Portola is a city in Plumas County, California, United States. The population was 2,227 at the 2000 census. Portola is located on the Middle Fork of the Feather River, and was named for Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola (though he never explored this area of the state).
Portola is a crew change site on the Western Pacific Railroad (now Union Pacific Railroad) Feather River Route over the Sierra Nevada mountains. The city is also home to the Western Pacific Railroad Museum (formerly Portola Railroad Museum), one of the largest railroad museum in the Western US. The museum is famous for its Run A Locomotive program, where the public can participate in a "fantasy experience" program allowing them to run a railroad locomotive on the museum grounds.
Portola was in the national media spotlight in 1996-1997 when a conflict occurred between the local community and the Department of Fish and Game over how to deal with an invasive species of Northern Pike in Lake Davis. The lake was chemically treated in 1997 to eradicate the fish, but they reappeared in 1999. In early September 2007, the California Department of Fish and Game plans to eradicate the pike using CFT Legumine, a new liquid formulation of rotenone.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.2 square miles (5.8 km²), all of it land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,227 people, 899 households, and 595 families residing in the city. The population density was 994.6 people per square mile (383.9/km²). There were 1,008 housing units at an average density of 450.2/sq mi (173.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 86.21% White, 0.45% African American, 2.65% Native American, 1.08% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 5.84% from other races, and 3.68% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.81% of the population.
There were 899 households out of which 36.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.2% were married couples living together, 11.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.8% were non-families. 29.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.02.
In the city the population was spread out with 29.5% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 97.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $28,103, and the median income for a family was $35,156. Males had a median income of $32,159 versus $21,157 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,734. About 14.5% of families and 20.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.7% of those under age 18 and 5.4% of those age 65 or over.
In the state legislature Portola is located in the 1st Senate District, represented by Republican Dave Cox, and in the 3rd Assembly District, represented by Republican Dan Logue. Federally, Portola is located in California's 4th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +11 and is represented by Republican Tom McClintock.