Portland, Oregon, primarily located in Multnomah County, became a city in 1851. The city, originated at the intersection of the Willamette and Columbia rivers, and grew rapidly. Today the metro area is culturally and developmentally progressive with strong land use planning controls. Statewide, land conservation policies, instituted in 1973, set urban growth boundaries for all cities and metropolitan areas. In 2006 Portland was ranked number 1 out of 50 US cities by SustainLane for quality of life and personal economic sustainability factors.
Portland is also known as “The City of Roses” because of the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park and the many personal and public rose gardens scattered in and around the city. Along with roses, the Urban Greenspaces Institute supports integration with man-made and natural environments. Work includes urban parks, trails and other planning issues at local and regional levels.
Many diverse artists and performing and visual arts organizations call Portland home. These include the Oregon Ballet Theatre, Oregon Symphony, Portland Center Stage, and the Portland Opera. The Portland Art Museum presents a variety of touring exhibitions each year and has an impressive permanent collection. The Pearl and the Alberta Arts District, the Portland Art Center, Disjecta and Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) are just some of the other major areas of art and artists. Portland is a center for excellent dining, shopping and is well known for their microbrew revolution in the early 1980's.