density of Portland?

On average, every square mile of Portland is home to 4,995 people.

What are the main ethnicities of Portland?

Portland is home to a number of different ethnicities, while a strong majority of people are identified as white, the second-largest ethnicity in the city are people of Asian descent.

Portland Demographics Breakdown:

White/Caucasian: 77.38%

Asian Decent: 8.18%

African American: 5.80%

Bi-racial: 5.34%

Other: 1.89%

Native American: 0.80%

Pacific Islander or Hawaiian: 0.61%

What is the median age of the Portland population?

The median age of the population of Portland is 37.1 years old. The median age of males is 37 years while the median age of women in Portland is 37.1.

The senior population of Portland consists of 82,500 people accounting for 15.5% of the total city population (neighborhoodscout.com).

What is the gender ratio in Portland?

Portland has a reasonably even split between male and female residents. Males make up 49.57% of the population while females account for 50.43%

What is Portland’s marriage rate?

Romantic things to do in Portland

Overall, 40.9% of Portland residents are married. Female residents have a lower marriage rate than men at 40.4% with men sitting at 41.4% (statisticalatlas.com)

Men over the age of 65 are most likely to be married while women between 45-54 are most likely to be married.

The ethnicity that is most likely to be married are residents of Asian descent (50.2%) with biracial residents the least likely to be married (59.7%). African American residents have the highest divorce rate (15.9%).

Living in Portland Oregon

What is the employment rate of Portland?

Portland has an overall employment rate of 66.9% and an overall unemployment rate of 4.8% (statisticalatlas.com).

Residents between the ages of 30-34 are most likely to be employed with an employment rate of 84.5%. This is followed closely by residents aged 35-44 at 84.3%, residents aged 25-29 with 82.9% employment rate, and people aged 45-54 at 80.3%.

The ethnicity with the highest rate of employment is ‘other’ and the ethnicity with the lowest employment rate is African American residents.

What is the minimum wage in Portland?

The minimum wage in Portland was $12.25 and raised to $13 on January 1st, 2022. The minimum wage will continue to rise in increments to $15 per hour by 2024.

What is the average wage in Portland?

Portland has a median household income of $71,005 and an average household income of $95,998. Portland’s poverty rate is 13.72% (neighborhoodscout.com).

What is the average cost of a house in Portland?

If you are looking to buy a home in Portland, the median house value is $412,000 (neighborhoodscout.com).

The median cost of renting in Portland is $1,248 per month.

What’s the weather like in Portland?

Weather and Climate in Portland - what to expect

Portland tends to have short, dry summers that consist of warm days and sunny skies. However, the winter in Portland is characterized as wet, overcast, and cold.

The average temperature in summer is 76°F with the hottest month having a usual low of 57°F and a high of 83°F. The average temperature in winter is 52°F with an average low of 36°F (Climates to Travel).

Are there earthquakes in Portland?

It can be argued that Portland is the most likely place in Oregon to experience an earthquake. To date, the Portland metropolitan area has experienced 17 earthquakes that have had a magnitude of 4 or higher. Currently, Oregan and Washington experience 15-20 earthquakes per year (Oregon Insurance Advisor).

Scientists studying the seismic activity in the region predict that Oregon has a 37% chance of experiencing an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.1 or higher in the next 50 years. However, this earthquake will hit off of the west coast and will not be directly under the city. If this earthquake does occur, the damage to Portland will be substantial. Portland will also be spared from the tsunami that will likely occur in the event of a 7.1 magnitude earthquake off of the coast. As it is 60 miles from the coast, the water is not likely to reach the city.

What is healthcare like in Portland?

What is Healthcare like in Portland Oregon

Portland is ranked 4th for best city healthcare in the United States. This ranking is based on quality, cost, outcome and competition (numbeo.com). Portland was only beaten by Boston, Washington DC, and Minneapolis.

Portland’s hospital, Oregon Health & Science University has been ranked number one on the Annual Ranking of American Hospitals for the 6th year in a row.

The hospital was also recognized as being in the top 50 hospitals in the United States for its specialty treatments of:

  • Cancer
  • Cardiology and heart surgery
  • Diabetes and endocrinology (hormone-related diseases)
  • Ear, nose and throat (issues in the head and neck)
  • Geriatrics (age-related issues)
  • Nephrology (Kidney related diseases)
  • Urology (urinary tract issues including kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra)

It was also recognized as “high performing” for its treatment of:

  • Gastroenterology (Digestive system)
  • Neurology and neurosurgery (Brain related issues)
  • Ophthalmology (issues relating to the eye)
  • Orthopaedics (Musculoskeletal issues)

In total, Portland has 7 privately run hospitals and 4 other hospitals including the Oregon Health & Science University Hospital.

How good are the Portland universities?

Portland University Oregon

Within a 20 mile radius of Portland, there are 24 colleges. This includes 18 that are privately run, 3 community colleges and universities, and 3 publicly run colleges and universities. 

The University of Portland was ranked #3 in the Regional Universities, West category of the Best colleges list in 2022. The University of Portland is privately run and has a tuition fee of $49,864.

Lewis & Clark College boasts a ranking of #82 in the National Liberal Arts Colleges with a tuition fee of $57,404.

The average cost of a 4-year college degree in Portland is $28,313 per year for nonprofit colleges, $15,617 for-profit colleges, and just $4,932 per year for 2-year degrees. Online learning is offered in varying amounts at 13 Universities with 2 of them offering online learning only.

Are there any good libraries in Portland?

Portland Library

Portland has multiple libraries within the city. This includes Multnomah County Library which was built in 1864 and is the oldest public library west of the Mississippi. The library has grown substantially over the years and includes one central library and 18 neighborhood libraries. Altogether, the Multnomah library system offers more than 2.6 million books and resources. Multnomah is Oregon’s largest public library and services 1/5th of the entire state’s population.

Aside from the Central Multnomah County Library, there are 9 others worthy of mention. While Multnomah County Library Central is ranked as number one in the city, there are 10 in total that deserves a mention.

  1. Multnomah County Library
  2. Multnomah County Library
  3. Beaverton City Library
  4. Multnomah County Library
  5. Multnomah County Library
  6. Multnomah County Library
  7. Multnomah County Library
  8. Multnomah County Library
  9. Portland State University Library
  10. Lake Oswego Public Library

Is Portland a Diverse City?

Portland is lacking when it comes to diversity. As shown in the demographics listed above, there is a distinct lack of African Americans and Latinos. However, the sentiment appears to be changing for the better. In 2021 there were several civil rights demonstrations with a large number of young white people in attendance indicating an openness to positive change.

Did Any Famous People Come From Portland?

Who is from Portland? Portland boasts an impressive number of celebrities that were born in the city.

  • Chuck Palahniuk, the writer of the classic book and movie Fight Club
  • Matt Groening is most famous for his work as a writer for the Simpsons and Futurama.
  • James Beard, one of America’s most famous chefs. He was also famous worldwide as a food author.
  • Courtney Love, a world-famous singer and wife of Kurt Cobain (lead singer of Nirvana)

Where to find Portland on the Map?

Portland is in the North West of the USA, 4223 km from the Candian border.

Where to find Portland Oregon on the map

Beth was born under a wandering star, with drama in her veins and ink in her pen. After stints studying theatre in Dublin and Utrecht she used her creative streak to see as much of the world as she could on as little money. She toured Italian Schools with a children's theatre troop, lived as an au-pair in both Rome and Washington DC, explored the British countryside, worked her way through much of Europe, Salsa'd in Cuba and road tripped down America's west coast where she discovered her spiritual home; Portland, Oregon. In between adventures she resides peacefully with her cat and ukulele amid the misty valleys and rolling hills of beautiful South Wales.

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