Special Report: What makes Portland weird?

Special Report: What makes Portland weird? »Play Video

You've seen the slogan "Keep Portland Weird," but around here, it's more than a bumper sticker, it's a way of life.  In a series of special reports, KATU's Anita Kissee introduces us to some of the interesting and weird people, places, things and events that you won't see anywhere else but right here in Portland. 

WEEK 1 - The People

WEEK 2 - The Places

WEEK 3 - The Events

WEEK 4 - The Things

Got ideas of your own about what's weird in Portland?
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That's no lady - that's Darcelle!  Portland's most famous drag queen has been entertaining audiences for 40 years with her, er his, gender-bending cabaret. His real name is Walter Cole and he is Old Town's favorite cross dressing entertainer.  You can catch him four nights a week!

The Owners of Voodoo Doughnuts

"The magic is in the hole!"  Without ever having made doughnuts before, Tres Shannon and 'Cat Daddy' Pogson have created a local doughnut empire with Voodoo Doughnuts.  Their world-famous Bacon Maple Bars, Grape Apes and Cereal-Topped Doughnuts have a cult following. 

The Elvis Impersonator

He may not look like Elvis, but that's because John Schroder says he's more of a sound-a-like than a look-a-like.  This 'King' is probably Portland's most famous street performer.  He's belted out famous tunes everywhere from Saturday Market to Dante's.


Step inside Portland's world-famous museum of velvet paintings, The Velveteria.  Owners, Carl Baldwin and Caren Anderson dipped into their collection of 1,600 works of art to pay tribute to this often misunderstood medium.

The Woodstock Mystery Hole

Take an adventure down into the world-famous Woodstock Mystery Hole.  It's a small hole, with a huge imagination, where you'll discover strange inscriptions, eerie tunnels and "The Door That's Never Been Opened."

Powell's City of Books - The Big Secret

The City of Books boasts about being the world's largest new and used bookstore, but it's got a lot of other secrets hiding among the 1 million books - including one that might make you say, 'That's gross!"

Mount Tabor Soap Box Derby

It's a race to the bottom, but this soap box derby is pure Portland ingenuity.  It's as much about speed as crowd-pleasing creativity.


Naked Bike Ride

Biking in the buff - Portlanders love to do it, so we thought we'd take a look at the World Naked Bike Ride, the largest of which is right here in the Rose City.

Urban Golf

Leave the stuffy country club and strict rules behind.  Urban golf players step off the green and into the street to play this unusual game measured not by yards, but by city blocks.

Art Cars

You've probably seen these cars around Portland and had to do a double take.  The stories that inspired these moving works of art... Art cars.

March Fourth Marching Band

This is not your high school marching band.  It's so much cooler!  Check out one of March Fourth's spectacles and see how Portland's favorite band came to be.

"Keep Portland Weird" Bumper Stickers

"Keep Portland Weird" is more than a bumper sticker around here... It's a way of life.  But that doesn't mean you can't stick on some weird pride.  The concept behind the slogan.