Portland’s a Town With Tons of Nicknames, But We Call It How We See It
Portland has a lot of nicknames, and they all have a special meaning rooted in a unique piece of history or aspect of the city. To learn about Portland’s nicknames is to delve into that history and to virtually explore the city’s niche landscape. So pull up a comfy chair, a delicious cup of Joe or pint of IPA, and get ready to learn a bit more about our amazing city through the many nicknames we’ve bestowed on it through the years.
Stumptown is probably the most infamous nickname for Portland now that the famed coffee company, Stumptown Roasters, has co-opted the moniker (these days, there’s more organic coffee in PDX than you can shake a stick at!). The nickname first came into usage in the 1840s, when Portland was just beginning to form into the city that we know today. Settlers chopped down trees in order to make room for roads and houses, thus the city was filled with stumps. Legend has it that people used to avoid mud puddles by jumping from stump to stump.
Another historically based nickname, Rip City came into usage at a Trailblazers basketball game back in 1970. After the Trailblazer’s Jim Barnett made a shot from half court, game caller Bill Schonely shouted “Rip City alright!” Although this is not exactly a logical explanation, it stuck, and now Portland is known fondly as Rip City, especially to Blazers fans.
Because Portland is bisected by the Willamette River, bridges are a necessary aspect of the cityscape. Portland has more than ten bridges, all of which have their own little personality and stake in the history of Portland. If you’ve got any doubt about that, just check out this article on bridges and microbreweries here in PDX.
While the centrally located Hawthorne Bridge is host to a plethora of quirky events like Red Bull’s Flugtag, the St. John’s Bridge is known for its beautiful cathedral-esque frame and the quaint Cathedral park that sits underneath the bridge. And that’s just to mention two of those famous bridges…
City of Roses or Rose City
Portland is home to the International Rose Test Garden, a rose garden located in Washington Park that is home to over 7,000 species of roses. But in Portland, the roses don’t really stay confined to that garden. You can find smaller rose gardens all over Portland – just check out Ladd’s Addition for a pretty little rose-filled walk through one part of old SE Portland.
Contrary to popular belief, the nickname Portlandia didn’t come from the witty TV show that is either completely on the mark or completely inaccurate, depending on which Portlander you ask. The nickname actually comes from Raymond Kaskey’s Portlandia statue, which stands in front of the City Hall building in downtown Portland.
The figure is based on the Portland city seal, and is the second largest repoussé statue in the U.S., with only the Statue of Liberty herself standing taller.
PDX is the three-letter shorthand for the Portland airport. You may not have realized this, but Portlanders freaking love their airport, as this article detailing the beauty of the airport carpet will demonstrate.
PDX has been voted the best airport in the country, so why shouldn’t we celebrate our airport like proud fans who take on the name of their team?
Portland, Land of Many Nicknames
Portland has a lot of things going for it – cheap happy hours, beautiful landscapes, quirky shopping, and weird nicknames. Have you ever met someone who loves their dog so much that they have a plethora of loving nicknames for it? For many locals, Portland is like our adorable puppy – we’ve given our city so many nicknames because we just love it so much.
PS – If we left a nickname out of the list, let us know in the comments below, and we’ll get on the research, and update this article stat!