PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland is home to a wild assortment of people with delightfully original ideas. But one thing that isn’t original is the city’s unofficial motto.
The phrase ‘Keep Portland Weird,’ it turns out, has Texas roots and one man is to thank for its migration to Oregon.
Terry Currier, who owns a record store on Burnside called Music Millennium, told KOIN 6 News he was brainstorming a campaign to support local businesses in the city back in the early 2000s when inspiration didn’t dawn on him so much as it was given to him.
“One day, I was talking to my friend who had a record store in Austin, Texas,” said Currier.
That friend told him how someone had come up with the slogan ‘Keep Austin Weird.’
Currier loved it. So much so that he went to work spreading the slogan using a method that proved to be quite effective.
“I made like 500 bumper stickers that said ‘Keep Portland Weird,'” Currier said. “And I made 500 bumper stickers that said ‘Keep Portland Weird – Support Local Business.'”
Currier launched his bumper stickers in 2003, then ran a picture of the sticker in a local newspaper. The rest is history.
Today, the expression can be found on everything from posters to coffee mugs to clothing. It’s even used by Travel Portland.
It’s important to note that Portland’s official slogan is “The City That Works.”
Austin may have been the first to coin the “weird” motto but Portland certainly wasn’t the only city to borrow it.
Louisville, Kentucky and Asheville, North Carolina have also adopted the slogan. But the question remains: which city is the weirdest?
Currier thinks the answer is clear.
“Austin is unique, but I think Portland’s weirder.”