Portland, Oregon: A City I Could Love

After running the Eugene Half Marathon, I spent a few days visiting my daughter and her fiance in Portland. Despite the cold, rainy weather, Portland is a city I could definitely learn to love.

I did almost no sightseeing in the city itself, mainly because I had just run a half marathon and my legs were a little trashed. And did I mention it was cold and rainy? We’re talking 40’s and 50’s, which is like winter for this Texan.

While in Portland, we had dinner one night at a fantastic Thai restaurant called PaaDee on Burnside. It was, hands down, the best Thai food I’ve ever eaten. I loved it so much I even took my friend Hari there for lunch the very next day before he flew back home to Dallas. We even took pictures of our food–it was that good.

The only time in my life I’ve ever photographed my food in a restaurant.

Hari blissfully eating in all his Eugene paraphernalia.

One afternoon my daughter and I walked (I hobbled) up to Mt Tabor. I can’t believe there are such beautiful places in a city the size of Portland.

View of downtown Portland from Mt Tabor

They don’t call me a tree hugger for nothing.

Walking path and trees at Mt Tabor

One thing I love about Oregon is the incredibly tall trees. They make our Texas trees look like bushes.

Right in the middle of the city, next to parking lots, are these huge trees. I almost got rear ended looking at the trees.

The tree in a parking lot that nearly caused an accident when I saw it.

11 random observations about Portland:

  1. It seems to be a young city. Maybe it’s because I spent most of my time with my daughter and her friends, but everyone seemed to be young.
  2. The houses are fantastic. Historic, full of character, charming. These are houses I could live in.
  3. It seems to be trendy to dress like a Victorian. We saw a few guys dressed in bowler hats, bow ties, and old fashioned pants. Interesting. I expected to see a lot of granola types, but this I didn’t expect.
  4. The homeless people have cell phones. I saw quite a few walking around town talking and texting on their phones. And there are a lot of homeless people in Portland.
  5. The bridges are scary to drive across. I’m not afraid of heights, but driving across the Willamette River on the freeway bridge made me feel like the girl in Clueless who accidentally gets on the freeway.
  6. You see a lot of old, beat up cars in Portland. You rarely see old cars in Dallas. People there pride themselves on their new, expensive, immaculately clean cars. I liked seeing the old cars still out there, being put to use.
  7. Recycling is serious business, and the city even picks up compostable items.
  8. People drive more courteously than they do in Dallas. I never had anyone tailgate, or cut me off, or drive aggressively.
  9. Cars and bikes share the roads. The cyclists actually stop at red lights and stop signs. They even wait until the light turns green. Road signs and signals seem to be optional in Dallas (and that goes for cars, as well).
  10. Everyone expects changing weather and brief rain showers. They dress in layers and carry umbrellas. But they still talk about the weather all the time.
  11. I could work for Nike. The Nike world headquarters in Beaverton is an awesome space. The buildings are surrounded by trees and various running paths, trails, and tracks. Everyone going into the building was dressed very casually in jeans, t-shirts, and running shoes–Nikes, of course.

I loved visiting Portland, and could definitely see myself living there one day. Even with all the chilly, rainy days, I suspect I would eventually adjust and learn to layer up. When the temperatures start hitting the 100’s down here in Texas in a few weeks, I’m going to remember there are cooler, more habitable places in America–like Portland.

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8 comments

  1. westerner54

    Your list of 11 is spot on. I’d never thought about the number of old cars being part of what makes Portland special, but it is. And I want some of that good Thai food right now.

    • Mind Margins

      The Thai food is almost worth a special trip to Portland just for dinner. If only we were super wealthy and could fly there in our private jets . . .

  2. skippingstones

    I love your pictures and I’ll have to look around here and see if I can find any trees that big. I feel like there must be, but I’m honestly not sure. That parking lot one is ginormous!

    All the posts I read about other places in the world – just in the US even – make me wish I could travel.

    • Mind Margins

      And the parking lot tree wasn’t as big as the ones you see in the forests–and of course they’re not half as tall as the redwoods a little further south along the coast.

      You should definitely do some road trips in the U.S., especially out west if you’ve never been. It’s so different from the East Coast.

  3. Gunta

    Giblets and Flapdoodle sent (invited) me over here. I’m just getting started, but you’ve got one more blogger pulling for you now. Best wishes and I plan to stick around…. 🙂
    ps… I’m in the SW corner of Oregon and we’re having a heat wave down here. It’s been in the 80s…

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      Welcome, and thanks for reading and for your kind words. My son’s girlfriend is from Portland and just returned from a visit home. She said it was 91 degrees the other day and everyone thought they were dying. She could smirk after spending time here in Texas!

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