Downtown Portland is a nondescript city with an abysmal traffic at rush hour (single lanes out of the city, anyone?).
Its square parks remind me of Montreal or Quebec City and its fairly dense, low high-rises remind me of San Francisco.
Powell's books is fairly non-descript, but large. It is what World's Biggest Bookstore would've been. It also has a lot of independent cinemas for the population it holds.
One thing it has going for it is its tri-transport system of streetcars, buses and light rail. BUT I first went downtown the second day that the city had installed bike rentals all over. The program had been a long time coming because city didn't want taxpayer money to fund it, and they were waiting for a funder. Then Nike did.