Randy found an article in which the Seattle Times is a bit too hard on its home city. Still, it's a fun read for anyone who lives in Vancouver (like me) or Portland, since it talks about how great our cities are in comparison.
I don't know much about Portland's planning history, but perhaps the best move Vancouver ever made was to reject the creation of downtown freeways in the early '70s. The Georgia Viaduct and the waterfront tower that now headquarters the Vancouver Sun and Province newspapers are the only vestiges of what would have been a city-ruining knot of soulless concrete. I'd like to thank everyone who managed to shut down the plan thirty years ago.
City planners made some smart decisions in the wake of Expo '86 too. Now that the plebiscite for the 2010 Olympics has passed, if those games come here, I hope similar smart decisions get made.
P.S. I love visiting Seattle. The problem is that the low Canadian dollar makes it very expensive, and post-9/11 security makes it tedious to cross the border sometimes. I haven't been there since early 2001.