- Posted May 29, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
City smackdown: Portland
Why Portland Thumps Seattle
PARKS & RECREATION Portland has over 10,000 acres of park space within it's city limits. Compare that to Seattle which only has 6,700. Both Washington and Forest Park feature miles of hiking trails, temperate rain forests and award winning Rose and Japanese Gardens. Downtown Portland also contains plenty of parks and plazas. Keller, Salmon Springs and Jamison Square contain large fountains for kids to play in on hot summer days and adjacent Waterfront Park gives sweeping views of downtown and Mt Hood hosts many concerts and festivities.
TRANSPORTATION Portland has over 56 miles of mass transit that criss-cross the entire metropolitan area via an extensive light rail and streetcar network. Seattle has only 17 mass transit miles that run from the airport to downtown and a dilapidated monorail. Portland is one of the top bicycling cities in America and 5.4% of commuters use bicycle transit. Seattle bicycle commuters are nearly half that at 2.8%.
SKIING & HIKING Portland ski resorts boast the largest night ski area (SkiBowl) in America and the longest ski season in America (Timberline). Seattle resorts have no distinguished titles. The Portland area also boasts hundreds of spectacular waterfalls within close proximity, 77 of which reside in the nearby Columbia Gorge National Scenic area. Portland is also closer to the most famous Volcano in the continental US, Mt St Helens. You'd have to travel twice as far from Seattle.
WINE & FOOD The Portland area is home to hundreds of award winning wineries and is known for it's ability to grow the finicky Pinot Noir. Want world class wineries in Seattle? Try driving over the Cascade Mountains. Portland's proximity to the Willamette Valley, one of the best growing areas in America and the lure of those that travelled on the Oregon Trail, allow it's Summer markets to be full of fresh local produce. Seattle's idea of fresh food is throwing raw fish around at Pikes Place Market.
WATER ACTIVITIES You would think with all the water around Seattle, it would at least excel at this, but what locals won't tell you is that the Puget Sound is a toe-numbing 53 degrees in the summer months and it's lakes are generally too windy for water skiing or wake boarding. Portland sits at the confluence of four major rivers. On any given day you can find kayakers and bird watchers on the slow moving Tualatin, rafters and tubers on the swift moving Clackamas, anglers and skiers on the close-in Willamette, and sunbathers and swimmers on the sandy banks of the mighty Columbia.
WEATHER Portland's highs average 81 degrees in the summer. Seattle averages only 76 degrees, that's barely warm enough to take off the pants! In addition to being warmer, Portland boasts more sunshine hours per year and half the average snowfall of it's colder neighbor to the north.
CULTURE Seattle would like to think itself a more cultured city just because it's bigger, but Portland boasts it's own world-class restaurants and museums that rival anything Seattle has to offer, and it's music scene is just as vibrant. Seattle also lost itself in it's pursuit for international recognition. Whatever unique culture it once had died with Grunge music and was transplanted by corporate America. Portland continues to nurture a unique counter-culture and a vibe all it's own. It's no wonder Seattle is backdrop of a generic melodrama Grey's Anatomy while Portland plays front and center in quirky shows like Portlandia and Grimm.
Seattle Magazine ran an article a couple of years ago encouraging it's artist not to defect to Portland. It's top reason to stay... it has a bigger mountain. Yes, Seattle, you do have a bigger mountain.