John Wray, 36, SE, bartender/artist

Lately we’ve noticed scruff on more than just a few faces. In fact, Portland may be the beardiest city in America right now. Here’s our proof.

John Wray, 36, SE, bartender/artist

“I started growing a beard to appear older, wiser, but more so to look burly, and because it was a way to stand out. That was 1997, and almost twelve years later I continue to grow it because it’s become a part of my personality. It’s one of the things I’m known for, including bad jokes and drinking beer in dive bars. ?As far as it being a Portland thing, I think it’s more of a young hipster thing and that they are growing beards for the same reason I started. I suppose ‘back to nature’ would describe a good number of beards on older men, in their thirties and forties. I think of them as mountain-man types. Myself, I’m just gonna let it grow.”

Brush up on your facial hair history with our web exclusive: Whiskery History, Trendsetters of the Bearded Northwest.