Portland is a city located in the U.S. state of Oregon, near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. As of the 2010 Census, it had a population of 583,776, estimated to have reached 587,865 in 2012, making it the 28th most populous city in the United States. Portland is Oregon's most populous city, and the third most populous city in the Pacific Northwest region, after Seattle, Washington, and Vancouver, British Columbia. Approximately 2,992,924 people live in the Portland metropolitan area (MSA), the 19th most populous 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 has a commission-based government headed by a mayor and four other commissioners as well as Metro, a distinctive regional government. The city is noted for its superior land-use planning and investment in light rail. Because of its public transportation networks and efficient land-use planning, Portland has been referred to as one of the most environmentally friendly, or "green", cities in the world.
Located in the Marine west coast climate region, Portland has a climate marked by both warm, dry summers and wet, 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 beer and coffee enthusiasm. Portland is home to a large number of independent microbreweries, microdistilleries and food carts that contribute to the unofficial slogan "Keep Portland Weird".
The land that is occupied today by Multnomah County was inhabited for centuries by two bands of Upper Chinook Indians. The Multnomah people settled on and around Sauvie Island, and the Cascades Indians settled along the Columbia Gorge. These groups fished and traded along the river and gathered berries, wapato, and other root vegetables. The nearby Tualatin Plains provided prime hunting grounds. The later settlement of Portland started as a spot known as either "Stumptown" or "the clearing", which was on the banks of the Willamette, located 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 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. 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. The city merged with Albina and East Portland in 1891, and annexed the cities of Linnton and St. Johns in 1915.
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 very 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 City of Roses, the city's official nickname since 2003. Other nicknames include the City of Bridges, Stumptown, Bridgetown, Rip City, Little Beirut, Beervana or Beertown, P-Town, Soccer City USA, Portlandia, Cloud City, and the synecdoche PDX.