The population count for Portland proper is around 575,000, with the greater metropolitan area numbered over 2 million. The expected growth rate by the year 2010 is 1.8% annually. Portland charges no sales tax, a relief to shoppers, especially those visiting and spending hard-earned vacation dollars. Gasoline, however, is taxed at 24 cents a gallon and is expected to rise in the future. Area employers include the major categories of education, hospitals and health services employing about 21% of the population; professional and business services employing 16%; and trade, transportation and utilities employing 14%. Government, manufacturing, real estate, construction and mining employ much of the remainder. Prominent employers include Intel Corporation, Providence Health Systems, Fred Meyer, Legacy Health System and Kaiser Permanente.
Portland International Airport (PDX) is located about 12 miles northeast of downtown. Service is provided by all major carriers, and access to and from the airport is quite simple due to its location along I-5 and its relatively close proximity to the city center. Car rentals from major providers are available at the airport, although a hefty surcharge generally applies when booking at the airport. Taxi and shared-ride airport shuttles are also readily available. The one-way cost is roughly $25 from the airport to downtown Portland. Traveling by taxi or shared shuttle from the airport to downtown generally takes about 20 minutes. Public transportation options include bus and the Portland MAX Light Rail, approximately $2 per person for a one-way trip. The MAX trip from the airport to downtown lasts approximately 40 minutes. Amtrak trains and Greyhound buses service Portland as well. Amtrak runs out of Portland Union Station, located downtown on the perimeter of Old Town. The Greyhound bus station stands adjacent to Union Station.
Of course, you always have the option to rent a car or travel by taxi, but Portland offers other ways to get around as well. The Portland Streetcar provides service from the waterfront through Portland University north, encompassing the Pearl District, Nob Hill / Northwest and River Place. Generally, fares are $2 for the whole day (95 cents for senior citizens and $1.50 for children). Tickets are available at vending booths at MAX stations and the TriMet office at Pioneer Courthouse Square. Or, you can pay direct fare at the time of boarding. City buses are another alternative for getting around. Note that most of the buses make stops at the Transit Mall along SW Fifth and Sixth Avenues located downtown prior to visiting area neighborhoods. It's at this location that you can find stops for ART, the Cultural Bus (Line 63) that runs a route to the city's top sites and activities. To encourage use of public transportation in the downtown area, the city boasts a "Fareless Square," a 330-block area in which buses and streetcars operate free of charge. This free zone includes transportation across the river to the Lloyd Center and the convention area. Bicycling has become a way of life for many locals. In fact, the city was noted by the League of American Bicyclists for its many bike paths and its bike-friendly attitude. The South Waterfront district located on the Willamette River is connected to the Oregon Health & Science University campus (located on Marquam Hill in the city's Western Hills region) via the Portland Aerial Tram. If you do opt to take a taxi, be advised that you should probably call in advance for service if you are traveling outside of the downtown area. If traveling downtown, you can usually flag for service easily enough. Broadway Cab (503-227-1234) and Radio Cab (503-227-1212) are two main taxi companies, with fares generally being $2.30 per mile and $1 for additional passengers (four maximum per cab). Parking is easily accessible downtown and relatively inexpensive, with charges of about $1.25 per hour for street parking. Note that parking is free after 7pm Monday through Saturday and all day on Sunday. Approximately 4000 public lot spaces are available as well, with rates of $1.25 per hour for the first three hours and $3 per hour after four hours. Most of these spots have weekend rates of just $5.
Portland's daily general-interest newspaper is The Oregonian, which also circulates statewide. The area has a number of smaller papers, most of which circulate free of charge. These include:
Portland Tribune: Published weekly, general interest paper
Willamette Week: Published alternate weekly, general interest alternative paper
The Portland Mercury: Published alternate weekly, targeted toward young urban readers
The Asian Reporter: Published weekly, covers Asian news
The Portland Chinese Times: Published weekly, general interest, Chinese language
Portland Alliance: Published monthly, anti-authoritarian socialist paper
Just Out: Published twice monthly, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender publication
Portland Business Journal: Published weekly, covers business news
Daily Journal of Commerce: Published weekly, covers business news
Open Spaces: Published quarterly, covers society, culture, environment and the arts
The Mid-county Memo: Neighborhood monthly paper serving the Gateway and Parkrose neighborhoods.
Conventions & Tourism
General Contact Information Portland Oregon Visitors Association 1000 SW Broadway, Ste 2300 Portland, OR 97205 Phone: 503-275-9750, 800-962-3700 Fax: 503-275-9284 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.travelportland.com/ Visitor Information Center Portland Oregon Information Center Walk-in Visitors 701 SW Sixth Ave at Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland Hours: Mon-Fri 8:30am-5:30pm, Sat 10am-4pm Phone: 503-275-8355, 877-678-5263 Mayor's Office 1221 SW 4th Ave, Ste 340 Portland, OR 97204 Phone: 503-823-4120 Fax: 503-823-3588
Although tipping is generally a personal matter, there are some guidelines that prove helpful to travelers. At restaurants, servers typically get 15% of the bill, although 10% acknowledges basic assistance, and 20% awards exceptional service. Taxi drivers usually fit into similar guidelines by receiving a tip equivalent to 15% of the tab. Often, a dollar tip covers many situations. The exception is a concierge, who generally receives $5-$10 for standard service (additional assistance suggests more).