15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Portland

Most of the eccentricities that make Portland one of the most popular cities in the country are well known to the public. Everyone knows about the microbrews, food carts, and fancy coffee. The things that really set Portland apart are the small bits that aren’t general knowledge. It is almost like having a shared secret with the city that you live it. It is those precious secrets that make Portland truly unique. Here are 15 things that may not know about, and make you feel closer to, Portland:

  1. Portland’s first professional hockey team was called the “Rosebuds.” That doesn’t exactly strike fear into the heart of opponents.
  2. Portland is the proud owner of the world’s smallest park, Mill Ends Park. The park is about 2 feet across, or 452 square inches.
  3. Portland is also the proud owner of the nation’s largest natural urban wilderness, Forest Park. People flock from all around to go hiking through its many trails and the park itself has made many appearances in Hollywood movies and tv shows.
  4. The first “wiki” website was created in Portland in 1994. They don’t call us the Silicon Valley of the Northwest for nothing.
  5. Portland elected its first female mayor, Dorothy McCullough Lee, in 1949. She subsequently banned pinball machines. It’s ok, though, as pinball machines are now a staple in Portland.
  6. It is illegal to pump your own gas in Oregon and you will receive a $500 fine in Portland if you attempt to do so. It’s ok, though, as Portland has more bicyclists per capita than any other city in the nation.
  7. Speaking of bicyclists, Portland has an annual naked bike ride that draws nearly 13,000 riders. That’s right. You can see 13,000 naked people biking down the street once per year.
  8. Naked bicyclists may seem out of place, but when your unofficial motto is “Keep Portland Weird,” nothing seems out of place.
  9. Water fountains (Benson Bubblers) were installed in front of bars and pubs many years ago to keep people from drinking during work hours. This saved many lumberjacks from having ax-cidents.
  10. Portland is one of the few places outside of France where it is ok to bring your dog into a tavern. We love our animals.
  11. In some places in Portland the streets and sidewalks still feature horse rings – iron or brass rings anchored to provide a place to tether your horse. You know, old west parking spots.
  12. Portland has 2 affectionate nicknames, “Puddletown” and “Stumptown.” It has been called “Puddletown” because of the yearly rainfall the city receives and it has been called “Stumptown” because, in its early days, Portland grew so quickly that the tree stumps were left in the middle of the roads.
  13. Portland has the most movie theaters and restaurants per capita. It also has more microbrews and brewpubs than any other US city.
  14. Portland is one of only two US cities that have a dormant volcano – Mount Tabor – within its city limits.
  15. Portland’s name was decided upon a coin flip. Asa Lovejoy and Francis Pettygrove each wanted to name what was known as “The Clearing” after their hometowns. Portland was one flip away from being named Boston. The “Portland Penny” that was used to decide the city’s name is still on display in the Oregon History Center.

Portland is most certainly a beautiful city, but its true beauty lies within the nooks and crannies of its secrets. For you to truly enjoy all that Portland has to offer you must first learn what makes the city unique. Then and only then will the city truly open its splendor to you. If not, Portland still has a lot of brewpubs to drown your sorrows in.

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