Downtown area, Portland
Companies come and they go as market forces build them up and them break them up. Sometimes, all that is left is an empty warehouse. Sometimes, not even that. One local sportswear company – White Stag - that thrived here for years until they were bought out and moved overseas to Asia, left behind the huge neon sign (the sign originally advertised for White Satin Sugar from 1927 till the late 50’s when it changed brands) at the west end of the Burnside Bridge that had greeted commuters for years. Unlike a few other such signs, it has survived, albeit with a few subtle changes to its message.
What to buy: The sign advertises Made In Oregon shops which can be found throughout the area selling local products - food, wine, woolen goods. A good place to get acquainted with the plethora of products available.
Oregon Historical Society book store sells quite an assortment of materials. Originally, when they were in a different part of the museum, their store was mostly historical books with information on the history of Oregon, places to explore such as eastern Oregon ghost towns, and similar materials.
These days, however, the museum store has relocated to its present spot at southwest Broadway and Madison. There is far more space here, and the collection of materials available for purchase is now far beyond the historical information books that used to be their largest collection.
Don't get me wrong: their historical books are usually interesting and there is still quite a collection for sale here. However, you will also be able to purchase quite an assortment of items well beyond books.
The store is on the southwest corner of the intersection of Southwest Broadway and Morrison, but the entire block is dedicated to the Oregon Historical Society museum. Only a small part of the facility is the museum store, however. The west side of the block (the museum entrance but not the museum store) faces the South Park Blocks, and across the park blocks and one block north is the Portland Art Museum main entrance.
See Also: Oregon Historical Society Museum under "Things to Do"
The URL below is to the Oregon Historical Society web site, which includes a bit of information about the store.
What to buy: How about a few miniature totem poles or other Native American materials?
Or glass ornaments?
There is a reasonably good assortment of Portland and Oregon post cards and various other Oregon memorabilia available here.
The 150th Anniversary of Oregon Statehood Blanket is made by Oregon's own Pendleton company, but there were only a few produced, and the current asking price for them is in the four digit range.
What to pay: Unfortunately, you will have to pay whatever the price tag says to pay - there isn't any negotiation over price in this store.
This is my favorite store in downtown Portland. Signature Imports has handcrafted clothing, jewelry, accessories, furniture, and knicknacks from all over the world. I particularly love their collection of natural fiber clothing from South America and India, and have bought several items over the years from here.
What to buy: The absence of sales tax in Oregon makes this shop a real bargain for someone like me (a California resident, where I pay 8.25% in sales tax!)
There is such a variety of items, that it is difficult to recommend what to buy. What I can recommend is to pay the store a visit, and see what strikes your fancy.
What to pay: Again, no sales tax for those of you who come from states or countries with sales or GST taxes. Compared to similar items that I find in my hometown of Los Angeles, CA, the prices are comparable. The selection is the real draw.
Coming to Portland to shop is a really good idea beacause we don't have sales tax here. Yes, it's amazing isn't it?
There's plenty to see at Pioneer Square, and personally, I like Sacks Fifth Ave. or Marios, all 3 downtown.
What to buy: Designer clothes at Marios or Sacks, ethnic or liberal clothes can be found in the Pearl District. What are liberal clothes? I don't know, I just made it up.
What to pay: $20-1000
Well, Oregon has no sales tax on items bought, so many people from Washington State that live near Oregon do their shopping in Portland.
Pioneer Square area is the hub for shopping with Nordstroms next to it, A&F, Columbia Sportswear, two shopping malls all within a few blocks .
What to buy: well, items are in general at least about 8.8% cheaper then Seattle, because of the sales tax, and around christmas and the day after thanksgiving(huge shopping day) and christmas are massive sale days.
If your traveling and need new clothes, those two days are great, if your in the area.
Make sure you bring good walking shoes so you can walk around. I was putting a good 5+ miles a day in wandering around seeing the sites. But if you don't...
What to buy: You can buy anything downtown. I found these shoes for sale and got a smile.
There is a BMW showroom in the downtown area. Mostly I just liked this billboard this car dealership from Portland Area had painted on the side of a building.
What to buy: A handful of years ago, Beaverton, OR (just up the road a hop, skip, and a jump up 26) had some of the best prices for vehicles in the nation... no sales tax in Oregon.
Jelly Bean has been around for nearly 30 years! The store is a haven for liberal people who plaster their cars with propaganda. There was plenty of anti-Bush junk, and proud to be from a blue state stuff. Check out their website.
What to buy: I had to laugh at this one, "Stop Honking, I'm On the Cell Phone, Damn It!". Not enough to slap a $3.00 bumpersticker on my truck's clearcoat finish, but it was funny.
Even funnier... A few weeks ago in Portland a woman drove off one of the many bridges while she was talking on her phone. She wasn't hurt. But, she admitted that was why she drove off the bridge. Takes all kinds. This is a shop for the "all kinds". They advertise themself as "cutting edge".
A wonderful store filled with traditional clothing, furnishings and a terrific selection of classic hats of all shapes and materials.
This is a rarity: a third generation business (run by John Helmer III) alive-and-well in the
What to buy: Suits and sportcoats in all weights of fabrics. Especially wide range of ascots!
What to pay: Very upmarket ($750 on up for suitings).