According to Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, the Women and Women First Bookstore scenes are actually shot at the very same non-profit bookstore that inspired the characters. The store, called In Other Words, was filmed mostly as-is, without any additional set dressing. In Other Words eventually ended their relationship with Portlandia for two stated reasons: the production's fees to close the store for filming didn't make up for sales lost on a given day, and the characters of Toni and Candace were seen by the staff as transphobic.
The recurring role of the mayor of Portland is played by actor Kyle MacLachlan, while the role of the mayor's assistant is played by Sam Adams. Adams was the actual mayor of Portland when Portlandia started filming (he served as mayor from January 2009 to December 2012).
Most of the dialogue spoken by Kumail Nanjiani is also written and/or improvised by him.
The name for the show is taken from the statue seen in the opening credits. Portlandia is the second largest copper repoussé statue in the US, next to the Statue of Liberty.
In early 2012, the premiere of season two was kicked off with a series of live stage shows called Portlandia: The Tour. Stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein appeared at concert venues in major US cities where they performed sketches, played songs and showcased clips from the upcoming episodes. The cities on the tour included San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, New York, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Seattle and, of course, Portland.
Portlandia (2011) was nominated for the 2018 Emmy Award in the Outstanding Variety Sketch Series category, but lost to Saturday Night Live (1975).
Carrie Brownstein was nominated for the 2018 Emmy Award in the Outstanding Directing For A Variety Series category for Portlandia (2011), but lost to Don Roy King for Saturday Night Live (1975).
Carrie Brownstein revealed during the 2012 Portlandia tour that Catherine E. Coulson has been sought several times for roles in the second season of the series. Coulson was eventually booked for an episode; even though she was a local actress, she was extremely busy with various regional theater commitments.