Portland, the largest city in Oregon, is the third largest city in the Pacific Northwest, after Seattle and Vancouver. Portland has 556,370 residents in the city limits, with a greater metropolitan area population of 2 million. Portland has a number of nicknames, from "Rose City" for the number of rose gardens, to "Bridgetown," for all the bridges crossing the Willamette and Columbia Rivers that flow through the city. Another nickname, "Puddletown," plays on the weather; Portland is known for its heavy yearly rainfall and lush green climate.
Portland is known as a well-planned city, in part because of an urban growth boundary put in place in 1979. This boundary has limited urban sprawl, and Portland remains compact and negotiable. Downtown streets are pedestrian-friendly, easy to navigate and clean. Housing costs are somewhat high in Portland, OR, especially with its middle-class per capita income of $33,875, but housing prices remain lower than those in California.
During WWII, Portland helped to produce a number of ships out of its many shipyards, but nowadays it is known as a destination for art, counterculture and beer. Within the city limits of Portland alone, 33 microbreweries offer beer for tasting and purchase.
Portland is also known as the "Silicon Forest" (similar to the "Silicon Valley") due to the number of high tech companies located in the metro area. The tech industry, with the help of many dot-com expatriates, is thriving in the Pacific Northwest. Some of the larger high tech companies with locations in Portland include:
- Sun Microsystems
For more information on colleges and universities in Oregon, explore our Oregon state page.