Although not limited to the Portland area, the Made in Oregon stores are a good place to go if you are looking for that unique gift for someone who wants something from Oregon, but you are not sure what to get them. Also available in these stores is a wide assortment of Oregon only food and other items, including everything from the expected post cards to unusual and unexpected crafts, artworks, toys and food.
There are several stores in the Portland area. Unfortunately, the best of those stores has closed: this was the store at the Saturday market, just north of the Burnside Bridge. The new location in downtown Portland store is in the Galleria shopping center, near 10th Avenue and Yamhill Street. There is a MAX station there on the blue and red lines. It doesn't present quite as good a location as the old store as it isn't close to all the unique stuff at Saturday Market.
Other Made in Oregon stores are located in the various shopping malls, including Lloyd Center, but those stores are smaller and therefore unable to stock the same level of variety that used to be carried in the downtown store. One of these smaller stores is also located at the Portland Airport. It must be visited after going through security screening.
Meier & Frank -- the original downtown store -- is a Portland landmark. The business was founded in 1857 by German immigrant Aaron Meier, who was joined a few years later by Sigmund Frank.
The 10-story store in the the heart of downtown Portland (a full block at 6th and Morrison St.) was completed in 1932 and for a while was the largest retail outlets west of the Mississippi and the one of the largest stores in the nation.
It's still huge and beautiful, and -- like Macy's -- holds a big parade the day after Thanksgiving.
In 1960 it opened a 300,000 sq. ft store in the new Lloyd Center, becoming the largest tenant in "America's largest shopping center." (at that time, of course).
It was bought out in 1966 by May Dept. Store Co. It now also has stores in Washington Square, Clackamas Town Center, Salem, Eugene, Medford and Vancouver Wash.
Meier & Frank has a wonderful history in Portand. I remember the thrill of riding its elevator as a small child making a rare trip to the big city.
2008 -- Update: I need to edit this tip, alas, as all good things come to an end. Meier and Frank was purchased by Macy's in the past couple of years, and all Meier and Frank stores now bear the Macy's name.
What to buy: Meier and Frank sells clothing, household goods, furniture, jewelry, electronics, toys, cosmetics, etc. etc.
It has good quality stuff and great sales. The last time I shopped there I bought two pairs of pants for $7 total and two towels for half price.
What to pay: All price ranges, with good sales.
Another place I always wanted to visit was GI Joe's, in Oak Grove, not far from Phils house. You just have to visit this place at least once.
What to buy: Anything and everything for the outdoor folk, sportsman/woman, etc. From fishing equipment to boats, from baseballs to hunting rifles, and so much more. The do a great deal in sportswear, sweatshirts, etc. I bought two sweatshirts here to bring home with me for the family. I guarantee you won't walk out empty-handed.
They have a 90-day merchandise return policy too.
What to pay: Probably less than other shops that sell similar gear.
Another of Phil's favourite stores is Fred Meyer's, where you can buy just about anything, just like the Home Depot! Lots of things here that, again, you never realized that you always wanted, haha.
What to buy: The store has furniture, clothes, garden stuff, foodstuff, drink, etc., etc. We went ther to buy food for our Bar-B-Que. You've never seen such steaks in England,as we bought there!. They were New York steaks, thick, and tender. Even Phil couldn't eat a whole one!
What to pay: Much less than other similar stores
We've all been to the do It Yourself stores, but, I've never seen one like this before! They have everything there for your home repairs, and tools that you never realised that you always needed! I just had to keep my hands in my pocket, as there were just so many things I 'needed to buy', and I knew that I just couldn't get them into my luggage for the air trip home. So now, when I roam around our local 'Focus' store, here in England, it's such an anticlimax!
I have to say that I believe this to be Phildeni's favourite store, but he does have another favourite!
What to buy: Everything and anything for your D-I-Y jobs around the home, motor vehicle or whatever.
What to pay: Much less than most other places.