Local traditions and culture in Portland

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    Henry Weinhard's Brewery & Woodland Pass IPA Beer

    by Ewingjr98 Written Jan 30, 2014

    Henry Weinhard, a German-American brewer, moved to the west coast in 1855. He began working in the local Fort Vancouver brewery, located across the Columbia River from Portland. He opened his first brewery in Portland in about 1856, but later sold it, then bought the Fort Vancouver Brewery. In 1862, he sold the Fort Vancouver brewery, and repurchased the brewery he started six years earlier. Within a few years, he built a new brewery in Northwest Portland and moved his business there, where it operated until 1999. The brewery is now closed, and part of the original building has reopened as Henry's 12th Street Tavern, while the building itself is a National Historic Landmark. The Henry Weinhard's name still appears on beer, having been purchased by Pabst in 1979, Stroh's in 1996, and Miller in 1999. SABMiler produces several varieties of Henry Weinhard's beer today, including Woodland Pass IPA, Redwood Flats Amber, Private Reserve pale lager, Blue Boar Pale Ale, Northwest Wheat, and Blonde lager.

    I recently found the Woodland Pass IPA Beer far from Portland. The beer comes in a bottle with a green classic-styled label. While marketed as an IPA, the beer is mildly hoppy at best. It is drinkable, however.

    3.5 out of 5 stars.

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    Harvey W Scott 1838 - 1910

    by glabah Updated Oct 4, 2011

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    Harvey Scott was an early Portland resident, and a statue to his honor is located in Mt. Tabor Park on the east side of Portland. The statue claims that he was a "Molder of Opinion in Oregon and the Nation" and as a newspaper publisher that was certainly the case. In some ways he was a forward thinker and inspiration for molding the city. Scott was also the president of the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition, which was a major event in the history of Portland. His publishing skills also created the first History of Portland, Oregon and a six volume history of the Oregon Territory. These are significant works as they tell the history of these places from the perspective of those who lived through the events themselves - Today such a history would be much more difficult as no original participants of the early history of the region remain.

    However, there is a certain item that is not commonly talked about: while Mr. Scott was considered a visionary in some respects, he was not particularly a progressive or visionary in certain other respects. For example, one of his female relatives was a significant figure in promoting women's right to vote. This was severely opposed by Mr. Scott, who used his newspaper publishing position to fight against this movement.

    Thus, from time to time, protest signs may be found tied to trees or the statue itself or taped to its base, from those disturbed about our memorial and idealization of Mr. Scott without much remembrance at all his entire place in history, and the important role of his opponents in getting Oregon women the right to vote. It is particularly ironic considering the location of this statue, which at the summit of Mt. Tabor puts him in almost a "local diety" position, unlike any other such memorial to any other such figure anywhere in Portland.

    Scott also was a severe opponent of the concept of creating public high schools and stated that those who wished to go beyond the traditional range of education (ie, 8th grade) should pay for it.

    In my own opinion, such a position is really deserved by such as Simon Benson, Henry Pittock, or other visionaries that really were visionaries for their era. However, as the Scott family donated the $10,000 to create the statue and install it, it is Scott who is memorialized here.

    It is also true that the city wouldn't be quite the way it is without Harvey Scott.

    The statue was dedicated in 1933.

    Harvey Scott statue in Mt. Tabor Park memorial to Harvey Scott, Statue in Mt Tabor Park monument to Harvey Scott at summit of Mt. Tabor
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    Timbers Army

    by mtncorg Updated May 3, 2011

    The largest fan supporter group in the Major League Soccer - top level for US and Canada - resides in Portland. The group began in days when the Timbers were toiling away in the lower levels of professional soccer starting with a few hundred hardy souls who gathered together at the north end of the stadium. They introduced some of the better parts of World soccer fan traditions - singing chants, creating tifo, having a good time supporting the team win or lose - while trying to leave out the extremes of traditions. The group was instrumental in getting city leaders to renovate the old stadium - which was mainly a baseball park that resembled in many ways Boston's Fenway Park - into a stadium that is soccer-specific - though American football will also be played here in the fall as the stadium will also be home to the Portland State University Vikings. MLS has been very wary of fan supporter groups in the past, afraid that such groups might scare away suburban families, but seeing the experiences here in Portland and experiences in other MLS cities - Seattle, Philadelphia, Chicago, Toronto - the league is now beginning to embrace the fan supporter culture.

    The team works closely with the Timbers Army - TA - along many fronts, whether it is to provide tickets for away matches, honoring longtime fans who have passed on, helping the TA get access to allow the tifo displays, help in designing the team logo, etc.. The larger part of the northern end of the stadium is devoted to the TA and it is a general admission section. Everyone has a seat, but no one sits. The TA gets to enter the stadium 107 minutes before a match - 107 in honor of the first stadium section that was totally devoted to Timbers Army supporters, section 107. Other match goers don't get in until 90 minutes before a game. It used to be that TA supporters could sit across the street at a nearby pub - The Bitter End - and have a beer or two before the game and stroll across just before the game. Those times are in the past. Success breeds success. From only a few hundred, the TA numbers thousands now and in order to get a favored seat, members of the Army wait outside the stadium long before the 107 minute point. It is quite a sight to see the Army arrayed and singing in the north end - rain or shine - long before other fans file into the stadium.

    The team honored the TA by allowing them to sing the national anthem before the first MLS match on April 14, 2011. It was quite a moving moment to see so many people singing - ok, a little off key.

    Entry requirements into the Timbers Army are quite high. If you want to be in the Army, then you are thereby a member. RCTID.

    Rain isn't enough to keep TA out long before game TA supporters line stadium long before match Pregame beer at Southern Front - TA end is full
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    Timber Joey

    by mtncorg Updated May 3, 2011

    Professional soccer has been around Portland since the late 1970's when the first Portland Timbers team competed in the now-defunct NASL against the likes of Pele and Franz Beckenbauer. Newly promoted to the newer upper echelon of US/Canada Major League Soccer, the Timbers have continued a tradition that goes back many years of having a cheerleader figure cut off a slab from a log for each goal the home team scores. The cheerleader in this case is not the ordinary run-of-the-mill femme fatale dressed in skimpy clothing, but is a regular lad who has logging in his pedigree - among other things like rodeo and rugby. Whenever Portland scores a goal, Joey gets out the chainsaw and carves off another slab, presenting it first to the crowd and then to the goal scorer at the end of the match in front of the Timbers Army who are in full throat.

    Joey is the second in the line of Portland's cheerleaders. The first, Timber Jim, retired a few years ago after a long career of log cutting, climbing posts and hanging from the rafters in his tree cutting gear. Jim can still be seen in the Timbers Army northern end leading the occasional cheers. The Army sings "You are my Sunshine!" at the 80th minute of every game in honor of Jim's teenage grandchild who was killed in car accident several years ago.

    Giving credit where it is due - the photos are from photographers of the lcoal newspaper, the Oregonian.

    Another slab, another goal - presented to the Army Timber Joey fires up the saw - first home MLS game Timber Joey greeting the Faithful
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    The most eco-friendly city in the US

    by Jefie Updated Dec 26, 2010

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    I'm not sure exactly how it all started, but whenever a list is made of the "greenest" cities in the world, Portland always comes up near the top. Portlanders in general care very much about the environment, and several environmentally-friendly initiatives and inventions originate from Portland. For example, I was told that the towel program we now find in most hotels around the world (where you hang your towel if you wish to use it again) first started at the Hilton Portland. I also noticed that solar-powered trash compactors were being tested at different locations in the city, which makes total sense - after all, if something that is solar-powered can work in an overcast city like Portland, it can work anywhere! We also saw several parking spots with free charging stations reserved for electric cars in the downtown area, and I thought it was interesting to know that Portland is the American city with the highest ratio of hybrid cars per inhabitants.

    Charging station for electric cars
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    Such a happy place!

    by Jefie Written Dec 11, 2010

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    Another thing Portland is famous for is its high number of microbreweries, earning the city such nicknames as "Beervana" and "Brewtopia". At the moment there are 26 breweries located in the city, which is more than what you'll find in any other American city, along with the highest number of brewpubs in the US - the McMenamins brewery alone owns more than 20 pubs in Portland, several of them being located in historic buildings. Funnily enough, statistics show that despite all these local breweries, the most popular beer in Portland is Pabst Blue Ribbon! Nonetheless, Portland's beer culture has turned it into one of the country's best city for happy hour - from the smallest pubs to the fanciest restaurants, roughly between the hours of 3:00 and 6:00 pm, you can enjoy cheap drinks and food in a fun atmosphere all over town. On a semi-related note, I was surprised to find out that Portland should also boast the highest concentration of strip clubs in the US - Portland is even home to the world's very first Vegan strip club!

    Enjoying a $3 pint during happy hour!
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    Food carts of Portland

    by Jefie Written Dec 11, 2010

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    Nowhere else in the world will you see such a high concentration of food carts as in downtown Portland. It's estimated that there are now over 400 food carts in the city, with several of them clustered in parking lots downtown (the three major spots can be found at Adler St & 9th Ave, at Stark St & 5th Ave, and at Start St & 3rd Ave). They're especially popular at lunch time, and they offer a wide variety of ethnic food at very reasonable prices. In case you're wondering, Portland's food carts have very little to do with the hotdog and pretzel carts you'll find in New York City - many of the carts are run by culinary school graduates looking for an inexpensive way to get started in the business and hopefully gain some recognition, which therefore makes it possible to enjoy very good food at a very low price. Some carts even include small sheltered areas with tables and chairs for customers. With so many choices I'd say the easiest thing to do is just to follow your nose, but it's also possible to read food cart reviews on "Food Carts Portland", a website entirely dedicated to the city's food cart culture.

    Food carts on SW 2nd Ave in downtown Portland
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    Don't call them water fountains!

    by Jefie Updated Dec 11, 2010

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    I thought it was funny to see how proud Portlanders seem to be of their Benson Bubblers - our walking tour guide even told us he'd once seen a woman with a Benson Bubbler tattooed on her shoulder!! The first of these bronze drinking fountains were installed in 1912 and they're named after Simon Benson, a man who'd made a fortune in Oregon with his logging company. Benson himself didn't drink alcohol, something that was fairly unusual in Portland at the time (and probably still is!), and he wanted to do something to prevent his crew from coming back inebriated after lunch. It wasn't entirely his men's fault since back then you couldn't walk into a pub and order a glass of water - you only got one if you also ordered a beer! Benson decided to give the city $10,000 to install 20 drinking fountains in the downtown area. They were such a big success that Portland now has a total of 52 Benson Bubblers providing fresh drinking water 365 days a year, from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm.

    A Benson Bubbler in downtown Portland
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    Portland is a beer mecca

    by richiecdisc Written Oct 25, 2009

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    There are many great reasons to visit Portland but if you are a beer connoisseur, the most important one is to sample what are admittedly some of the finest beers brewed in the United States. Portland is particularly good at brewing cask-conditioned beer. This beer serving style comes from England and involves keeping the beer "alive" by putting live yeast in the storage vessel. These kegs of beer will change in flavor with time, making it a more interesting ale. It also makes the beer much softer in its palate, much less carbonated and far easier to drink. This is where the idea of "session" beer comes from. Bridgeport has been making cask beers since the mid-1980s and generally has four on hand pulled taps each day. Deschutes has one or two and Horse Brass Pub, while not brewing their own beer, can have up to six. It is a style you should seek out and at least try. It can be very nice for the non-beer drinker. Cask ales are like the red wine of the beer world and should be served at slightly warmer temperatures. This does not mean hot or really warm but cellar temperature.

    cask & nitro served beer in Portland brewpub
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    Benson Bubbler Drinking Fountains

    by glabah Updated Feb 18, 2009

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    Simon Benson was one of the early Portland eccentrics, and was involved with a number of odd ventures including an attempt to start automobile manufacturing in Portland around 1904.

    As a major port city (at the time) the city of Portland was dotted with all manner of drinking establishments, which led to riotous behaviour on behalf of the populance.

    Mr. Benson was unhappy with this state of affairs, and felt that if provided with better public water drinking facilities, the citizens would be less likely to overindulge in stronger drink.

    Thus, the construction of the Benson Bubbler fountains, which started in 1912 with a grant from Simon Benson. The fountains were designed to be mounted on sidewalks with the water flowing in such a way that the flow of water would naturally clean the spout of street dirt (which was important in an era when the city was filled with horses).

    According to local legend, saloon sales dropped by some 40% after the fountains were installed.

    This style of fountain now exists in many locations in Portland.

    In 1959, the students of Benson Polytechnic School (now Benson High School) erected a monument to his memory (Benson had died in Los Angeles, California in 1942) at the north end of the South Park Blocks. Naturally this little monument includes a "Benson Bubbler" drinking fountain. The plaque reads:

    SIMON BENSON
    Lumberman Philanthropist
    Originator of Ocean-Going Log Rafts
    Sponsor of the Columbia River Highway
    Benefactor of Benson Polytechnic School
    Donor of Multnomah Falls, Benson State Park
    and Portland's Drinking Fountains
    Constructed and Erected
    To His Memory
    by
    The Students of
    Benson Polytechnic
    School
    1959

    In recent years, there have been many public complaints about the Benson bubbler drinking fountains because they are designed to run all the time. The complains center around the desire to conserve water, and how wasteful it must be to run these fountains all the time. Therefore, in summer months, the city now shuts off the fountains and installs a push button valve in one of the spouts. Unfortunately this also makes them just as unreliable as any of the standard push-button drinking fountains everywhere else in the world, while the true Benson fountains provide a self-cleaning reliable source of water.

    An unfortunate reality is that the city of Portland has far larger sources of water loss than what these little fountains generate, and thus the city has never really been that concerned with the water loss the generate. The valve is really more to reduce the number of complaints the city must respond to than to really accomplish any meaningful water savings.

    Is it "Bensen" or "Benson"?

    Maybe. Both. Or Neither.

    Benson is how many people spell it, and that is how it is spelled on the memorial plaque on the north end of the South Park Blocks but you will also find references to Bensen.

    The original family name was Berger Iversen. When the family moved to the USA, they all decided (Simon included) to change their Norwegian last name to a shorter and more simple form, and thus Benson was created. Most likely, those who use the "Bensen" form are thinking of the original source name, rather than the Americanized version.

    See also the Wikipedia Entry for Simon Benson

    memorial to Simon Benson including Benson fountain Benson Bubbler drinking fountain memorial to Simon Benson, N. end of S. Park Blocks
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    Oregon Grape

    by glabah Updated Apr 9, 2008

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    I have more photos about this one at my Oregon Grape tip for Oregon customs and traditions as well.

    Every once in a while, you will hear new comers and visitors remark about "that strange holly tree with the blue berries instead of red ones" or other similar comments.

    Most likely these references are to Oregon grape, which does look a little like holly, though generally is a bush (lower to the ground, and rarely the size that a holly tree can become). The leaves are shaped ever so slightly different, and of course there are those blue berries on the plant.

    The berries are too sour to eat directly, but there are apparently some people who like to make jelly out of them.

    This can be a bit confusing because there are actually several plants that people do call Oregon grape, but officially speaking the "Oregon Grape" that is the state flower of Oregon is Berberis aquifolium. Flowers start to appear in late March or early April, and the dark blue berry starts to ripen in the fall.

    Does it like shade or does it like sun? I've seen very healthy Oregon Grape growing in both locations that get a large amount of sun and that are very heavily shade covered. Photo 4 shows them growing the wild (with their yellow flowers) on the floor of a forest at the Minto Island Park and Wildlife Refuge in Salem. During the summer months, when the trees have a full compliment of leaves, these will be in very heavy shade.

    Oregon Grape: looks a bit like holly, blue berries Oregon Grape growing next to parking lot. Oregon Grape: flowers in Salem, April 5, 2008 Oregon Grape with spring flowers at Minto Island
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    Do Not Hit the Cyclists

    by mossyfeet Updated Jan 15, 2008

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    Portland has bike lanes, which are located to the right of the regular car lanes.

    Importantly, when you're making a right turn in a car (or parallel parking!), you need to check your right side and your right-hand mirror so you don't run someone over.

    Similarly, when you are getting out of the driver's side door after parallel parking, check your left-hand mirror so you don't open your door in front of a cyclist.

    When there is no bike lane present, when turning left, or when conditions are unsafe to do otherwise, cyclists have the right to take the main lane. Cyclists will use left and right turn lanes like a car. Bikes are often going much faster than you think!

    There are also a couple places to rent bikes in Portland (CityBikes and Waterfront Bicycle Rentals, to name two), which is a great way to get around when the weather's good. In combination with the public transit, you can even get up the steeper hills without breaking a sweat!

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    Meier & Frank / Macy's / Christmas Decorations

    by glabah Written Nov 28, 2007

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    Meier & Frank was one of Portland's first dry goods and general stores, having been founded in 1857. In 2006, the name Meier & Frank, after a series of takeovers and consolidations of brand names, was eliminated from the Pacific Northwest. Federated Department Stores now operates most former Meier & Frank stores as Macy's stores.

    Every year, until 2005, there were large scale Christmas decorations placed in the display windows of Meier & Franks's flagship store in downtown Portland. During some years, these would tell a story of some sort, or have a theme. Many of them were animated - even in the years before animated Christmas decorations were common. Considerable time and energy would usually go into creating these decorations.

    The 2004 decorations featured "The 12 Days of Christmas" and the "10 Lords a Leaping" were animated penguins dancing in one of the windows. The Partridge in a Pear Tree pictured here was a somewhat less interesting, but still unique, display. The "Turtle Doves" were shown to be turtles with wings.

    This is written in November of 2007, and while some of the Meier & Frank traditions continue at the store under the Macy's name, we have yet to see how long this continues under the new name.

    Turtle Doves? Meier & Frank store, December 2004 Christmas at Meier & Frank store, December 2004
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    Community Gardens

    by glabah Written Nov 20, 2007

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    If you only have the money to live in an appartment, but want to be able to grow things, especially things to eat because you don't trust the local food supply, what do you do?

    Thus, the city of Portland has the community garden program. This program sets aside sections of public land (usually part of a city park, but until last year the largest of all city gardens was on private land, but was removed when the land was developed). These gardens are divided up into small plots, which may be rented by individuals by the year. People may use those plots of land to grow any legal crop or flower or other plant.

    The community gardens are usually identified with city of Portland parks signs, as seen in my (rather abused and vandalized) example.

    Community Gardens Office office phone number and mailing address is listed below. The web site is for the non-profit organization "Friends of Portland Community Gardens".

    Community Gardens: grow crops without land Community Garden: landless rent growing space Community Gardens: grow crops without land Community Gardens: grow crops without land Community Gardens:identified by Portland park sign
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    The Public Process and Required Notices

    by glabah Written Nov 16, 2007

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    Some who are new to Portland and find they can't remove trees from their land without "the process" get upset that neighbors are allowed to comment on these changes. This also goes for such items as changing the use of land, building certain types of structures, and various other aspects of life that may effect neighboring properties.

    Public feedback is even more involved for changes to public property. For example, public notice signs went up when new security cameras were required to be installed on city of Portland reservoirs close to a public park.

    If you are traveling here, don't be surprised to see these in various places. If you are considering moving here, make sure you understand "the process" and all that is required of property owners here before changes are made to property. Some changes affect other properties, so your neighborhood will need to make comments about your proposed changes.

    Public Input Required: must happen before changes Tree Cutting: private land, permit from Park Dept.

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