UNLESS YOU'RE a desert hermit, incapable of perceiving the outside world, or willfully oblivious, you've probably noticed that Portland is changing. In previous decades this city's identity lay somewhere between "small city" and "very large town." Now there's no denying it: Portland is indeed a city, and it's getting bigger. And in 2025—10 years from now—it's going to be different still. It's not going to stop or pause based on panic or outcry. This evolution is an inevitability, and what follows are some of the best guesses from local experts about what it's all going to look like. (Like it or not.)

All of this assumes, of course, that a gigantic superquake hasn't leveled the Pacific Northwest and turned everything from Redding to Redmond into a Mad Max-ian, apocalyptic hellscape. In the event of seismic catastrophe, tsunami, or a zombie apocalypse, all bets are off.

Bigger Than Seattle?

"You should always be forecasting population growth," says Patrick Quinton, the executive director of the Portland Development Commission (PDC).

That's probably not terribly surprising for a lot of Portlanders to hear, but the data bears out both Quinton's opinion and popular sentiment. Since the mid-'70s, Portland has experienced a steady rise in population. In all likelihood that won't change, except for one thing: Portland of the future will probably be markedly more diverse than the Portland of today.

"Half of school-age children aren't white," says Quinton. "The fastest growing groups in the city are non-white. This means, as a community, we need to get better at integrating."