Interesting facts about Portland


Portland is the largest and most populous city in Oregon.

It is situated at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers.

As of October 2019, the population of Portland is about 655,000 people. It is the 25th most populous city in the United States.

Portland covers a total area of 376 square kilometers (145 square miles).

The city has an average elevation of 15 meters (50 feet) above sea level. The highest point in Portland is 1,188 meters (362 feet) above sea level and the lowest point is 0.2 meters (0.6 feet).


The history of the city of Portland, Oregon, began in 1843 when business partners William Overton and Asa Lovejoy filed to claim land on the west bank of the Willamette River in Oregon Country.

In 1845 the name of Portland was chosen for this community by coin toss.

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.

Early growth was stimulated by a number of gold rushes and the flow of immigrants along the Oregon Trail.

portland in 1890

At the turn of the 20th century, the city had 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 progressive political values, earning it a reputation as a bastion of counterculture.


Today, Portland is alive with cultural happenings, musical entertainment, theater, and a selection of other fun things to do.

This heavily forested city contains more than 36 square kilometers (14 square miles) of parkland, including the 2,000-hectare (5,000-acre) Forest Park on the northwest side.

Washington Park is a public urban park. It includes a zoo, forestry museum, arboretum, children’s museum, rose garden, Japanese garden, amphitheatre, memorials, archery range, tennis courts, soccer field, picnic areas, playgrounds, public art and many acres of wild forest with miles of trails.

washington park

The Portland Japanese Garden is a traditional Japanese garden occupying 5 hectares (12 acres), located within Washington Park in the West Hills of Portland. It is composed of eight garden spaces and a Cultural Village. In 1958, Portland became a sister city of Sapporo, Japan. This inspired Portland business leaders and public officials to create a Japanese garden in Portland. On June 4, 1962, the city council created a commission to establish the garden in Washington Park.

portland japanese garden

Lan Su Chinese Garden is a walled Chinese garden enclosing a full city block, roughly 4,000 square meters (40,000 square feet) in the Chinatown area of the Old Town Chinatown neighborhood of Portland. The garden is influenced by many of the famous classical gardens in Suzhou, China.

lan su chinese garden

The International Rose Test Garden is a rose garden in Washington Park. There are over 10,000 rose bushes of approximately 650 varieties. The roses bloom from April through October with the peak coming in June, depending on the weather. It is the oldest continuously operating public rose test garden in the United States (established in 1917).

rose test garden portland

The Oregon Zoo is a zoo located in Washington Park. Founded in 1888, it is the oldest zoo west of the Mississippi River. The 64-acre (26 ha) zoo is owned by the regional Metro government. It currently holds more than 1,800 animals of more than 230 species, including 19 endangered species and 9 threatened species.

oregon zoo

The Pittock Mansion is a French Renaissance-style château in the West Hills of Portland. The mansion was originally built in 1914 as a private home for London-born Oregonian publisher Henry Pittock and his wife, Georgiana. It is a 46-room estate built of Tenino Sandstone situated on 19 hectares (46 acres) that is now owned by the city’s Bureau of Parks and Recreation and open for touring. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

pittock mansion

Portland is frequently recognized as one of the world’s most environmentally conscious cities because of its high walkability, large community of bicyclists, farm-to-table dining, expansive network of public transportation options.

Portland’s annual Rose Festival (June) is widely acclaimed, and a blues festival and a brewer’s festival are held each July.

Its climate is marked by warm, dry summers and cool, rainy winters.

This climate is ideal for growing roses, and Portland has been called the “City of Roses” for over a century.

Some other nicknames of Portland are “Stumptown” (from the fact that Portland was built over a forest), and “Puddletown” (from the fact that it often rains in Portland).