Profile: Portland, Oregon

Get a feel for Portland, Oregon with this quick snapshot.
Bicycles at Pike Place Market in Seattle

Bicycles at Pike Place Market in Seattle

Photo by: ©iStockphoto.com/njpPhoto

©iStockphoto.com/njpPhoto

Thanks to the installation of both a light rail system and an extensive system of bike lanes, Portland is consistently at the top of lists of eco-friendly cities.

By: Ryan Ritchie

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Population: 550,000

USDA Hardiness Zone: 8

Major Airport: Portland International Airport

Companies with a Major Presence Here: Nike, Inc., Precision Castparts Corp., Intel, Xerox, StanCorp Financial Group Inc., Nautilus Inc., Columbia Sportswear Co., Oregon Steel Mills, Inc., Northwest Natural Gas Company, Longview Fibre Company

Portland is a laid-back city known for its eco-friendliness, rose gardens and thriving microbrew industry. Beneath its polar-fleece wearing exterior is a confident, cosmopolitan city that doesn’t care what anyone else says is cool. Portland does its own thing.

For many years, Oregon’s largest city was regarded as a smaller, more accessible version of nearby Seattle. But as Seattle boomed, people looking for the good Pacific Northwest life and affordable housing came to Portland instead. Now experiencing rapid growth, the city adopted a boundary plan to prevent the suburban sprawl, so its growth has been smarter and less car-dependent than it might otherwise have been.

Thanks to the installation of both a light rail system and an extensive system of bike lanes, Portland is consistently at the top of lists of eco-friendly cities. Sixteen percent of Portlanders use bicycles as their primary means of transportation, and $2.30 on the TriMet light rail system takes you anywhere in the metropolitan area.

Not only does Portland have a world-class science museum, a good art museum and to-die-for public gardens, it's also a gateway to the outdoors; within 90 minutes of the city are Pacific beaches, hiking trails around the dormant volcano Mt. Hood and Oregon’s fertile wine country.

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