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Portland Quotes

Portland Quotes:  If you are looking for quotes and quirky notes about Portland, Oregon you've come to the right place.  Portland is a strange and lovely place, indeed- and as such, expect nothing short of random weirdness in terms of our place in the literary and political world.  We have assembled a list of our favorite Portland quotes and will continue to add more as we come across them. Feel free to send your favorite Portland Oregon quotes for inclusion as well!

The first is by far the best Portland quote:

"We want you to visit our State of Excitement often. Come again and again. But for heaven's sake, don't move here to live. Or if you do have to move in to live, don't tell any of your neighbors where you are going." Governor Tom McCall, 1971 interview

Political Portland Quotes

As long as the sun rises over Ontario and sets over the Pacific, I will dedicate myself to bringing the people of Oregon what they want and need most - an era of hope, change, and economic renewal. Ted Kulongoski, 2003, Inaugural Address


Mr. Chairman, when Oregonians first adopted the Death With Dignity Act and then defended it on a second ballot initiative, they sent their government a clear message. When the American people resisted government interference in the tragic case of Terri Schiavo, they sent their government a clear message. That message is that death is an intensely personal and private moment, and in those moments, the government ought to leave well enough alone. Ron Wyden, 2006

Too many Oregonians know the heartbreak of a jobless economic recovery. To create new, high-paying jobs, we need investment in Main Street as well as Wall Street. David Wu, 2004


Today, I honor the memory of those brave settlers of Oregon, and pay tribute, as well, to the native Americans already inhabiting this land before pioneers like my great-great-grandparents arrived here in the mid-1800’s. Such dreams those pioneers had for this territory. Some instinct drew them here, a fate a pulling, a desire for deep and lasting change in their lives. They embraced that change. They sought it out. Theirs was a quest for new horizons, for new beginnings. For a new homeland. They rode. They walked. They staved. They forge. And they died. But they kept their eyes westward. They gave us Oregon.
Barbara Roberts, 1991 Inaugural Message


Historical Portland Quotes

The historical Portland quotes are of great interest as they allow us a look at Oregon shortly after it was founded by the US.  Oregon has changed in so many ways since but is also eerily the same, too.

This is destined to be a very wealthy portion of the United States, and, if to this we can add the most temperate, nothing will prevent our rising, and becoming a valuable acquisition to the union. Much power now lies in your hands, and, I sincerely hope, we may commence our new career with a law in our statute books, prohibiting the manufacture and sale of ardent spirits in Oregon territory. George Abernethy, 1849, Legislative Message

To the Legislative Assembly belongs the consideration of measures which may best tend to the development of the resources of the Territory. Oregon possesses within herself many of these, which with enterprise and industry will most surely render her a wealthy, powerful, and prosperous State. She has a fertile soil, and genial climate; she has [vast] forests and abundant fisheries, unlimited water power, pastures upon which even during winter, innumerable flocks and herds can subsist, with no other care than the mere herding; and prairies which could with only moderate labor, furnish the whole of our Pacific Territories with bread.
John P. Gaines, 1852, Legislative Message

When the history of Oregon comes to be written the mind of the historian will be impressed by the earnestness and sincerity of character—the unobtrusive, unostentatious conduct of those who formed its population from the first reclaiming of the wilderness—the pioneer epoch—to the more refined advancement into social and political existence. George Law Curry, 1857, Legislative Message

A great system of internal improvement is being inaugurated in our midst, which fostered and encouraged, as it should be, will make Oregon, in the not distant future, one of the finest and most prosperous States in the Republic.
George L. Woods, 1870, Governor's Message

It must be remembered that our State is but in its infancy. That its population is small, and its material wealth is very limited. That notwithstanding it embraces within its boundaries a large area of territory, which includes extensive districts of productive lands, valuable mines of coal, iron, and precious metals, vast quantities of timber, broad rivers, innumerable bays, harbors, and inlets, abounding in fish of the choicest kind sufficient to supply the markets of the world, yet its resources are comparatively undeveloped. And that while it possesses all the elements of grandeur and magnificence, its greatness can not be successfully achieved without the benefit of a well regulated government, whose foundation is laid upon the broad principles of honesty, economy, and justice. W. W. Thayer, 1880, Biennial Message

Never before in the history of our State have Oregonians had so much to be congratulated upon. No State in the Union is receiving more attention. Her agricultural products, her mild climate, her great natural resources, invite the immigrant, the capitalist and the pleasure seeker, while the sound basis upon which rest her finances, and the fact that within two years her taxable property has increased more than ten millions of dollars, clearly indicate that the State, in the face of a general business depression throughout the land, is in no danger of deterioration of decay. Z. F. Moody, 1885, Biennial Message

When we were over the bar we found this to be a large river of fresh water up which we steered. Many canoes came alongside. At 1:00 P.M. came to with the small bower, in ten fathoms, black and white sand. …people employed in pumping the salt water out of our water-caskets in order to fill with fresh, while the ship floated in. So ends.
Gray sails the Columbia River, Capt. Gray's journal entry after entering the Columbia River, later naming it after his ship.

Other Portland Quotes


We'll be the hardest-hitting football team on the West Coast. Those who don't want to hit people, we'll help them transfer.
Jerry Glanville, head football coach of the Portland State Vikings

That's swell. I like ya, Lloyd. I always liked ya. You were always the best of 'em. Best god-damn bartender from Timbuktu to Portland, Maine - or Portland, Oregon for that matter. Jack Torrance, played by Jack Nicholson in The Shining

Other great rivers add power to you
Yakima, Snake, and the Klickitat, too
Sandy, Willamette and Hood River too
So roll on, Columbia, roll on
Woody Guthrie, "Roll on Columbia" (1941)

We hope you enjoyed this list of Portland quotes.  More Portland Quotes can be found at Wikipedia.  Wikipedia was a reference source for several of these quotes.  We also have a great collection of Portland Trivia.

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