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Three Weeks in Downtown Portland, Oregon

We sit on the basement “balcony” of our rented condo. Our heads barely above sea level, we have a great view of the Willamette River.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

McCormick Pier Condos, NW Portland, Oregon

Trains and draw bridges provide entertainment, along with a constant flow of bicyclists, pedestrians, and runners (don’t call them joggers) who cannot help to make eye contact with us as they turn a corner along the Portland River Walk.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

The Broadway Bridge makes way for water traffic

Good thing that Jack cannot see anything from this basement balcony, as he would constantly bark. After a run-in with a loud train horn, he refuses to go on the river walk, not even for a swim.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Bicyclists, runners, and walkers travel the River Walk to Saturday Market

I enjoy the high pitch tuning fork tone of steel on steel train wheels. It feels like I’m back in my hometown of Mingo Junction, Ohio. Only the city of Pittsburgh boasts more bridges than Portland, Oregon.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Bridges, bridges everywhere

We’re searching for the “beat” of this city, other than the prevailing motto of “Keep Portland Weird.” Many folks bicycle to work, but that’s not terribly weird. Countless dog-friendly street side cafes serve organic food, and mass transit rules, but what’s so weird about that?

Photo by Marilynn Windust


We walk at least six miles daily (walk with your head on a swivel on account of the speeding bicyclists along the river and on the bridges), stopping only to eat meals and drink micro-brews. Although upscale restaurants are fantastic and casual, the permanent food carts are my favorite. The carts surround several city blocks and food ranges from Thai to Hawaiian, as well as new creations. Try the grilled cheese, filled with brie and sliced tomato.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

The 10th and Alder Food Cart Pod in downtown Portland

Everyone seems nice. The “genuine homeless” and even the “youthful summer homeless” are polite, perhaps because of the many services of food and housing available. Vehicles stop for pedestrians. Stand on the corner by a crosswalk, and traffic will come to a halt until you cross the street. This is probably the weirdest thing of all.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

The “young summer homeless” hanging out on the River Walk

The eternal long line at Voodoo Donuts appears a little strange, but those are mostly tourists. I like the chocolate and peanut butter creation. Mare prefers the maple bar topped with crisp bacon.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Oh my!

Many folks claim that Portland is the strip club capital of the US. We wonder if Portland might be the tattoo and skin piercing capital. According to “Google” the tattoo crown belongs to Miami. Even so, I’ve never seen so many young women with sleeves (arms covered in ink). Either way, the “tough guy” stereotype does not apply. They are too nice to look so rugged.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Oh yeah, skin art at it’s finest

It’s weird that most people in such a large city go out of their way to treat each other respectfully. Perhaps that’s what they mean by “Keep Portland Weird.”     Ron Mitchell

Photo by Marilynn Windust

View from Eastbank Esplanade



Ron Mitchell

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. love how you’ve captured Portland. Been waiting for your latest post, and this one does not disappoint! Hope you make your way back up here more frequently. Orcas still beckons too! Happy trails.

    September 11, 2014
    • Thanks, Jill and happy trails to you too! I need more time around Orcas, no doubt. I have a feeling that we will be back.

      September 11, 2014
  2. Ma & Pa #

    Sounds wonderful and fun!!

    September 11, 2014
  3. Susan Stodola #

    A great blog and great pictures for a great city! Susan Stodola, M.ED. Capital Mitigation Services P.O.Box 40401 Phoenix, AZ. 85067 (602) 309-7283

    September 11, 2014
  4. martiwrites #

    Oooh, the guy in line at the food cart pod looks like Hozier. But then again, I’m guessing that 80% of the 20 something guys in Portland look like Hozier.

    Good read, Mitch. As always.

    October 17, 2014
    • I had to google (new word for research) “Hozier.” Yes, I’m out of it. Somehow, intuition tells me that you have nailed it!

      October 17, 2014
  5. I’m still in the two-percent.

    October 17, 2014
  6. loved those bridges and the tattoo looks cool 🙂

    November 4, 2014

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