The name of Portland’s best known art district, The Pearl, suggests urban legend. Perhaps an oyster canning factory once sat amidst the aging warehouses, or Chinese seafarers hid pearls beneath cobble stoned Twelfth Street. Whatever the origin, there’s the suggestion of both beauty and ugliness in the nameâ€”an elegant gem nestled in a drab, rough shell. The story goes like this: A local gallery owner coined the phrase years ago to suggest that the buildings in the warehouse district were like crusty oysters, and that the galleries and artists’ lofts within were like pearls. As local business people were looking to label the growing areaâ€”the “warehouse district” or the “brewery district” were two suggestionsâ€”a travel writer borrowed the phrase and the name stuck. Today the Pearl District is an award-winning, internationally recognized leader in urban renewal.Â Often considered the â€œgold standardâ€ of live, work and play mixed-use space, the Pearl District is a superb affirmation that a miraculous quality of life can rise from the ashes of urban decay.