darkemeralds: Photo of Downtown Portland, Oregon USA in twilight (Portland)
[personal profile] darkemeralds
One of my most-used tags is "Portland Is Pretty Awesome" because I am constantly writing about this hometown of mine--but usually only as the context of my life. [personal profile] ravurian, in response to the question-a-day meme that's going around, yesterday wrote about his five favorite places in the London area, and it inspired me to take a similar look at Stumptown.

Portland is--well, it's an odd place. And it has gotten stranger and more wonderful in recent years. It would take a discourse on urban planning, transportation policy, history, and climate to explain it, but

I can't help thinking that a Goldilocks combination is the only way to explain Portland's boom. The weather is milder than Minneapolis, the geography is flatter than Seattle, the city is smaller in population and land-area than many other top cycling cities, it's been a fairly cheap place to live, a fairly safe place to ride, a progressive green bubble...one thing builds on another. It's Just Right.

(--a comment I left on BikePortland in response to an article last summer pondering the causes of Portland's biking boom.)

So, over the next few days I'll review (and hopefully photograph) five places I love around here, in no particular order.

The Eastbank Esplanade runs along the east side of the Willamette River downtown, and Waterfront Park runs along the west. They're connected by the Steel Bridge at the north end and the Hawthorne at the South, and that rectangle defines a wonderful and popular three-mile walk or ride, almost entirely car-free, along which lie:
  • The very best views of downtown, from across the water
    Fog Lifting over downtown Portland as viewed from across the river

  • A floating walkway that rises and falls seasonally with the river and bobs up and down (delightfully or nauseatingly, depending on your stomach) when a large boat wake hits it
    a red bicycle on the Eastbank floating walkway on a rainy day in Portland

    Father & Son Bikes

  • My favorite bridge, the Steel. It's the world's only vertical lift bridge whose two decks lift separately--and it's also one of the most multi-modal bridges in the world (the lower span is for the railroad and has its own pedestrian and bike lane, and the upper span carries car, bus, and light rail traffic)
    Steel Bridge Portland Oregon
    96. Tackle

  • This charming statue of Vera Katz, the three-term mayor who oversaw the construction of the Esplanade:
    Bronze Vera and Helen at 4:00 a.m.

  • On really nice days, views like this:
    Mt Hood from Waterfront Park

  • These trees in April:
    Pink cherry blossoms in Waterfront Park
    (under these trees is also the Japanese-American Historical Plaza, which I've never photographed because it makes me cry, every time, but here is a professional photo of my favorite haiku in the garden.)

  • Also, barge traffic and serial bridge-lifts (two vertical and two drawbridge), the bikiest bridge in the US, Saturday Market if you like that sort of thing, and, if it's not pouring rain, you can get a contact high from the marijuana smoke in Waterfront Park, and there's the White Stag sign and most of Portland's oldest buildings, and

    ...seriously, it's a really nice walk.

    Next time: Klickitat Street, I think.

Date: 2014-01-06 05:45 pm (UTC)
dine: (night tree - destina)
From: [personal profile] dine
this is terrific! I look forward to your other posts on cool areas - PDX is damn awesome, but sometimes one forgets that when trudging along the daily rut

Date: 2014-01-06 11:44 pm (UTC)
dine: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dine
I really like the stream you've chosen - there's already so much on the usual touristy stuff available, but your option is much more intriguing.

I think the goats were supposed to be gone by now, but apparently they just got an extension, so hopefully they'll be safe until able to find a suitable new home!


Date: 2014-01-07 02:04 am (UTC)
dine: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dine
me too! coincidentally I heard a brief update on OPB that the herd grew by two in the last few weeks as a couple of kids were born *g*

Date: 2014-01-07 03:25 am (UTC)
despina_moon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] despina_moon
I agree -- it's a fabulous walk, rain or shine!

Date: 2014-01-07 03:25 am (UTC)
despina_moon: (Antique Bakery ono & cake)
From: [personal profile] despina_moon
And congrats on your retirement!

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