Cobie Smulders’ New Show Stumptown May Have Picked The Wrong Portland Nickname

Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
In the era of peak TV, it is difficult for shows with familiar subjects, like detective work and medicine, to stand out. One way to ensure viewers tune in to see what a show is about is to give the series a recognizable and memorable title. The creators of ABC’s new drama Stumptown have certainly succeeded in that department. Seriously, who (aside from Portland natives, of course) heard the name Stumptown and didn’t take a second to wonder the meaning behind that name. Well, Stumptown is actually a nickname for Portland, Oregon. Here is a quick history lesson on how the town (and consequently the show) acquired this moniker.  
Advertisement
According to The Oregonian, the term “Stumptown” emerged around the mid-1800s when the city experienced a period of rapid growth. The land had to be cleared for the abundance of new travelers, but there were too many trees in the area. So, the people of Portland cut down the trees, but they didn’t remove the stumps because it is much more strenuous to pull a tree up from its roots than chop it close to the base. Thus, the name Stumptown was born. Some of the townspeople event painted the stumps so they could be more easily recognized. The Oregon History Project states (and shows pictures!) that to cross the recently surveyed land visitors and natives had to“skirt logs and climb over brush” to avoid the swampy, muddy roads. 
Besides Stumptown, the city of Portland also has a few other (more appealing) names. Other labels for the West Coast city include City of Roses, Beervana, and Rip City in connection to the NBA team the Portland Trailblazers. There was probably a missed opportunity in naming this show Beervana considering the amount of time Cobie Smulders' protagonist spends in bars, but Stumptown will have to do.
Surprisingly, Stumptown is actually a popular name for cities and communities around the country in places like Indiana, Virginia, and West Virginia. But the one this show refers to is definitely in Oregon (even though part the pilot was filmed in Canada).
Avid coffee drinkers might have also heard the name Stumptown before. Retailer Stumptown Coffee Roasters (which is owned by Peet’s Coffee) originated from the city and the brand has other cafe locations around the country. This company has nothing to do with the show but we wouldn’t be surprised if the characters are seen holding a cup of coffee with Stumptown Coffee Roasters’ logo because that advertising opportunity should not be wasted. 
Smulders (Spider-Man: Far From Home, Friends From College) stars in this ABC crime drama as a military veteran named Dex Parios who works as a private detective to solve cases the police can’t touch. Stumptown is also based on graphic novels of the same name first published in 2009. The series also stars Jake Johnson (New Girl), Michael Ealy (Being Mary Jane), and Camryn Manheim (The Magicians). 
If the Stumptown trailers are anything to go by, the show will capitalize on its location by showing the beautiful Portland skyline whenever possible. But, someone needs to actually say the name “Stumptown” in this series, or we’ll be highly disappointed. You can watch Stumptown on Wednesday nights on ABC. 

More from TV

R29 Original Series

Advertisement