A Manageable Metropolis, Portland does not have everything you have come to expect in a major metropolis -- sales tax, gridlock, smog. It is a large city that has managed to maintain its small town charm. Packed into a convenient natural environment, Portland is accessible and complete.
Portland's downtown area is scaled to human dimensions. It is "foot friendly" and was recently named among the Top 10 American Walking Cities by Walking Magazine. The visitor who explores downtown Portland is never overwhelmed, but rather intrigued and amused. The blocks are short -- just 200 feet long. Cafes, restaurants, bookstores, galleries and specialty stores are waiting around every corner. Words of wisdom from famous thinkers are carved in the brickwork under one's feet. Bronze sea lions and bear cubs frolic among award-winning architecture. Green-suited concierges known as "Portland Guides" walk through downtown streets day and night answering questions and helping with directions.
Pioneer Courthouse Square, a public plaza designed after the ancient Greek and Roman public squares, sits in the hub of downtown. Affectionately known as the "city's living room," Pioneer Courthouse Square brings together representatives from every possible social and cultural niche -- a metro melting pot. On sunny summer days, the square hosts high-powered executives and purple-haired poets alike for "brown bag" concerts.
Tri-Met, Portland's mass transit system, is a national model of efficiency when it comes to carrying commuters. Fareless Square, a 340-block region encompassing much of the downtown area, allows you to ride Tri-Met and MAX for free. "MAX," Tri-Met's Light rail train system, connects downtown to the Oregon Convention Center, Memorial Coliseum, the Lloyd business and retail district, and outlying residential neighborhoods.
Dozens of parks in all shapes and sizes dot the city. One hundred acre Washington Park in the west hills above Portland encompasses the International Rose Test Gardens with more than 400 varieties of roses, the peaceful contemplation of the Japanese Gardens and the Metro Portland Zoo with its worldclass elephant exhibit. Washington Park also provides a breathtaking panorama of Portland with Mt. Hood in the background.
Tom McCall Waterfront Park traces the west side of the Willamette River for two and one-half miles, and reverberates throughout the summer months with cultural, musical and gastronomic festivals. The river itself winds through the center of Portland like a bright blue ribbon, where tugboats, sailboats, historic sternwheelers, water skiers, rowers and salmon fishermen recreate.
Portland's diverse economy offers a wide range of manufacturing, distribution, wholesale and retail trade. Wood products, agriculture and tourism are Oregon's three leading industries, yet no single industry dominates Portland's economy, making it a stable place to do business. Portland's position on the West Coast has made it a major international trading partner with the Pacific Rim and beyond. Wor/d Trade magazine named Portland among America's 10 Best Cities for International Companies for 1991.
Nestled in the heart of the Willamette Valley, Portland sits squarely between the Pacific Ocean (90 minutes by car) and the 10,000 plus foot tops of the Cascade Mountain Range (Mt Hood is 1 hour by car).
You can literally go clamming at the beach, have dinner in Portland that night, and go snow skiing in the mountains the next day. A 45 minute drive east from town on Interstate 84 places you smack dab in the middle of the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area, a place of breathtaking beauty which includes the 620-foot Multnomah Palls.
But Portland's greatest asset has nothing to do with mountains, oceans, parks, roses, or bronze bears. Portland's greatest asset beats in the hearts of everyone who resides here. Portland's spirit is its people. "Quality of Life" is not a current buzzword in Portland, it is a philosophy that has endured since this city's founding. Part old west pride, part entrepreneurial spirit, the character of Portland pays homage to the hearty individuals who first traveled here in wagon trains along the Oregon Trail. From the very beginning, Portland has been a place of opportunity - a place where neighbors understand the value Of combined effort -- a place to work -- a place to play.
If Portland sounds like paradise on earth, perhaps it is! Ask any Portlander - better yet, come find out for yourself!