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Portland on the Map

GPS N45.518857°,W122.68158°
Portland has the land area of 134.3 square miles; it is located in the northwest section of Oregon. It is the seat of Multnomah County. It is the third biggest city in Northwest after Seattle and Vancouver. The metropolitan area is located within the Willamette Valley, and it consists of suburban municipalities sprawled around patches of farmland farther south.

Portland started as a spot known as "The Clearing" which was about half-way between Oregon City and Fort Vancouver on the bank of the Willamette River. In 1843, William Overton saw great commercial potential for this land. Later he sold it to Pettygrove who named it after his home town – Portland in Maine. In its early years, Portland existed in the shadow of Oregon City, but by 1850 it had approximately 800 inhabitants, a steam sawmill, a log cabin hotel, and a newspaper, called the Weekly Oregonian. Portland was the major port in the Pacific Northwest for much of the 19th century, until the 1890s when its place took over Seattle located directly on the coast.

Portland has many nicknames, but the most famous one is “The City of Roses”. The nickname dates back to 1905 when Lewis and Clark organized centennial exposition. Besides that, there are many rose gardens, supported by climate ideal for growing roses. It is temperate and seasonal and although it lies in the Marine West Coast climate zone, Portland shows many characteristics of a Mediterranean climate. The city has mild wet winters, and warm, dry summers.

The population is about 530 000 inhabitants and that of the surrounding metropolitan area is approximately 2 million, which makes Portland the 24th largest city in the United States. The population density is 1,521 inhabitants per square kilometer. As far as the races are concerned, most of the city’s population is White (78 %), then Afro-Americans (6 %) and the rest is divided into other different races, like Asian, Native Americans or others. The city of Portland is governed by a mayor, four city commissioners and an auditor, who are each elected citywide to serve four-year terms.

Portland is often cited as an example of a well-planned city. The credit for this starts in 1979 with the establishment of withurban growth boundary. The city is divided into five sections (since 1931): Southwest, Southeast, Northwest, North and Northeast. There is also the sixth, unnamed “quadrant” between Naito Parkway (formerly Front Avenue) and the Willamette River, which has an east bend south of downtown. Downtown Portland and many other parts of inner Portland have compact city blocks and narrow streets, which make is more pedestrian friendly.

Portland is especially proud of its parks. Forest Park is the largest wilderness park within city limits in the United States, with over 5,000 acres (20 km²). Portland is also home to Mill Ends Park, the world's smallest park (a two-foot-diameter circle, the park's area is only about 0.3 square meters). Washington Park, located west of downtown is home to the Oregon Zoo, the Portland Japanese Garden, and the International Rose Test Garden.

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