City Flower
City Flower

City of Roses

portland city of rosesStumptown, PDX, Ptown, Bridgetown, and 503 are all nicknames that refer to Portland. However, the most popular nickname is the City of Roses which became the official nickname of Portland in 2003. Portland is known as the City of Roses for a few different reasons. The first of these came during the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition and the suggestion of having a festival of roses. In 1907, the first Rose Festival was held in Portland. Portland also got this nickname from the founder of Oregon Life Insurance Company, Leo Samuel. Samuel planted roses in the garden outside of his home. He put a pair of shears by his garden so people could take a rose with them and plant their own gardens. The final reason for this nickname is due to the climate in Portland. The climate in Portland is so conducive to growing roses that there is an International Rose Test Garden located within the city.

Each year Portland hosts the Portland Rose Festival, which has been named by the International Festivals and Events Association as one of the Best Festivals in the World. This event hosts three parades and many different events to help promote Portland. These include tours, concerts, races and fireworks.

City Flower

Most residents of Portland, if asked, would name the rose as the Portland city flower, consider "The City of Roses" as an official city name, and would be surprised to know that no City Council Resolution has ever been passed to make it so.

Charles Paul Keyser (Portland Parks Superintendent 1917-1950) stated that Portland was "christened the City of Roses by visitors to an Episcopal Church convention which was held in the city in 1888 when the Portland Rose Society was formed. In 1889 Portland's first annual Rose Show was held and from 1904 through 1906 the Portland Rose Society sponsored a Fiesta along with its annual rose show.

In a 1905 address at the Lewis and Clark Exposition, Mayor Harry Lane suggested that Portland needed a "festival of roses." Two years later, in 1907, the first Rose Festival was held.

It seems that the City Council believes that the title "City of Roses" is well enough established not to need its own Resolution. The Resolutions establishing both the City Bird (Great Blue Heron) and the City Song (Portlandia) begin with the words: "WHEREAS, Portland, the City of Roses..."