Quick Portland Photo Summary

Portland, Oregon Photos

Rather than get my rusty creative gears turning, I’ve decided to do a summary of my Portland observations in photos.  If one picture is worth 1,000 words, then this thing is damn near a novel!  Without further hooplah, here we go.

[unfortunately, photos have been removed because my host went away]

If you are a fan of nifty bridges, Portland has several interesting ones to check out. I love the huge, sci-fi looking engine behind this lift bridge…it’s charmingly industrial.

The sign reads “Karaoke from hell.” I personally share Anthony Bourdain’s opinion that all karaoke comes from hell. But if you like to sing while intoxicated, there are lots of choices. Dante’s was one of the more popular places.

Strip clubs in Portland

You probably won’t find many “gentlemen” in these clubs…but if that’s your thing, there is a very high density of strip clubs in Portland. That’s good news if you are a stripper…you know, with the bad economy and all.

People in Portland

The people make a place. Portland has a very interesting spectrum of people — from organic-chomping hipsters to transplants from all over the U.S. (and world) — there is a lot of culture. There is also a large population of travelers here. You see Tibetan prayer flags strewn across people’s front porches, etc. I didn’t receive even one look walking down the street with my big rucksack on — it is a daily occurrence. People are biking, walking, and waiting on the excellent buses (which are stocked with very helpful, friendly drivers). Meanwhile, they are talking…either on their mobile phones, to each other, to strangers, or babbling to themselves…there are lots of friendly people talking.

Oregon Nature

I know these scavengers hardly qualify as “wildlife” but how else am I going to show off my nice water bird photos? The good news is that just 30 minutes outside of the city are absolutely gorgeous national parks, a gorge bursting with hiking and camping opportunities, and the second-tallest falls in the U.S. Mount hood and all its snowy, mountaineering glory lurks tantalizing just over an hour away. No wonder so many people are outdoor oriented here, and the environment is a hot focus issue.

Portland Culture

There are a lot of ethnics groups here in Portland, but unlike NYC, they won’t flip you the bird when you start up a conversation about their culture. On weekends, there is a large outdoor art market and street food stands are aplenty…making it possible to eat very cheap and spicy goodness. People firmly believe in supporting local, independent growers, stores, and artisans…the chains with fluorescent lighting that sell sweatshop goods are not popular here — which is a good thing.

OK….so I was quite the lazy photographer on this trip, but here are some other fine observations without photos:

Coffee

Maybe that’s why people are so nice here? And talkative? Carry a Starbucks outside of the airport and you risk getting rocks thrown at you. That stuff hails from Seattle. One cup of local-brewed, independent, fair-trade Sumatran gave me a buzz and made every molecule in my brain vibrate…no need to say more.

Homeless People

Maybe they quit their jobs to go vagabonding? Maybe its by choice? Who knows…but I didn’t mind them as much, and they aren’t really annoying other than one guy with mad hair, an army jacket, and green face paint that literally chased me around a park downtown! Most are extremely friendly, and simply want to talk to you. Most ask for cigarettes, or for someone to talk to, nothing more. I did give one young girl a dollar to help her “get home for Christmas”….hopefully it didn’t help her “get high for Christmas” instead.

Causes

Be prepared for bumper stickers, political flair pinned to expensive, trendy messenger bags, and people approaching you with clipboards to help save some species of tree, animal, or insect that mankind is beating up on. Like the homeless people, it doesn’t bother me, but one Curt-Cobain-haired guy that approached me said “excuse me, sir, do you care about the environment?” When I kept walking (which you have to do sometimes) he mumbled “I guess not…”

That’s not true. I haven’t stepped on one single endangered spotted frog since I got here.

In Summary

Portland is a fun city to walk around, cars are optional, and I love the vibe. Yes, it rains a lot…but that’s good for the gorgeous, mossy wilderness just waiting for you 30 minutes outside of town. This is a great hub for writers, photographers, and travelers…with cheap airfare out of PDX and lots of people to network with. Portland is a big city that feels small because it has been carved into neighborhoods. You see the same people out, much like I do in my hometown of roughly 300,000 people…but unlike Lexington, I can eat Ethiopian food, go to a coffee tasting, and meet one of my favorite travel writers (Rolf Potts) all in the same day!

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