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1) Portlander or Portlandian (both terms are used by locals) are nicknames for someone who is either from Portland, living in Portland, and/or behaves in same way of what is considered a Portland-originated behavior.

The truth, however, is that these traits are in fact common to other towns and cultures.

Specialized Interests

Though often comically regarded as high-maintenance and/or needy. The truth about Portlandians, is that they live a highly specialized existence. This could present itself in their food and alcohol interests, but also wax into political views. Though Portlandians tend to voicing these preferences, it is by no means a plea for help. They simply have a set of views, and feel no issue with voice and/or demanding them.

The articulation of ideas is also extremely important. It's not enough to have a big idea, but to be able to explain it in specifics. Big ideas are always preferred as grounded actions.


Big Idea: Portland Coffee is better.

Portlandian translation: Portland coffee roasting companies use smaller batches to get a richer flavor in coffee beans.

Second Degree Confrontation

Generally when there is a social conflict between two people it is uncommon to be resolved in person. The bulk of interpersonal problems occur within one degree of separation, that is, with someone else who knows both people. Though in other parts of the U.S. this is thought of as a passive aggressive tactic in an effort to manipulate those thought to be social enemies. The truth is much more complex. Though there is always a low-level effort to undermine opponents, there is also a need to check-in with others to verify the conflict to be genuine. Conflicts and disagreements are voiced with others to check the legitimacy of the complaint. Tip to newbie: Make effort to appear as if you're listening. Nod, and then forget you heard it.

Slow Restaurant Service

This is mentioned also in the taboo section. Due to a number of reasons, table service has been criticized as being slow. This is often compared to by the occasional tourist and newbie. It is possible that this is compared to other urban areas such as Manhattan, and San Francisco. Most of the time, it is because the server is given to many tables to serve quickly which translates to slower service.

Small World

A common phrase a newbie might hear on occasion which on the surface means that everyone knows everyone, and therefore has a powerful complex social system. It should also be mentioned that there is a second part to the phrase that is unspoken. The full phrase being -- It's a small world, and you're not a part of it. It is usually uttered by a local when the newbie is discovered in their presence.

In case the goal is to attempt deception in an effort to hide ones newbie-status, the best response to this is to agree enthusiastically and proceed to cite a local's name as quickly as possible.

Keep Portland Weird

Anthem of civic pride: Keeping Portland Weird A common phrase that is uttered with some religious faith by Portlandians. Though the literal meaning is a plea for Portland to remain esoteric and unique. There is a deeper meaning to it, which is a reaction to recent changes to culture and urban development thought to be caused by increased inflow of immigrants.

The thought toward the newbie is that Portland's local originated views should be dominant compared to other sensibilities thought to be new/foreign

Aggressively Casual Dress Code

Though to some this is considered to be an oxymoron, the truth is the casual fashion that appears in areas outside of the dense urbanized district of SW Portland Metro is socially unforced. Here are a couple of identifiable traits

Unisex Attire

  • visible tattoos
  • dreadlocks (on non-African Americans)
  • T-shirts
  • shorts
  • Belly (positioned to hang over belt buckle)
  • Sandals
  • kilt

Typically women-only attire

  • miniskirts
  • fishnet patterned hosiery

Business Attire

  • Casual Business Attire - buttoned shirt, jeans & sneakers
  • Formal Business Attire - Buttoned shirt, khakis, & dress shoes

Taboo Attire

  • Business suit
  • Business Slacks
  • Tie
  • Expensive dress shoes

Note: it's not uncommon to see "taboo attire" worn in a few very specific areas of Downtown, for example near the Multnomah County Courthouse, Portland Building, Portland City Hall, and the nearby banks and credit unions.

2) 'Portlandians' is also the name of a podcast featuring actual Portlandians in their natural habitat.[1] 'Portlandians' the podcast began in March of 2011, in small part as a response to the depiction of Portlandians by the IFC show, 'Portlandia'. Created and hosted by (Portland musician & photographer) Samson Davis, the podcast is described as, "a filthy little podcast about music...comedy...revolution" & can be heard at the following sites:

3) portlandian (pört′land·ē·ən): (geology) A European geologic stage of the Upper Jurassic, above Kimmeridgian, below Berriasian of Cretaceous.


  1. 'portlandians' - a filthy little podcast about music…comedy…revolution