Located in Northwest Oregon, Portland is where the Columbia and Willamette rivers meet. This metropolitan area is composed of many suburban cities all within 15 miles of downtown Portland.

This city, being the largest in the state, is also the original commerce center of Oregon. It houses a diverse population, culture, recreation, and history. You will always find something or the other to do in Portland as endless events and celebrations are happening.

Interesting Facts about Portland Oregon
Photo by Trang Nguyen on Unsplash

Facts about Portland Oregon

You might be surprised by what you don’t know about Portland. The city is rich in secret history and houses almost everything weird, Portland’s fun facts get you going. If you’re getting more curious, read on to know some fun and interesting facts about Oregon’s largest city.

1. Portland Got its Name by a Coin Toss

This is among the most important historical facts of Portland and also the least commonly known. The city was only a coin flip away from being named Boston, Oregon in 1842.

According to an early account, the game of chance was among the city’s founders, Misters Lovejoy and Pettygrove. These men proposed the names Boston and Portland respectively. Unable to fixate on one name, they agreed to flip a coin, and the rest is history.

2. “Keep Portland Weird” is an Actual Slogan of the City

When in the city, you’ll come across bumper stickers, signs, and also street art blaring the popular slogan “Keep Portland Weird.” Brought to the city in 2003, the slogan was inspired by the tagline “Keep Austin Weird,” which is a campaign that developed in the Texas capital for promoting local businesses.

For most residents in Portland, this slogan became an unofficial city motto for promoting individuality, expressionism, local art, and the city’s unique lifestyle.

3. Portland Houses the World’s Smallest Park

Situated close to the Willamette River in downtown; Mills End Park has been recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the smallest park in the world. The grassy area measures a length of 0.6 meters and a total area of 0.29 square meters.

Originally considered to be the location for a light pole, the park was formed when the initial plan failed to happen and Oregon Journal columnist Dick Fagan planted flowers in the pit. It got its recognition as an official city park in 1976.

4. Home to the Largest Independently Owned Bookstore in the World

Powell’s City of Books is the headquarters of Powell’s Books and it is situated in the Pearl District. It is a local chain of bookstores classified as the largest independently owned bookstore in the world. Named in the list of the top 10 bookstores in the country, this is a local institution and was established in 1971.

Powell’s Books holds more than four million books within it, among which some are new, while others can be used, rare and out-of-print editions. The bookstore also buys more than 3,000 used books daily.

5. More Microbreweries Per Capita than Any Other City in the World

The citizens of Portland are known for embracing the idea of purchasing their goods and services locally, and it’s the same story when it comes to buying beer. The city has more microbreweries as compared to any other city in the world. Hence, it is often referred to as “Beertown” or “Beervana”.

Bridgeport Brewing Co, Laurelwood Public House, and Brewery and Cascade Brewing Barrel House are among Portland’s must-visit spots for cold brews.

6. Meet the Unipiper

The Unipiper is known for being among the city’s most iconic, and weirdest residents. To introduce him correctly, he is a street performer, musician, and unicyclist. In 2007, he shifted from North Carolina to Portland and advanced his act and character by focusing on the city’s love for quirky characters.

He gets dressed as the iconic villain Darth Vader and rides around local neighborhoods while playing his bagpipes. Adding to the thrill, his bagpipes are literally on fire! He can also be seen dressed as other mainstream media figures such as characters from Game of Thrones and Pokémon.

7. Portland Bears the Largest Forested Park Within City Limits in the Country

If you were stunned by Mills End Park being surprisingly small for a park, you might want to keep an eye out for Forest Park, just northwest of downtown. It stretches for more than 13 km and offers jaw-dropping views of the Willamette River.

Forest Park is among the biggest urban forest reserves in America and the largest one within city limits. Having more than 110 km of trails, the park is a top destination for hiking. It is also home to over 100 bird species and more than 60 mammal species.

8. There’s a Volcano Within the City Limits

It is a well-known fact that the Portland area has a love of playing on volcanoes. Mount Hood stands as a major example here. So it might not seem surprising that Southeast Portland’s Mount Tabor is among the city’s most loved parks. Much of the hill is formed of ancient volcanic lava while the volcano itself is extinct.

9. The Public Water Fountains are a Popular Part of Portland’s History

Water fountains do not mostly come off as a city landmark, but the Benson Bubblers of Portland, which are part public art and part public service, fall among Portland’s rarest and most historic attractions.

At present there are 52 four-font fountains in place, all of them double as useful landmarks in the heart of the city. Building new bubblers anywhere except for downtown Portland has been prevented, making an effort to keep the existing ones unique.

10. Greatest Number of Strip Clubs Per Capita in the US

Giving a harsh beating to Sin City, Portland, per capita, is the strip club capital of America. While other cities might contain more clubs, the density of strip clubs among Portland’s 650,000 citizens means you’ll never be more than a few minutes’ walk from a day-and-night party.

Portlanders benefit from this sizable collection by introducing them into the city’s culture in a major way. As the strip clubs in Portland are historic landmarks, premium destinations for nightlife, and even call out foodies from far and wide.