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Portland, Oregon

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Portland in Oregon.

 

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Portland is a city located in the Northwestern United States, near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers in the state of Oregon. As of the 2010 Census, it had an estimated population of 583,776, making it the 29th most populous in the United States. Portland is Oregon's most populous city, and the third most populous city in the Pacific Northwest, after Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Parks and gardens

Portland is proud of its parks and its legacy of preserving open spaces. Parks and greenspace planning date back to John Charles Olmsted's 1903 Report to the Portland Park Board. In 1995, voters in the Portland metropolitan region passed a regional bond measure to acquire valuable natural areas for fish, wildlife, and people. Ten years later, more than 8,100 acres (33 km2) of ecologically valuable natural areas had been purchased and permanently protected from development.

Portland is one of only three cities in the contiguous U.S. with extinct volcanoes within its boundaries (besides Jackson, Mississippi and Bend, Oregon). Mount Tabor Park is known for its scenic views and historic reservoirs.

Forest Park is the largest wilderness park within city limits in the United States, covering more than 5,000 acres (20 kmĀ²). Portland is also home to Mill Ends Park, the world's smallest park (a two-foot-diameter circle, the park's area is only about 0.3 square m). Washington Park is just west of downtown, and is home to the Oregon Zoo, the Portland Japanese Garden, and the International Rose Test Garden. Nearby is Council Crest Park, the highest point in Portland. Portland is also known for being the greenest city in the nation, also, it has also been known to be the only city in the U.S. to be ranked in the greenest cities in the world.

Tom McCall Waterfront Park runs along the west bank of the Willamette for the length of downtown. The 37-acre (15 ha) park was built in 1974 after Harbor Drive was removed and now hosts large events throughout the year. Portland's downtown features two groups of contiguous city blocks dedicated for park space: the North and South Park Blocks.

Tryon Creek State Natural Area is one of three Oregon State Parks in Portland and the most popular; its creek has a run of steelhead. The other two State Parks are Willamette Stone State Heritage Site located in the West Hills and the Government Island State Recreation Area located in the Columbia River near Portland International Airport.

Culture and contemporary life

Portland is often awarded the "Greenest City in America", and ranks among the world's top 10 greenest cities. Popular Science has continued to award Portland the title of the Greenest City in America and Grist magazine lists it as the second greenest city in the world.[41][42] Portland is the home city of The World's Oldest Teenage Drag Queen Pageant Rose Bud and Thorn Pageant, started in 1975 and modeled after the Imperial Sovereign Rose Court of Oregon.

Entertainment and performing arts

Like most large cities, Portland has a range of classical performing arts institutions which include the Oregon Ballet Theatre, Oregon Symphony, Portland Baroque Orchestra and the Portland Opera. It also has quite a few stages similar to New York's Off Broadway or Off-Off-Broadway such as Portland Center Stage, Artists Repertory Theatre, Miracle Theatre, Stark Raving Theatre, and Tears of Joy Theatre. Portland hosts the world's only HP Lovecraft Film Festival at the Hollywood Theatre.

Portland is home to famous bands such as The Kingsmen and Paul Revere & the Raiders, both famous for Louie Louie. Other widely known musical groups include The Dandy Warhols, Everclear, Modest Mouse, Pink Martini, Sleater-Kinney, The Shins, Blitzen Trapper, The Decemberists, and the late Elliott Smith. The city's now-demolished Satyricon nightclub is well known for being the place where the late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain and Hole frontwoman Courtney Love met each other; Love had grown up in Portland for most of her life.

Widely recognized animators include Matt Groening (The Simpsons) and Will Vinton (Will Vinton's A Claymation Christmas Celebration), and filmmaker Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting (1997), Milk (2008)). Actors from Portland include Sam Elliott and Sally Struthers. Dan Steffan, cartoonist-illustrator for Heavy Metal and other magazines, lives in Portland.

Recent films set and shot in Portland include Extraordinary Measures, Body of Evidence, What the Bleep Do We Know!?,The Hunted, Twilight, Paranoid Park, Wendy and Lucy, Feast of Love, and Untraceable. An unusual feature of Portland entertainment is the large number of movie theaters serving beer, often with second-run or revival films. A notable example of these "brew and view" theaters is The Bagdad Theater and Pub.

TV shows including Portlandia, Leverage, Under Suspicion, Nowhere Man and Life Unexpected have been filmed in Portland.

Authors

Authors from Portland include science fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin, famous for her Earthsea novels, Hainish Cycle and Orsinian Tales; transgressional fiction novelist Chuck Palahniuk, best known for his award-winning novel Fight Club; best-selling Christian author Don Miller; and Beverly Cleary, author of the famous series of children's books featuring Henry Huggins, his dog Ribsy, Beatrice "Beezus" Quimby and Ramona Quimby. Klickitat Street, where Cleary's characters live, is an actual street in northeast Portland. Statues of the characters stand in nearby Grant Park.

Portland is home to a number of independent, small graphic novel publishers such as Dark Horse Comics and Oni Press, as well as comic book artists and writers such as Brian Michael Bendis and Farel Dalrymple.

Tourism

Portland is home to a diverse array of artists and arts organizations, and was named in 2006 by American Style magazine as the tenth best Big City Arts Destination in the U.S.

The Portland Art Museum owns the city's largest art collection and presents a variety of touring exhibitions each year. With the recent addition of the Modern and Contemporary Art wing it became one of the United States' twenty-five largest museums. Art galleries abound downtown and in the Pearl District, as well as in the Alberta Arts District and other neighborhoods throughout the city.

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is located on the east bank of the Willamette River across from downtown Portland, and contains a variety of hands-on exhibits covering the physical sciences, life science, earth science, technology, astronomy, and early childhood education. OMSI also has an OMNIMAX Theater and is home to the USS Blueback submarine, used in the film The Hunt for Red October.

Portland is also home to Portland Classical Chinese Garden, an authentic representation of a Suzhou-style walled garden.

Portlandia, a statue on the west side of the Portland Building, is the second-largest hammered-copper statue in the U.S. (after the Statue of Liberty). Portland's public art is managed by the Regional Arts & Culture Council.

Powell's City of Books claims to be the largest independent bookstore in the United States and the largest bookstore west of the Mississippi River.

The Portland Rose Festival takes place annually in June and includes two parades, dragon boat races, carnival rides at Tom McCall Waterfront park, and dozens of other events.

Washington Park, in the West Hills, is home to some of Portland's most popular recreational sites, including the Oregon Zoo, the Portland Japanese Garden, the World Forestry Center, and the Hoyt Arboretum.

Portland hosts a number of festivals throughout the year in celebration of beer and brewing, including the Oregon Brewers Festival. Held each summer during the last full weekend of July, it is the largest outdoor craft beer festival in North America with over 70,000 attendees in 2008. Other major beer festivals throughout the calendar year include the Spring Beer and Wine Festival in April, the North American Organic Brewers Festival in June, the Portland International Beerfest in July, and the Holiday Ale Festival in December.

Shopping

Portland has many options for shopping. Some of the well known shopping areas are Downtown Portland, Nob Hill (NW 21st & 23rd Avenues), Pearl District, and the Lloyd District. Major department stores in downtown include Nordstrom, Macy's, and Mario's. The major malls in the metropolitan area are Bridgeport Village, Washington Square, Clackamas Town Center, Lloyd Center, Vancouver Mall, and Pioneer Place. Another destination is the Portland Saturday Market, a town bazaar-like environment where many kinds of goods are sold from Artisan Crafts to Tibetan Imports, reflecting the many cultures of Portland. The Saturday Market is open every weekend from March through Christmas.

Breweries

Portland is well-known for its microbrewery beer. Oregon Public Broadcasting has documented Portland's role in the microbrew revolution in the United States in a report called Beervana. Some illustrate Portlanders' interest in the beverage by an offer made in 1888 when local brewer Henry Weinhard volunteered to pump beer from his brewery into the newly dedicated Skidmore Fountain. However, the renown for quality beer dates to the 1980s when state law was changed to allow consumption of beer on brewery premises. Brewery innovation was supported by the abundance of local ingredients, including two-row barley, over a dozen varieties of hops, and pure water from the Bull Run Watershed. The Willamette Valley is one of the leading hop growing regions in the United States.

With twenty-eight breweries within the city, Portland is home to more breweries than any other city in the country, which is partially responsible for CNBC to name Portland the best city for happy hour in the U.S. The McMenamin brothers alone have over thirty brewpubs, distilleries, and wineries scattered throughout the metropolitan area, several in renovated cinemas and other historically significant buildings otherwise destined for demolition. Other notable Portland brewers include Widmer Brothers, BridgePort, and Hair of the Dog, as well as numerous smaller, quality brewers. In 1999, author Michael "Beerhunter" Jackson called Portland a candidate for the beer capital of the world because the city boasted more breweries than Cologne, Germany. The Portland Oregon Visitors Association promotes "Beervana" and "Brewtopia" as nicknames for the city. In mid-January 2006, Mayor Tom Potter officially gave the city a new nickname: Beertown.

Cuisine

Portland has a growing restaurant scene, and among three nominees, was recognized by the Food Network Awards as their "Delicious Destination of the Year: A rising city with a fast-growing food scene" for 2007.

The New York Times also spotlighted Portland for its burgeoning restaurant scene in the same year. Travel + Leisure ranked Portland #9 among all national cities in 2007. The city is also known for being the most vegetarian-friendly city in America.

In addition to beer, Portland has become known as a premier coffee destination in the Pacific Northwest. Yelp.com lists more than 20 coffee houses in Portland with 4.5-5 star ratings. The city is home to the original Stumptown Coffee Roasters, well-known by aficionados as one of the nation's highest quality direct-trade roasteries, as well as dozens of other micro-roasteries and cafes.

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