View Full Version : Portland, OR To Lose a Bit of its Weirdness

Jim Koepke
03-10-2018, 1:09 PM
In various places around Portland, Oregon are signs saying, "Keep Portland Weird."

One feature in a part of the southwestern section of town has an addressing weirdness. Portland is divided into five sections. The street signs have NW, N, NE, SW & SE before the street names depending on the part of Portland one is in. Some of the streets continue through two or three sectants of the city and the designation changes along with the addressing.

One section in SW Portland had a problem with the address numbers so to make it work when the city was divided many addresses were merely given a leading zero. This made an address such as 0234 SW Bancroft Street a normal occurrence. It is actually the location of a radio station:


This worked out for people until things started to get weird trying to work with the rest of the world and especially computer systems.

If a computer programmer thinks it isn't right, it isn't going to work on a computer. Imagine someone in Portland trying to explain to someone in Bangladesh? that yes there needs to be a zero at the beginning of the street address for a package to be delivered to the right address.

Even more trouble insued with computerized emergency response systems when the computer will not allow a zero at the beginning of an address. Even Google Maps seems to have a problem at times.

It looks like in the near future the solution to the problem will be to redesignate the area to South Portland, creating a new section of the city, then dropping the leading zero.

Is there any other city with addresses starting with a zero?


Wayne Lomman
03-10-2018, 4:12 PM
About 25 years ago, rural addressing in Australia was just too complex for computers. You could have basically any number and we all did, some with zeros in random locations. The system introduced gave every property a number based on its distance from the start of the road. For example if you are 4.35km from the junction, your number is 435. Odd numbers are on the left, evens on the right. If a new house is built, it's number fits between existing numbers. When you see someone's address, you know how far to go to find them.

The system was rolled out pretty quickly. Australia Post contractors tacked a new number to your gate post. The old ones were untouched so that we all.had time to change addresses at our leisure. Most people still have the old number for sentimental reasons. Cheers

Malcolm Schweizer
03-10-2018, 10:00 PM
Our parcels were numbered in the order in which they were built, so 14 Estate Sorgenfrei, for example, is nowhere near 15 Estate Sorgenfrei. When needed, they would also add A, B, C, D to,further complicate things.

Now they are implementing a 911 address system. My house number has been 11 for 180 years, but they changed it to 2111. Of course nobody accepted the new system, so 911 still can't find your hous because none of them have the new numbers.

Michael Weber
03-11-2018, 12:48 PM
The one time we were in Portland the only address my wife was interested in finding was Klickitat Street :)