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Portland’s street pronunciation guide

Get to know the local lingo

Heavily-traveled bridge going over Willamette River in Portland.

Marquam Bridge, which carries I-5, is the busiest bridge in Oregon, carrying more than 140,000 cars per day (as of 2016).

Photo via Cacophony

There are three things that Portlanders hold dear:

  1. The amount of breweries in our city.
  2. Not letting the rain get to us (or at least pretending not to).
  3. Pronouncing puzzling street names with aplomb.

For anyone who’s confused on that last one — Google Maps, we’re looking at you — this pronunciation guide will help steer you in the right direction and give you some background.

Couch: COOCH

This is no pronunciation to slouch about. Named after a ship captain from Massachusetts who sailed to Oregon, knowing how to say this street in the Alphabet District is often a weird rite of passage in Portland.

A chihuahua on a torn up couch

Resist the urge to call it “Couch Street.”

Photo via Giphy

Deschutes: de-SHOOTS

Whether you’re heading to get a beer in the Pearl District, or planning on rafting the river in Central Oregon, understand this word is rooted in the region’s fur trapping history.

Glisan: GLISS-en

Oof — sometimes it’s tough to do, but as one that Portlanders love to correct people on, it turns out we were all wrong. Although “GLEE-son” is the widely-accepted utterance, Sally Glisan, a descendant of the street’s namesake, set the record straight.

Marquam: MARK-um

Named after a settleras most things are in the PNW — you should avoid the traditional “qu” sound to avoid any questioning looks.

Schuyler: SKY-ler

Phillip C. Schuyler, noted 19th-century lover of the arts, gives this roadway its name. If you have a hard time remembering this, just look up.

Weidler: WIDE-ler

Give those “WEED-ler” pronunciations a wide berth, and you’ll be good to go with this famed transportation magnate.

Willamette: will-LAM-it

The river. The valley. The boulevard. All the same, and should never rhyme with “Betty.”

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