Thinking about moving to Portland, but not sure what to expect? Well, there’s a lot more to Rose City than rain and hipsters—but there are plenty of those things too! Here are a few fun facts that will help you get a feel for what makes Portland such a cool/fun/quirky place to call home:
Oregon is known for having a relatively high income tax rate, but they try to balance that with a sales tax rate of 0%. That’s right, when it comes to shopping in Portland, what you see on the price tag is exactly what you pay.
If you want to blend in with the locals, keep your hands off that gas pump. Oregon is one of the only two remaining states that still prohibits people from pumping their own gas (the other is New Jersey, FYI). While this might take some getting used to at first, after a while you start to wonder how everyone in those other, underprivileged 48 states can possibly live without this luxury (unless you’re in a huge hurry and the gas station is crowded and you’re last in line for service). Also, word to the wise, while some Oregonians opt to tip the gas station attendant, it is not required, or even expected—although we’re sure it’s very much appreciated.
The TV show Portlandia got the whole nation laughing about Portland’s obsession with “bicycle rights!” But in the real Portland, cycling is no joke. With one of the highest percentages of commuter cyclists in the country, and 17 miles of dedicated bikeways, cycle tracks and buffered bike lanes, it’s no wonder that Portland consistently ranks among the top 5 most bike-friendly cities in the country. So when you move to Portland, try to be extra cautious of your two-wheeled road-mates while driving—or better yet, join them!
Before Portland was Portland, it was known as Stumptown, or The Clearing, due to the many trees that had to be cut down to make way for the burgeoning town. But when Asa Lovejoy and Francis Pettygrove bought the settlement in the 1840s, both wanted to name the site after their respective hometowns (Lovejoy was from Boston, and Pettygrove from Portland, Maine). The dispute was settled the same way all great disagreements are decided: with a coin flip. The deciding coin, now known as the “Portland Penny,” is still on display at the Oregon Historical Society.
OK, before you get all incredulous, let’s be clear: I am not saying it doesn’t rain a lot in Portland. It certainly does. But I’ve found that a lot of visitors and newcomers tend to think of Portland’s climate as a nonstop monsoon on steroids. In reality, Portland doesn’t even crack the top 15 when it comes to annual rainfall. Portland gets an estimated 37-43 inches per year on average compared to 49 inches in New York City and 62 inches in New Orleans. That being said, if you move here, especially in fall or winter, you should still prepare to get wet.
Regardless of how you feel about all the “hipster” clichés that crop up every time you mention Portland—thanks again Portlandia—there’s at least one that nobody can complain about: The Beer scene. Sure, you can roll your eyes at the guy with the twisty mustache, suspenders and sleeve garters telling you about the ‘subtle notes of hibiscus’ that give your beer it’s ‘vivacious floral finish.’ But once you actually taste the delicious offerings from Portland’s multitude of local craft breweries, you’ll be hooked. Before you know it, you might even find yourself growing some vintage facial hair of your own.
Seattle might get all the glory when it comes to those “Top Ten Coffee Cities” lists, but they can keep their Starbucks as far as we’re concerned. Boasting the now nationally famous Stumptown Roasters—whose cafes you can find all over Portland, Seattle, LA, New York and New Orleans — as well over 40 other local coffee roasters and three national coffee magazines (Fresh Cup, Barista, and Roast), there is a real argument for Portland as the true coffee capital of the United States.
No, not that kind of football—Portland doesn’t have an NFL team after all—we mean the kind of football that you play with your feet. That’s right, Portland is one of the few American cities where soccer is king. In fact, the local MLS (Major League Soccer) club, the Portland Timbers, inspire such local passion that their fans, known as the “Timbers Army,” have become famous around the league for their enthusiastic displays of support for their team. So if you want to really blend in with the locals, grab yourself a Timbers scarf and go jump/chant/sing your heart out with your fellow Portlanders at Providence Park. Word to the wise: the local rivalry games against Seattle are a not-to-be-missed spectacle unlike any other in American sports.
You can turn your time in Portland into an unforgettable adventure. Shop our selection of upscale corporate rentals in Portland, OR and spend a few months getting to know this world-class city. It has something for everyone.