After Watching CW's "The Flash" I Noticed Something...
I am a big fan of the rebooted TV series. It is beautifully produced with a highly charismatic cast. However whenever they show exterior shots of Central City I began to notice something. Having lived in Portland Oregon for the past 15 years, I see....Portland Oregon. So I looked it up online. Sure enough, nearly every exterior cityscape shot is Portland OR. All scenes with the actual actors is show in Vancouver BC.
In this image we see a sky shot of S.T.A.R. Labs beautifully nestled in Portland Oregon...er...I mean Central City U.S.A. The shots in the show are rather quick however, so I always assumed the building we're seeing is the Moda Center (formerly the Rose Quarter) sports arena. However I know there isn't a hill that close to Moda Center. Plus in the distance I can clearly make out the U.S. Bancorp Tower, and the I-405 bridge, which are both on the opposite side of the Willamette river from the sports arena.
Hunting for the location
Knowing what I observed in the above production still of The Flash, I determined this shot of S.T.A.R. Labs was taken on the Willamette river west bank, and it was further upstream. So I loaded up Google Earth and spent way too much time. However, I found it!
Many of the buildings shown in the production still surrounding S.T.A.R. Labs are actual buildings in Portland OR. The approximate location of S.T.A.R is really a collection of empty lots where nothing stands. Playing around with Google Earth I determined the coordinates for S.T.A.R. are N45°29'42 W122°40'12"
S.T.A.R. Labs is located in the area with the orange circle. Likewise you can see I-5 clearly in both shots. Here are the primary real-life buildings (in the blue squares) surrounding the fictional S.T.A.R. Labs. It should be noted that buildings that are darker shaded were digitally removed from the show.
1. Old Spaghetti Factory - Restaurant. (I've actually eaten at this very one)
2. Grays Landing - Apartments
3. Atwater Place - Condominiums
4. Meriwether East - Condominiums
5. Meriwether West - Condominiums
6. Mirabella Portland - Retirement Community
7. The John Ross - Condominiums
8. Open lots - The fictional location of S.T.A.R. Labs
So there you have it. While it's never specifically stated in the show or comics, Portland Oregon is a strong contender for the location of Central City.