Portland, Oregon, USA Community
Portland is home to half a million people and another 1.5 million living in its suburbs. Situated in the Willamette Valley next to the mighty Columbia River and split by the Willamette River, this city has no shortage of water, not least of which comes from the sky. All that water tends to leave everything green and makes for fantastic scenery year round.
Notice the clouds looming ominously over the city. Notice the crowd on the waterfront. We wouldn't get out much if we only stepped out when it was sunny, but don't let the precipitation worry you - it's mostly drizzle. Portland is not a very large city and most of its daytime population lives in the suburbs which may have something to do with the reason why it is so clean and green. As if there weren't enough trees blanketing most downtown streets, Portland boasts gigantic Washington Park on the west hills overlooking Portland that contains the Hoyt Arboretum - 214 acres of trees, 800+ species from all over the world. It's almost shocking to find species from much warmer and/or dryer climates that actually survive (somehow) in this park. Oh yea, the park also contains the International Rose Test Garden. This is, after all, the City of Roses.
Portland has a very good public transportation system, but what do we care - we've got bikes! But so do Portlanders, only theirs don't usually have motors. It's become a trend in recent years to bicycle everywhere, and when a Porlander becomes impassioned about something, it inevitably becomes a political statement. Now the "anti-establishment" event seems to be riding bicycles haphazardly in large groups while ignoring all traffic laws. DON'T HIT THEM! Filing lawsuits is our pastime! (we don't have a Major League Baseball team). No hard feelings.
OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science of Industry) located in Portland's east side and right on the Willamette River holds the USS Blueback submarine (which starred in The Hunt for Red October). Tour it if you've never been in a sub before. It's impressive.
Like to read? Try Powell's City of Books. It claims to be the largest bookstore in the world and I must admit that I've never seen any bigger. Its not just large, but the used books are mixed with the new books and the shelves are very nicely categorized.
Portland's Chinatown is interesting, though nowhere near as large as San Francisco's or Vancouver, BC's.
Still need more reasons to visit? Try this site www.travelportland.com
Yes, this is where the good roads are:
Famous Portland Based Companies:
Any downtown map will work. Get one for free at any car rental agency. The best maps of the general area that I've found are put out by Benchmark Maps. They make state maps for most Western USA states. Purchase at Powell's.
For inexpensive places to stay, cross the Columbia River to Vancouver, WA on I-5 and look to your right. In the general area of the 99th Street exit, you'll find a trucker's motel for $25/night - you'll see it from the freeway. Another option is to camp. Head east on I-84 and take the Eagle Creek / Fish Hatchery exit right after Bonneville Dam. The campground is large, quiet, and fairly close (40 minutes) to downtown Portland. If you camp there it would be a tragedy not to hike a couple miles on the Eagle Creek trail, which may very well be one of the most scenic trails in Oregon (and certainly one of the most frequented). Hike it on a weekday and you'll share it with only the dedicated (unemployed - early retirement folks I'm sure). Better yet, head east on I-84 for another 5 minutes and find the Wy'East campground, which is smaller, but very quiet and secluded. $8/night.
Need travel books, maps, paraphernalia? You've come to the right city. Powell's bookstore operates a few bookstores downtown, one of them being Powell's Travel Store.
Should you need any other assistance, please contact the Portland Community. We'll collectively hit the delete key when we receive your email and empty our eco-friendly recycle bin. No, we won't do that, we're actually pretty friendly and we'll try to help in any way we can. Come visit, it's a great place to ride!
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