Portland State U. Ties Its Fortunes to Those of Its Quirky City

Portland State U. Ties Its Fortunes to Those of Its Quirky City 2

Leah Nash for The Chronicle

Wim Wiewel, president of Portland State U., poses at the campus's Urban Plaza, a transit hub for the city.

People who observe the history of Portland say that it is the land of small things: tiny firms, quirky start-up businesses, a compact city, small landholdings, microbrews. As higher education goes, Portland has historically been a bit undersized, too. While cities like Minneapolis or Austin have huge flagship universities in or just outside their urban cores, driving culture and commerce there, Portland for many years merely had a commuter college: Portland State University.