Portland, Oregon: A Native's Perspective

Many Rivers To Cross...

Portland, Oregon is nestled in the Pacific Northwest along the I-5 corridor, reaching all the way up to the Washington State line. Known for its vast forests, extensive bicycle lanes and many bridges, it is indeed a haven for outdoorsy types and nature lovers. Those who enjoy outdoor sports have their choice of boating, skiing, hiking, fishing among countless others because of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers both running through the city limits and beyond. With sandy beaches, snowy mountains and oceanfront views all within a two-hour drive, where else can you enjoy such outdoor diversity?

A mid-sized city and growing all the time, Portland’s city officials work hard to keep the infrastructure solid, serviceable and modernized, yet always with a nod toward the city’s historic personality. Trolleys, trains, bicycle lanes and buses keep everyone moving around the city easily and with few problem areas.


Boasting one of the highest percentages of restaurants per capita, one can be anywhere within the city limits and find something unusual, comforting or adventurous to eat. We love our coffee, so you’ll never be far from a cozy neighborhood cafe, beckoning you in to grab a cuppa and enjoy the atmosphere. Food carts are enjoying a surge in popularity, gathering in ‘pods’ within neighborhoods and popular business and shopping districts to tempt your taste buds with light bites, treats and hearty, healthy meals on-the-go. Organic, vegetarian and vegan supporters will find no loss of choices here, as Portlanders prefer to live and eat as ‘green’ as possible.


Portland weather can be admittedly difficult for non-natives, with its historically heavy rainfall and overcast tendencies. However, we can choose to look beyond the ‘negative’ aspects and focus on the positives: few cities in the nation are as refreshingly clean both in air quality and appearance; our local farmers enjoy healthy crops of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables from moist weather and rich soils nearly year-round; the city’s many parks--including our famous Rose, Japanese and community gardens--are kept green and lush for all to enjoy any time of the year.


Artists and their Art are greatly appreciated in Portland, which is evident in just about every restaurant, cafe and local business in the city. Many establishments often honor local art with constant display, and will change monthly to offer more artists a chance at exposure. The Portland Saturday Market (open all weekend) gives the artist a chance to sell their wares directly to the public in rented booths. This is a very old tradition, located in the Historical District section of downtown proper, additionally featuring a colorful combination of art, clothing, jewelry, music, plenty of fresh, local food choices and live entertainment.

Portland natives are fiercely proud of their city, involving themselves in the upkeep of its cleanliness, recycling habits, deterring crime and fair treatment of its inhabitants. Creativity, friendliness, honesty and a progressive outlook are what locals impress upon its visitors. The general feeling you will encounter here is that Portland is the heart of its people, and in turn, the people are the heart of the city.