Why is Portland called Portland? This must be an easy one, right? It’s called Portland because it’s a port city.


The city of Portland started in 1843. The Port of Portland wasn’t created until nearly 50 years later in 1891 when the Oregon Legislature decided to dredge a shipping channel from the city to the Pacific Ocean.

So, we got curious – why is Portland called Portland?

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There’s quite bit of backstory as to how Portland, Oregon itself got started. The site was used as a resting area between Oregon City and Fort Vancouver. (Man, aren’t we glad for modern transportation not requiring us to stop halfway on a 30-mile trip!)

How did they decide? A duel with firearms? A naked boat race in the Columbian River? A marathon chicken dance contest?

Nope. The two guys flipped a coin.

That’s right. There was a 50/50 chance that where we live today would be called Boston, Oregon. Obviously, Pettygrove won and the rest is history, but how weird is it that Portland was named from the flip of a coin?

To make matters horrifying, this means we’re named after Portland, Maine! How uncool is that?!

Do you know any other strange facts about Portland? Enlighten us in the comments!


Source: History of Portland, Oregon from Wikipedia
Source: Port of Portland from Wikipedia