Where We Live: How Portland got its name

Portland could have had a very different name if it weren't for the flip of a coin

The area that was once known as The Clearing is now known as Portland (KOIN)
The area that was once known as The Clearing is now known as Portland (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — If it weren’t for the flip of a coin in 1845, Portland could have been called Boston.

The two founders of the city, Francis Pettygrove and Asa Lovejoy, each wanted the city named after their respective hometowns. Pettygrove was from Portland, Maine and Lovejoy hailed from Boston, Massachusetts.

So the pair made a deal – whoever got the most heads in three flips get to name the city, then known as The Clearing. Pettygrove flipped and got two heads, leaving the city with a name it would forever have.

The penny used in the flip, now known as the Portland Penny, is preserved at the Oregon Historical Society.

Tune in to KOIN 6 on Monday mornings to watch Where We Live with Ken Boddie. 

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