Hey Oregonians, how do you refer to Portland?
While traveling you would say, “I’m from Portland, Oregon.” But, when talking to your homies, what do you say then? Certainly not “Portland, Oregon.” In what context do you use Portland’s many nicknames?
Even though we have established household routines, there’s plenty of wiggle room, and we take time to explore like tourists.
Just kidding, I didn’t go on a Segway Tour. But I did eavesdrop. He elaborated on why the city was “frequently referred to as Bridgetown. There are 9 bridges crossing the Willamette and 3 crossing the Columbia. Tilikum Crossing, the newest bridge, is less than 2 years old and is exclusive to pedestrian, cyclist and mass transit only. It shaves 20 minutes off my commute!”
This got me thinking… Bridgetown, eh? “Woody, you ever refer to Portland as Bridgetown?” Then it reminded me of a funny story. Years ago, as a very young adult – when being cool was important – we had cousins visiting from out of town. One of them could “hardly wait to get to ‘frisco.” I about died for them in embarrassment. Is there a graceful way to explain, nobody says ‘frisco. Then again, maybe they do?
How many nicknames are there for Portland? This could be a new category for the Concentration Game. As a matter of fact, on our l-o-n-g (12 mile total) walk, we tried rattling off as many nicknames for Portland we could muster. It was fun and funny. Here’re a handful from our list:
1. City of Roses
Couple different theories on how this nickname took hold, but there is no denying there are roses everywhere in our city, and, after this crazy winter, they are bursting everywhere. Apparently, this nickname is the “official” nickname of Portland. And, believe it or not, didn’t become official until June 18, 2003.
Or, City of Bridges. As described above, that’s how this nickname came about.
Woody came up with this one. Cracked me up. After being gone for two years, it’s no surprise this new nickname jumped. The little marijuana shops seem prolific and unabashed.
4. Rip City
These two words experienced viral status in 1971, thanks to Blazer game announcer Bill Schonely. My take: Schonely was momentarily tongue-tied at the shocking long shot a player just swooshed. All he could muster to his listening audience was, Rip City!!
Boom! History made.
I use this one now & then. I hear others use it now & then. It’s a pretty common one amongst friends. When you Google it, and “get lucky”, it directs you to everything Provincetown, Massachusetts, not Portland, Oregon. So, use it cautiously, it may get complicated. In and around Portland, I think you’d be safe.
Our airport code. When I type, text, write a postcard, I use “PDX”. I don’t believe I say it though. I know this must be a popular one. Just check out the love affair our city has with the airport carpet. Me included.
In our travels,”Portandia” would be the most common nickname I’ve heard other people use. For the most part, I believe this may be how our nation sees Portland.
In my opinion, Portland has outgrown this lumber-rooted nickname. One day, this would probably work, but today, there are so many lush, ginormous (that’s a word!), proud trees around our City. I’ve even seen city trees with idolized status. Trunk and limbs adorned with tapestry.
I would occasionally toss out “Beervana” when addressing the standard brew-tour introductions. However, it was in Ashland, NC, when I was advised this nickname more appropriately goes to other cities. (Yeah, like Ashland, NC.) You see, I needed to consider per capita. Today, I don’t really use this nickname any more.
Then I did some homework
Before hitting the “Publish” button, I did a little homework to see if we missed anything obvious. I felt like there should be a nickname with the word “rain” in it. Nope, couldn’t find anything. But we did over look one. And it’s a doozy:
10. Little Beirut
Did you know that? This nickname is credited to the Bush/Quayle administration, somewhere between 1989-90. Apparently every time Bush or Quayle came to Portland, protests erupted. These protests could be disruptive and disgusting; such as puking puddles at a $2,500/plate Republican fundraiser. But this is Portland. Protesters didn’t just puke, but being clever Reed students, puked red, white & blue. By dying and eating potatoes, then drinking Ipecac at precise puke opportunities.
There you have it, Portland nicknames. Did I overlook any? What’s your go-to nickname for Portland? Let us know!