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Portland The Story Behind the Name

Portland: The Story Behind the Name

It’s been more than 70 years since the heart of Oregon’s largest city was first known as “The Clearing”. But did you know that there was a period in history when Portland was almost called Boston?

However, we know the beautiful city as Portland today – all thanks to a coin toss!

How did Portland get its name?

Portland, Oregon is named after Portland, Maine. 

This is because Francis Pettygrove, one of its founders, came from the latter city and wanted to pay homage to it – and he won the right to do so with a coin toss. 

The city’s two founders were Francis Pettygrove and Asa Lovejoy. Both men desired that the city be named after their respective hometowns: Lovejoy was from Boston, Massachusetts, and Pettygrove was from Portland, Maine.

That’s when they decided to settle the matter with a coin toss. They agreed that whoever had the most heads after three flips would get to choose the name of the city. 

Pettygrove ended up with two heads, giving the city a name it would be called forever – Portland.

On February 8, 1851, Portland was formally incorporated as a city.

How did Portland get its name

Today, the coin used in the flip is now known as the Portland Penny and is kept at the Oregon Historical Society. Pay a visit if you have the time and see the thing that helped mark this historic moment.

A Brief Look at Portland’s History and Present

Portland was founded on the banks of the Willamette River in 1843, about 65 years after its namesake in Maine was founded. 

Originally called “Stumptown” thanks to the stumps left after forest was cleared for settlements, it was renamed thanks to events we described earlier. As it grew, it quickly rose to prominence as a major port.

In the early twentieth century, many new buildings were constructed in Portland: The Sentinel Hotel was constructed in 1909, Jackson Tower in 1912, The Central Library and American Bank Building in 1913, and Pittock Mansion in 1914. 

Today, Portland is a contemporary city. Its economy and production are heavily reliant on high-technology services, just like any other city in the state.

It retains a combination of modernization and nature, however. The largest city in the state, it’s a very green community surrounded by rivers and bridges.

Frequently Asked Question About Portland, Oregon

Why is it always raining in Portland?

Portland is located in North America’s Pacific Coastal Temperate Rainforest. They’re basically located under a jet stream, which means they get more than a fair share of low-pressure systems that dump a lot of heavy rain during the autumn, winter, and spring seasons.

Is Portland Oregon a good state to live in?

Is Portland Oregon a good state to live in

Portland is the eighth-best location to live in the nation and the safest city in Oregon according to the 2021 U.S. News and World Report. It’s also one of the American cities with the best environmental practices.

Is it expensive to live in Portland?

The cost of living is 34% higher than the national average and the only thing below the national average is Portland’s utilities, which are 12.8% less expensive than the average. Portland housing, on the other hand, is 84.3% more expensive than the national average according to PDX Movers.

Why is Portland called PDX?

Well, the three-letter airport code for Portland International is PDX. Portland is abbreviated as “PD” while the “X” is added in the end since many airports used it as a code system. “PDX” helps distinguish the city from all other Portland, particularly Portland, Maine.

Want to learn more about Portland? Check out what else we have up on our site!

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