Friday, February 18, 2005

63 Things I Love about Portland

It should be clear to anyone who has read my blog more than a few times that I love Portland. Betsy wrote about her love of Portland the other day, it got me to thinking that I could probably whip up a list of 100 things I love about Portland in no time at all. Well, I can’t. I gave myself an hour and came up with 63--I just can’t think, type, and link fast enough to do 100 in an hour. I know there are 100--way more than 100--that should be on this list. If you live in the Portland Metro area, feel free to help me out! (Apologies in advance for the list's less-than-perfect parallelism.)

1. Our mayor rode with Critical Mass.
2. Public art.
3. The view of Mt. Hood, Mount St. Helens, and the tippy top of Mt. Adams as viewed from the Fremont Bridge on the Bridge Pedal.
4. Picking blueberries on Sauvie Island. The blueberries are the size of marbles and are the best I’ve ever tasted.
5. The moss that grows everywhere.
6. The Wildwood Trail--all 30 or so miles of it.
7. The 500-strong One More Time Around Again Marching Band, especially the baton twirlers who are over 70 years old.
8. The Oregon Brewers Festival held on the banks of the Willamette. The crowd is always so well behaved—people are there to sample beer, hang out, and have a good time. Not once have I seen boorish drunken behavior.
9. Laurelhurst Park—one of the most beautifully designed parks I’ve ever seen. It looks spectacular year round. Head over today to see gorgeous camellias, witch hazel, and other early bloomers.
10. Laurelhurst Theatre. Serving local microbrew and pizza at a second-run movie theater has to be one of the most inspired ideas of the 20th century. A pint, a slice, and a ticket can all be had for about what you’d pay at a first-run place and you don’t have to suffer through “The [dreaded] 20.”
11. The Kennedy School.
12. Progressive politics.
13. Powells book stores.
14. The Portland Art Museum (I don’t go there nearly enough).
15. The North and South Parks Blocks.
16. Being able to garden year-round.
17. Blue hydrangeas.
18. The Starlight Parade. Far superior and more egalitarian than the Grand Floral Parade.
19. The plethora of good, cheap Happy Hours.
20. The plethora of brewpubs.
21. The nearly perfect library system.
22. Sunny days in February.
23. Rainy days in February.
24. The Craftsman bungalows.
25. The Portland International Film Festival (the PIFF) and the fact that it is so well attended.
26. Benson bubblers.
27. The Eastbank Esplanade.
28. Hippies—the genuine articles and the neophytes.
29. The Zoobombers.
30. The Last Thursday Artwalk on Alberta.
31. Saturday Market.
32. Bike lanes.
33. Hoyt Arboretum, featuring 1100 species of trees and plants, ranging from bamboo to giant redwoods to monkey-puzzle trees. It’s especially lovely in fall.
34. The “anything goes” dress code.
35. The climate. It never gets truly cold.
36. Being able to get to a wilderness hike in less than an hour.
37. Seeing Mt. Saint Helens from our house.
38. Watching the Beavers minor league baseball team play.
39. The patio at the New Old Lompoc (and the food and beer, of course!).
40. Men in skirts (on average I see one or two skirt-sporting males a month).
41. Spring.
42. Summer.
43. Fall.
44. Winter.
45. The Colombia and Willamette Rivers.
46. The strange wrinkle in time known as the Hollywood District.
47. The Steel Bridge.
48. The airport—it’s the cleanest, prettiest, friendliest one I’ve ever been in, and you can actually get good food there.
49. Union Station and its retro “Go by Train” sign
50. Downtown at night as viewed from the Fremont Bridge.
51. All the friendly neighborhood cats, especially the big guys like Amber, Bucket, and Big Orange.
52. Tri-Met.
53. The Hollywood Theater—long may it live.
54. Each and every one of the food carts scattered throughout downtown, but most especially Snow White’s House and Taste of India.
55. The dog-friendly attitude.
56. The availability of organic, locally grown food at farmers’ markets, co-ops, and at local supermarkets.
57. The many innovative cottage industries (e.g., soapmakers, clothing designers, potters, vegan bakers, etc.)
58. Community gardens.
59. Free readings at Powells by big-name authors such as Salman Rushdie, Sherman Alexie, Eric Schlosser, Malcolm Gladwell, and Jon Krakauer.
60. Free movie passes.
61. The Rose Test Garden.
62. Free summer concerts in the parks.
63. The people!


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