Portland is known for a lot of things—Blazers, bougie donuts, mountains of cannabis, coffee shops on every block. Now it can add [checks notes] fishing.
A new report from FishingBooker, a worldwide fishing tourism website, ranks Portland as the sixth best U.S. city to fish in 2019. The report aimed to look outside of small towns where "there's never much to do once the trip is over," and curate a list of the nation's best urban fishing spots.
Portland snagged a top spot for its proximity to the Columbia and Willamette Rivers and dozens of surrounding streams and creeks, where people can fish for salmon, steelhead and sturgeon.
Those wishing to find food in the Willamette, however, should fish at their own risk. For the past couple of decades, Portland's working waterfront has been absorbing toxins like arsenic, mercury, tar and perchlorate. Those chemicals exist in the harbor's sediment, and can be gobbled up by small mud critters, which are then eaten by larger fish.
A 10-mile portion of the river, between the Broadway Bridge and Columbia-Willamette confluence, is deemed a Superfund site by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, meaning hazardous industrial pollutants have made the riverbed unsafe. And in April, the Oregon Health Authority expanded the boundary of where it says people can safely fish on the Willamette, citing increased polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) contamination in fish like bass and carp.
Such dangers do not affect salmon and steelhead, which pass through the Portland Harbor only briefly during their spawning journeys.
That alarming context notwithstanding, FishingBooker's list curators were drawn to Portland's "hipster capital" status and sales tax-free shopping.
According to the website, a perfect fishing trip to Portland starts with "freshly-roasted artisan coffee," and a "bike to explore the arty streets and boutique shops of the Mississippi Neighborhood."
"Eat something strange and delicious from a colorful food cart and wash it down with a craft beer from the city's famous microbreweries," the survey reads. "Oh, and make sure to take advantage of the complete lack of sales tax while you're in town!"
Cities that ranked above Portland as top fisher-people destinations included Boston, Charleston and San Francisco.
But FishingBooker may have forgotten Portland's newest appeal: fishing abandoned e-scooters out of the river.