What do you love about Portland? Capture it artfully on your phone and post a photo to Instagram or Twitter. Tag us at @pomomagazine, use the #lovingpdx hashtag, and we’ll print our favorite shots in the July issue!
Microparks. Microbrews. Big air. Big hearts. Double lives, world records, and ancient roses. We offer a bouquet of our city’s countless charms.
Because the sun will always rise over Mill Ends Park.
That’s right, the world’s smallest park is still ours. Dedicated on St. Patrick’s Day 1948 as “the only leprechaun colony west of Ireland,” our tiny, 452-square-inch urban patch at SW Naito Parkway and Taylor Street appeared when a site intended to house a light pole began to sprout weeds. A pathetic recent British attempt to claim the title for a much bigger park only reminds us that in our beloved city, every shortcoming holds a new opportunity.
Because our female athletes kick ass.
1: Worldwide rank of Nadine Angerer, the new German goalkeeper who joins North American superstars Christine Sinclair and Alex Morgan on the Portland Thorns roster this season
60: Percentage of female contestants at last year’s Oregon Ironman (!) Bodybuilding competition
115: Weight, in pounds, of Portland’s MMA fighter Glena “Heartless” Avila, the first women’s champion in local full-contact fighting history
7: Years the Oregon Rugby Sports Union women’s team has ranked in the nation’s top 10 (as of press time, ORSU ranks no. 3 in the country)
4: Games the Portland Shockwave, our full-contact women’s football team, plays this month in Hillsboro Stadium (they won the PNW championship in 2011)
Because we are the secret tango-dancing capital of the hemisphere.
The sexy dance may be rooted in Argentina, but Portland is one of few places north of Buenos Aires with classes, practicas, and milongas every night of the week, all to serve about 300 dedicated local dancers. Plus, the nation’s largest tango event, February’s Valentango, draws hundreds of dancers from around the world.
Because even our major literary series totally kills it.
This year, Literary Arts’ Portland Arts & Lectures series tallied 2,337 subscribers. Indeed, our booklovers would fill two-and-a-half theaters at the country’s most pretigious lecture series, New York City’s legendary 92nd Street Y. Popularity fuels marquee-name ambition: the series attracts the likes of Ann Patchett, Sonia Sotomayor, and Salman Rushdie.
Because we've got the biggest Little Writing Scene in the World
Manhattan’s literary sphere provokes awe and anxiety: imagine a cocktail party full of sharp-elbowed Columbia grads. Portland’s more accessible scene is yet another reason to celebrate our town. And we’re on a strong upswing, word-wise: Powell’s City of Books is receiving a major face-lift, Reading Frenzy just reopened in a beautiful space on N Mississippi Avenue, and in 2015 Wordstock will escape the convention center’s fluorescent glare for promising new digs at Portland State University.
Portland hosts readings nearly every night—at Powell’s, Literary Arts, the Independent Publishing Resource Center, and via long-running series like Loggernaut and Spare Room. (See no. 28, left, for why we think Literary Arts, in particular, qualifies as exceptional.) Our city is also home to established literary darlings like Cheryl Strayed and Kevin Sampsell, along with upstarts like Emily Kendal Frey, Erin Ergenbright, Michael Heald, Evan Schneider, and Natalie Serber. New York will always dominate commercial publishing, but Portland could be the Small Press Capital of the World. There’s also no better place to study writing on the cheap, via the Tin House Workshop, the IPRC’s yearlong Certificate Program, or the Attic.
Rather than major industry or institutions, Portland’s literary world is built around a community of readers and writers: indeed a thing worthy of love.
Justin Hocking is the executive director of the IPRC and author of the memoir The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld
Because you can drink beer and support charity at the same time!
Woodlawn’s aptly named Oregon Public House claims to be the world’s only nonprofit pub. Here’s how it works: when a customer orders a beer, she or he “votes” for one charity from a list. At the end of the month, the pub tallies its profits, tallies the votes, and divvies up the money accordingly. If 20 percent of customers voted for the Neo Fund, for instance, 20 percent of profits go to microloans for Nicaraguans. Altruism and genius.
Because Seattle envies us.
The February 2014 issue of our sister publication, Seattle Met, put us in the spotlight with “Perfect Portland Getaways,” effectively reversing a favorite Portlandia skit in which, to the dismay of Portland’s mayor (played by Kyle MacLachlan), Seattle is featured on the cover of Portland Monthly as the “Gem of the Northwest.” We have arrived! (Note: Seattle has never appeared on the cover of Portland Monthly.)
Because 10 years ago, two Reedies ignited a distilling renaissance.
When Tom Burkleaux and Matthew VanWinkle unveiled New Deal vodka in 2004, it propelled craft brew–loving Portland in a spirited new direction. The modest debut eventually sparked Southeast Portland’s Distillery Row and the nation’s first state distillers guild. “It just hit me: everybody is making good food and wine and coffee—let’s go make good spirits,” remembers Burkleaux. “I wouldn’t have thought of it if I wasn’t living in Portland.” Next up for New Deal, which now produces 12 distinct lines of spirits? Growing a field of flowers for the city’s first rose liqueur.