Portland is the cultural hub, economic center, and largest city in the U.S. state of Oregon, located near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. According to the 2010 Census, it had a population of 583,776, estimated to have reached 609,456 in 2013, making it the 29th most populous city in the United States. Approximately 2,314,554 people live in the Portland metropolitan area (MSA), the 19th most populated MSA in the United States.
Portland was incorporated in 1851 near the end of the Oregon Trail and is the county seat of Multnomah County. The city operates with a unique commission-based government guided by a mayor and four commissioners as well as Metro – the only directly elected metropolitan planning organization in the United States. The city government is renowned for its superior land-use planning and investment in public transportation. Portland is frequently recognized as one of the most environmentally conscious or "green" cities in the world because of its high walkability, large community of bicyclists, expansive network of public transportation options and 10,000+ acres of public parks.
Portland is located in the Willamette Valley region of the Pacific Northwest, between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains, and its climate is marked by warm, dry summers as well as damp, cool-to-chilly winter days. This climate is ideal for growing roses. For more than a century, Portland has been known as the "City of Roses", with many rose gardens – most prominently the International Rose Test Garden. The city is also known for its abundant outdoor activities, liberal political values, and coffee and beer enthusiasm. Portland is home to the most total breweries and independent microbreweries of any city in the world, with 58 active breweries within city limits, as well as 600+ food carts and food trucks which contribute to the unofficial slogan "Keep Portland Weird".
Prior to mass emigration by American pioneers of European ancestry, the land that is today occupied by Portland and surrounding Multnomah County was inhabited for many centuries by two bands of Upper Chinook Indians - the Multnomah people and the Cascades Indians.
Significant numbers of pioneer settlers began arriving in the Willamette Valley in the 1830s via the Oregon Trail, though life was originally centered in nearby Oregon City. In the early 1840s a new settlement began emerging on the banks of the Willamette River, located roughly halfway between Oregon City and Fort Vancouver. This community was initially referred to as "Stumptown" or "The Clearing" because of the many trees being cut down to allow for its growth. In 1843 William Overton saw potential in the new settlement but lacked the funds necessary to file an official land claim. For 25 cents Overton agreed to share half of the site with his partner, Asa Lovejoy of Boston, then two years later sold the remaining half of his claim to Francis W. Pettygrove of Portland, Maine. Both Pettygrove and Lovejoy wished to rename "Stumptown" after their respective hometowns. In 1845 this controversy was settled 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 and by 1890 it had grown to 46,385. The city merged with Albina and East Portland in 1891 and annexed the cities of Linnton and St. Johns in 1915.
Portland's access to the Pacific Ocean via the Willamette and the Columbia rivers, as well as its easy access to the agricultural Tualatin Valley via the "Great Plank Road" (the route of current-day U.S. Route 26), provided the pioneer city with an advantage over other nearby ports, and it grew very quickly. Portland 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 city has acquired a diverse range of nicknames throughout its history, though it is most frequently called "Rose City" or "The City of Roses", its official nickname since 2003. Another widely utilized nickname by local residents in everyday speech is PDX, which is also the airport code for Portland International Airport. Other nicknames include Portlandia, Bridgetown,Stumptown, Beertown, Beervana, Rip City, Soccer City, P-Town, and the more antiquated Little Beirut.