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Portland, Tennessee

Portland is a city in Sumner and Robertson counties in Tennessee. The population was 11,486 in 2010 according estimates by the U.S. census bureau and in 2018 the population was 12,823.[2] Portland is a part of the Nashville Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Portland, Tennessee
Portland City Hall
Portland City Hall
Location of Portland in Robertson County, Tennessee.
Location of Portland in Robertson County, Tennessee.
Coordinates: 36°34′57″N 86°30′57″W / 36.58250°N 86.51583°W / 36.58250; -86.51583Coordinates: 36°34′57″N 86°30′57″W / 36.58250°N 86.51583°W / 36.58250; -86.51583
CountryUnited States
 • MayorMike Callis
 • Vice MayorJohn Kerley
 • Total11.4 sq mi (29.6 km2)
 • Land11.4 sq mi (29.6 km2)
 • Water0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
818 ft (249 m)
 • Total11,480
 • Estimate 
 • Density961/sq mi (285.6/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)615
FIPS code47-60280[3]
GNIS feature ID1298281[4]


Portland is located on the Highland Rim in extreme northern Middle Tennessee. This region has always been known for excellent agricultural soils, a spectacular wildlife environment and an enjoyable climate.

People were originally attracted from the tobacco belt in Virginia and the Carolinas to the Highland Rim for land speculation and production of dark tobacco. The Highland Rim offered ideal climate and soil conditions for growing dark tobacco. This lucrative crop increased the value of the land, which benefited land speculators in the area. Eventually these speculators moved on to attempt profits elsewhere. The farmers, however, remained.

The oldest local settlement in Portland is Fountain Head, which is located a couple of miles south of Portland. This settlement was founded 1792 by the James Gwin family. Within a century, it grew to include a mill, tobacco factory, post office, a Louisville and Nashville Railroad depot, and a number of local retail stores.

William Nolan built a school near Shun Pike in what is now Portland. This stimulated community growth. Portland was originally called Richland. In 1859, the L&N Railroad opened the Nashville-Bowling Green route through Portland. In the same year, a train depot was built in Richland along the railroad on property owned by Thomas Buntin. Buntin was appointed as the depot’s first agent and later became Richland’s first postmaster. The depot stimulated development in the village. Even today, the railroad runs directly through the center of town.

The first public high school in Sumner County was originally started as a seminary in 1874. It was later named Sumner County High School and opened in 1915.

In 1887, there were two towns in Tennessee named Richland. Officials of the L&N railroad were worried that a telegraph mix-up might result in a train wreck. Postal customers complained of inconvenience as mail was frequently misdirected between the two Richlands. The Railroad administrators and postal authorities decided that Richland in Sumner County would be renamed as Portland to avoid this confusion. The new name was effective on April 10, 1888. Portland was incorporated in April 1904 by legislation passed by the Tennessee Assembly.

In the second decade of the 21st century, Portland is growing at a fast pace buoyed by the growth of the Nashville Metropolitan Area. Daido America operates its US headquarters in Portland. Companies such as Kyowa America and Unipres have manufacturing plants in the city as well.[6]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.4 square miles (30 km2), of which, 11.4 square miles (30 km2) is land and 0.09% is water.

Portland is the northern terminus of U.S. Bicycle Route 23.


Portland is the strawberry capital of Tennessee.[7]

Portland, Tennessee Business District


Census Pop.
Est. 201812,823[2]11.7%

2010 Census dataEdit

As of the 2010 Census Portland had a population of 11,480. It had a racial and ethnic composition of 90.5% non-Hispanic white, 3.5% black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.1% non-Hispanic from some other race, 1.7% two or more races, and 3.9% Hispanic or Latino.[10]

2000 Census dataEdit

As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 8,458 people, 3,226 households, and 2,377 families residing in the city. The population density was 739.7 people per square mile (285.7/km²). There were 3,502 housing units at an average density of 306.3 per square mile (118.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.53% White, 2.70% African American, 0.33% Native American, 0.19% Asian, 1.40% from other races, and 0.86% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.29% of the population.

There were 3,226 households out of which 38.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.1% were married couples living together, 12.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.3% were non-families. 21.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the city, the population was 28.1% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 31.6% from 25 to 44, 18.6% from 45 to 64, and 11.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.1 males. The median income for a household in the city was $35,644, and the median income for a family was $40,786. Males had a median income of $30,550 versus $21,875 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,559. About 6.7% of families and 10.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.7% of those under age 18 and 14.1% of those age 65 or over.

Notable peopleEdit

  • Corey Brewer, born and raised in Portland; current NBA basketball player
  • Ronnie McDowell, born and raised in Portland, country music star

Nearby communitiesEdit


  1. ^ a b Pat Meguiar, History of Portland, Portland city website. Retrieved: 24 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved August 2, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  6. ^ "Unipres expansion in Portland", 24 February 2015Area Development
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Census of Population and Housing: Decennial Censuses". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
  9. ^ "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Resident Population Estimates: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 11 June 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  10. ^ 2010 general profile of population and housing characteristics for Portland from the US Census

External linksEdit