Saturday, December 12, 2009

Perfect Portland Day

I had a fun day a few weeks ago and I don't want to forget it. December 1st was our first beautiful, sunny day in weeks and I decided it was the perfect time to get out and explore, and even cross an item off the Life List.

First, I went to ride Portland's aerial tram from downtown to OHSU on the hill. It's a $4 round trip and a great way to see the city. It takes about 3 1/2 minutes one-way, and if you're the skittish type, it's a neat little opportunity to combine two fears - claustrophobia and acrophobia - in one event. I did ok - it took a few seconds to realize I wasn't going to plunge to my death, and about the time I stopped holding my breath the worker guy said, "We're about to go by the tower so the tram is going to shake a little." Super! I did have to chill myself out, but I enjoyed the ride, and even let go of the rail for a bit so I could snap some pictures. The day was so clear I could see Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens and even Mt. Adams. It was a lot of fun.

After that I went down to the Oregon Historical Society, which I didn't even know about until my Portland Walking Tour last month. I'm a member of the Chinese Garden, and in December the garden has reciprocal admission with both the Historical Society and the World Forestry Center, so if you're a member of one you can visit the others for free. Such a cool deal.

So I went to OHS (no pictures allowed inside) and ended up having a really great time. I figured I'd learn something, but I didn't anticipate just how much I would enjoy it. A few tidbits - there was a special exhibit about the railroads and how Congress ordered the Army to go west and survey the land. In 1863 the Army wrote a 13-volume report on everything they found, basically saying that Oregon is way rad, which prompted the expansion of the railroad west. I also learned that our state motto is, "She flies with her own wings" which I like. I saw an eight minute film on the evolution of map making (Yay! I love maps!) and learned they used to write fake names for regions when they didn't know what the area really was. I also learned that the then governor of Oregon, Sprague, was one of very few who opposed the Japanese internment camps in WW II, and about widespread anti-Chinese violence in the late 1800's in the Pacific Northwest, which was often initiated by local government. Because of this history, Tacoma is still one of the only cities of its size that does not have a Chinatown. I really had no idea about some of this - very interesting history.

The visit really sparked my interest in learning more about the history of this area, and definitely made me want to go back to OHS. It was a very good experience.

After OHS, I went over to North Portland to find the Flavour Spot, which I'd read about on the ultra cool local blog, Hula Seventy. Flavour Spot serves amazing sweet waffle "tacos," but don't try to take their paper.

This little slice of strawberry and cream heaven was a just a few bucks and worth every calorie. Highly recommended for locals, on the corner of N. Mississippi and Freemont.

Finally, at the end of the day I participated in the candlelight march observing World AIDS Day. There was a good crowd - maybe 150 people - and we marched along 5th Avenue up to City Hall where Mayor Adams spoke for a few minutes and then there was a nice reception and social event. It was a chilly evening, but I was proud of my city for participating.

Another really great Portland day. I'm looking forward to taking advantage of the opportunity to visit the Forestry Center soon, as well as doing more exploring around town. I might have to hit up the Flavour Spot again, too!


  1. We have yet to ride the tram! And this picture perfect clear cold weather would have been the perfect time.

  2. Portland, Portland, Portland. That's all I ever hear about.

    (Oooh, my "secret word" for this comment was "saticult". Have we as a society sunk so low there is now a closed-minded group of Saturday-followers? Hmm, all things considered, I might have joined when I was still an employee...)

  3. You have to get downtown one day and try Voodoo Donuts. I try and get there every time I am in town.

  4. Portland, huh? But seriously...could it possibly compare to Rochester? Huh? could it?

    No...I thought not.

    OH...BTW...I got layed off too.

  5. Dude, I cannot figure out that life list site to save my life. I can't even manage to...oh lordy. Nevermind! gah! gah!