Keep Portland Weird- No Mosquitoes

Portland has a slogan that says, “Keep Portland Weird” and you will see it around the city on bumper stickers, t-shirts and even murals on buildings. Based on what I have read, it was created to try and help local businesses thrive by bringing people into the city to eat and shop. In spite of why the slogan was created (or stolen as residents of Austin,TX might say) it has also created conversation within the city about what or who is weird or unusual. One example of this is the Naked Bike Ride, an annual event that finds itself receiving national news coverage because of the large number of participants and the general wackiness of the event.

When I reference things that I find “weird” it may also include oddities or differences to my lifestyle living in the Twin Cities. This week I have another weird observation of my new home. I'm calling this phenomenon phantom mosquitos.

Portland, Oregon is known to NOT have mosquitoes. If you talk to a native Portlander about the lack of mosquitoes they will struggle to remember times when they have ever been bitten by a mosquito. When we talked to our landlady about it she could remember having a couple of mosquito bites in her life (she's in her sixties). This was a pretty exciting perk of living in the city and I finally feel like I can sit outside during the evening and truly enjoy any event without having to spray on a thick layer of stinky mosquito spray. Here's where it gets weird. Each time I sit outside in the evening I start swatting my legs and arms out of habit. I'm sure it looks strange to those around me, but it's almost like my brain has a mosquito timer and at the moment I would normally start being bothered by mosquitoes in Minnesota, my arms start swatting and my legs start jumping. There are no mosquitoes or other bugs around but my mind is convinced I am being bitten. I'm wondering how long it will take for my brain to reset and let go of the “phantom mosquito” memories it has from Minnesota. I may swat at them for awhile, but I'll still enjoy knowing they aren't really there. It's weird but wonderfulโ€”one more reason I love my new city, Portland, OR.

10 comments to Keep Portland Weird- No Mosquitoes

  • Rachel

    Funny! I am moving to Salem next week from St. Paul and found this by googling “Does Oregon have mosquitos?” I’ll try to keep my swatting reflex under control!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • kimberly

      Rachel, Good luck on your move next week! I think you’ll find that not having to deal with mosquitos will be “life changing.” ๐Ÿ™‚ I haven’t visited Salem yet and seeing as it’s our state capital, it’s on my OR bucket list to visit. If you uncover any fun adventures please let me know.

    • Trish

      Hello, I just have to share because it’s too funny not to……I stumbled across this page by typing in “Does Oregon have mosquitos? ” as well!! I am from Central Minnesota!! I am beyond excited to find that there are actually places that have no/very few mosquitos! Just researching the perfect place to move to…. would be thrilled to hear more about anyone’s experiences/adventures in moving to OR!! Sounds like a wonderful place to be! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • kimberly

        Trisha, Oregon is amazing. I warn all of my MN visitors that vacationing here may entice them to move here. It’s the best decision we’ve made! Come for a visit, you will love it.

  • We just moved last week from DC Metro to Portland, and camped in Minnesota on our drive across country. The worst mosquitoes of the trip were a toss-up between the birds of prey of Yellowstone and the flying/swarming piranhas of Minnesota.

    But the utter lack of bugs here in Portland has been a godsend, as DC (which, if you know your history, was built on a swamp) was buggy as all heck as well.

    • kimberly

      Tad, Welcome to Portland! Sounds like you were due some bug free living after living in DC. If you get a chance check out some of the local, outdoor music concerts going on over the next couple of months. It’s a whole new experience for me to enjoy outdoor, evening concerts without fear of being eaten alive by mosquitos. I wish you and yours all the best as you start exploring your new home.

  • Nan

    My husband and I are coming to Salem to look at homes. We live in San Dieog, CA and it has gotten so crowed and expensive it has taken the homey feeling right away. Not many bugs where we live but the fresh air is not in abundance anymore, not to mention we are not getting rain as we did in the years past. It is also getting more humid then it ever has and not seeing a break. I would love to be in more of a family orientated city. It certainly is not here. If anyone has any input on Oregon please let me know, any and all information is would be really helpful. Thank you my friends…

    • kimberly

      Good luck and have fun as you explore Salem for homes. My husband and I have only been in Portland since 2013 but we LOVE it and it feels more and more like home with each passing month. Just last week I was telling a friend that one of the things I love about this state is how friendly everyone is. I hope your visit is successful and you feel the Oregon love while you are here.

    • Rachel

      Hi Nan,
      My family moved to Salem last year! If you need any tips on being a newcomer here, feel free to get in touch! My email is and I’d be happy to try to answer any questions ๐Ÿ™‚ So far, we love it here!

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