Portland has become a trendy place to talk about in recent years. Even if you’ve never been, you probably have an impression of what Portland is like thanks to popular TV shows like Portlandia. While many of the jokes about Portland are spot on, there’s a lot to learn. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about Portland.
1. There’s no sales tax.
The price on the tag is the price you pay in Portland Oregon. As a result, people Washington often hop the border to make use of Oregon’s tax free shopping.
2. You’re probably mispronouncing “Couch” and “Willamette”
Couch rhymes with “pooch” and Willamette is pronounced “will-AM-it”. Willamette Valley Vineyards sells t-shirts that read “It’s Willamette dammit.”
3. Portland’s iconic drinking fountains are called “Benson Bubblers”
These iconic drinking fountains can be found around the downtown area. They continuously pump clean drinking water out of their upturned copper bowls. There are 52 of the fountains and 74 of the one-bowl varieties mostly concentrated in the downtown area.
4. Vancouver boasts the oldest apple tree in the Pacific Northwest
A region renowned for its tree fruits and berries. Planted at Fort Vancouver in 1826 the venerable Old Apple Tree . This particular apple tree is considered the matriarch of Washington state’s apple industry. The 192-year-old tree still produces some fruit and is celebrated each year with a fall festival that features live music, cider pressing, tree care workshops and a limited number of tree cuttings from the Old Apple Tree.
5. Vancouver is a dry town.
Despite having a reputation for soggy weather, Vancouver’s average annual rainfall is 39 inches lower than many other major cities. Including Atlanta, Baltimore, Houston, Indianapolis, Nashville and Philadelphia.
6. Portland is home to the world’s largest independent book store.
Powell’s City of Books located on Burnside in downtown Portland. They claim to be the largest independent bookstore in the world offering both used and new options. The stacks of shelves occupy one city block! Comparatively, that’s 68000 square feet of books. Better get reading!
7. There’s an extinct volcano within city limits.
Mt. Tabor is a volcanic cone with a park on top located at the far Southeast part of town. It’s a popular place for hiking bike riding and watching the sunset over the city.
8. Clark County is home to the Stars
Clark County is the birthplace of sports stars. NBA players Richie Frahm, Dan Dickau and Seattle Mariner Richie Sexson are all natives. Sexson graduated from Prairie High School in Brush Prairie. Additionally, Camas boasts both NASCAR driver Greg Biffle and astronaut Mike Barratt who is famous for spending over 200 days on the International Space Station. Additionally, Barratt was part of the final voyage of the space shuttle Discovery. And Vancouver is the birthplace of Sarona Snuka-Polamalu stage name Tamina. A professional wrestler with WWE since 2009.
9. It’s illegal to pump your own gas.
An attendant will be right with you. Don’t touch that pump in Oregon. Otherwise you could be subject to a $500 fine.
10. Home to the Clark County Fair
At 150 years old the Clark County Fair is one of the oldest and largest fairs in the area with an annual attendance of more than 270000 people. It was started in Esther Short Park in October 1868. However, it moved to Battle Ground in the 1920s. In 1955 it moved to it’s current location, just north of Vancouver in 1955 where it is still held every August.