Portland Oregon: the random (but important!) stuff you need to know before your visit

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We have a new guide in the Pacific Northwest! Scott is a long-time resident of Portland, Oregon, a city that’s popping up on more and more travelers’ radars these days. Its vibrant downtown, pretty residential neighborhoods, local cafes and brewpubs share space with many friendly (and caffeinated!) characters. Scott’s here to tell you about a few things you should keep in mind when you visit his hometown.

Weather. Yes it has been known to rain in Portland. Sometimes it can rain for what seems like months on end. However, the Portland climate from May through mid-October is pretty much the best there is in the U.S. The summer daytime temperatures here are beyond pleasant, mostly between 75-85 degrees. NEWS FLASH: For anyone that comes here from the East Coast or the Mid-West or pretty much anywhere east of the Rockies take note: we have NO HUMIDITY ISSUES here! If it is 75 degrees or even it is 90 degrees when you visit, it’s a comfortable heat and you do not have to take a shower four times a day.

Umbrellas. As a general rule, Portlanders do not carry or use umbrellas. What falls out of the sky here during the winter months is not like you are used to in Florida or Ohio. We call it drizzle, and you have to be out in drizzle a very long time to get wet. If you do choose to use an umbrella, you will be immediately spotted as being "not from here" and subject to curious looks and (good-natured!) pointing.

Coffee. Portland is the second most caffeinated city in the country, second only to our archrival from the north (that would be Seattle, the home of Starbucks). Portlanders spend on average $33 per month on coffee for every man, women, and child. This means two things for the visitor to Portland: 1.Most everyone you meet in Portland will be wide awake and very, very friendly (see talking to strangers below). 2. If you do get that stray summer shower discussed in the weather section above, you can always find a coffee shop to duck into for a few minutes.

Talking to strangers. Portlanders do it. In many places around the world, and in some US cities, it is not cool, and maybe even considered rude, to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger. That does not seem to be the case here: Portlanders are not shy about talking to strangers. If it makes you feel uncomfortable to have someone on the street say “Hi” or ask you where you bought your shoes, or offer you directions when you didn’t even ask, this might not be the best place for you.

Beer. You like beer? We do too. Portland is the undisputed king of the microbrewer with over forty breweries inside the city limits alone. Enough said on that subject.

Tonya Harding. Back in the day (the 1990's) Portland had a bad girl resident living amongst us named Tonya. She was a world-class figure skater and it seems she and her entourage would do anything to win her sport. Anything including putting a hit on her competition. Literally. In a practice session before the 1994 Olympics, her husband and his band of merry men took a collapsible police baton and whacked Nancy Kerrigan, her main competitor, on the knee. It was an apparent attempt to break her leg and put her out of the competition, but in the end the knee didn’t break, the bad people got caught, the Olympics went on, and Nancy Kerrigan took home a silver medal while our hometown girl finished a disappointing eighth. I only mention this unfortunate event because this incident is, and always will be, a continued embarrassment to our fair city and if you were to bring it up to the wrong person here, you might get yourself whacked.

Scott operates weekend walking tours in his lovely city, where you will always be given “The Rest of the Story” in regards to Portland, its history and the people who call this place home. You can reach Scott and schedule your own private Portland walking tour through his guide profile page.
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