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DriveAbout 118 - Portland, Oregon (Italian)

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Published on Sep 8, 2008

La mattina della partenza dal Portland alla volta di Seattle!

Portland is a city located in the Northwestern United States, near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers in the state of Oregon. It has an estimated population of 568,380, and has been referred to as the greenest city in the United States. Portland is Oregon's most populous city, and the third most populous city in the Pacific Northwest, after Vancouver, British Columbia, and Seattle, Washington. Approximately two million people live in the Portland metropolitan area (MSA), the 23rd most populous in the United States as of July 2006.

Portland started as a spot known as "the clearing,"which was on the banks of the Willamette about halfway between Oregon City and Fort Vancouver. In 1843, William Overton saw great commercial potential for this land but lacked the funds required to file a land claim. He struck a bargain with his partner Asa Lovejoy of Boston, Massachusetts: for 25¢, Overton would share his claim to the 640 acre (2.6 km²) site. Overton later sold his half of the claim to Francis W. Pettygrove of Portland, Maine. Pettygrove and Lovejoy each wished to name the new city after his respective home town; this was decided with a coin toss, which Pettygrove won in a series of two out of three tosses. The coin used for this decision, now known as the Portland Penny, is on display in the headquarters of the Oregon Historical Society.

At the time of its incorporation on February 8, 1851 Portland had over 800 inhabitants, a steam sawmill, a log cabin hotel, and a newspaper, the Weekly Oregonian. By 1879, the population had grown to 17,500.

Portland's location, with access both to the Pacific Ocean via the Willamette and the Columbia rivers and to the agricultural Tualatin Valley via the "Great Plank Road" through a canyon in the West Hills (the route of current-day U.S. Route 26), gave it an advantage over nearby ports, and it grew quickly. It remained the major port in the Pacific Northwest for much of the 19th century, until the 1890s, when Seattle's deepwater harbor was connected to the rest of the mainland by rail, affording an inland route without the treacherous navigation of the Columbia River.

The most common nickname for Portland is "The Rose City". The first known reference to Portland as "The City of Roses" was made by visitors to an 1888 Episcopal Church convention, the nickname growing in popularity after the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition where Mayor Harry Lane suggested that the city needed a "festival of roses."The first Portland Rose Festival was held two years later and remains the city's major annual festival a century later.

Other nicknames for Portland include "Stumptown" (because of early logging to clear land for development), and "Bridgetown" (because of its numerous bridges). City officials are promoting Portland's thriving microbrewery industry with the nicknames "Beervana" and "Brewtopia". Many Portlanders and Oregonians also refer to Portland synecdochically by the Airport code of Portland International Airport, "PDX".

"Rip City" is a nickname coined by Blazer's broadcaster Bill Schonely when referring to the basketball team and its surrounding culture.

Staffers of former US President George H. W. Bush used to refer to Portland as "Little Beirut" because of the protesters he encountered during his visits.

Emiliano Martino
Hilary Thavis
Gaia Groove

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