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Thread: Portland - what should I see, planning-wise?

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Portland - what should I see, planning-wise?

    I'll be in Portland, Oregon around 26 September and through the weekend. Any recommendations about what I should photograph or document that would be of extraordinary interest to planners?
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  2. #2

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    You could photograph the oppressed minions, yearning to live free of evil planners. Via Portland Libre!

    Seriously, the riverside parks and adjacent new infill development are very impressive.

    Another area I really like are the so-called "Park Blocks" in the Portland State area adjacent to downtown. Kinda West Coast version of the Savannah squares?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    The rigid growth boundary.

    T.O.D.

    Trixies, of course. Especially if you can get pictures of them kissing you - it'll add to the Denver compendium

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Don't spend all of your time in the city. Get a car and drive up the Columbia River Valley at least as far as Hood River. If you can squeeze in some more time, go to Bend (not for the planning!) and take in the McKenzie River Country. Watch out for Sasquatches.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    What not to photograph in Portland

    Don't photograph the murals on the rear/sides of downtown buildings in the early morning if one of the resident homeless can interpret your aim as including him/her in the frame.

    They get really pissed, and tend to chase you for a couple of blocks.

    Trust me on this one.
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    I might go there in Oct. If I had to pick one place on the coast to quickly see what would it be? (I assume the coast is about an hour away.)

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Cannon Beach is beautiful. Head north on 1 (which is an amazing drive) for a little over an hour, I think. Remember Goonies ? Remember the big rock formations on the beach? That's Cannon Beach. If you have some more time, head north again for a while to Astoria. Beautiful old town on the side of a hill, lots of Queen Annes, and more Goonie -watching.
    And while in Portland, you simply must go to Powell's Books. I could live there happily. They have shelves and shelves of books on planning, not just one or two!
    I don't dream. I plan.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Welcome to Portland.
    Which is a perfect town.
    Here we have some rules let us lay them down.
    Don't make waves.
    Stay in line.
    and we'll get along fine.
    Since Portland is a perfect place.
    Keep off of the grass.
    Shine your shoes.
    Wipe your...face.
    Because Portland is....
    Portland is....
    Portland is a perfect place!

  9. #9
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    It's hard to say what to see in Portland as a planner... because the majority of the city is an urban paradise IMHO. I would go to some of the districts and just walk around and appreciate the people on the street, the funky mom and pop shops, the well... *life* that is all around you. I like the NW district (around 21st, north of Burnside), Belmont District (on the east side), Hawthorne DDistrict (the hippie-ish part of the east side) and just about anywhere in downtown. My favorite little subdivision is Ladd's Addition (right by Hawthorne, to the east of the Willamette)... it's a circular subdivision centered on a beautiful rose garden botanical park.

    If you are a book fiend go to Powell's (on the aforementioned Burnside, near the NW district), the best bookstore on the planet IMHO. Technical books (computer, engineering, architecture, etc.) are in a separate bookstore on the north end of the park blocks, also on Burnside.

    Mt. Tabor Park is a wonderful nature park in the middle of the city... (convenient if you go to the east side). It's great for a walk with the dogs (if you are bringing them along). It is an extinct volcano, which is always fun to remember.

    If you'll be there on the weekend, check out the outdoor market under the Burnside Bridge in downtown. There is a light rail stop there, so it's easy to park far away for free and take the light rail in (light rail in the downtown core is free).

    The riverwalks on the Willamette are great too.

    If you have enough time, get out of town... I second that you should head up the gorge (get off the highway and on to the old highway so you can drive through some amazing mixed forests with lots of waterfalls). It only takes about three hours round trip if you only see a few falls, more if you go on serious hikes.

    Also, the beaches are beautiful south of Astoria.... head out and do a loop trip.

    One of the best ways to see the city and planner stuff would be to get a planner to show you. Let me know if you want company, and I'll give you some e-mails of some of the planners I introduced you to in Denver.

    Oh yeah... and if you want to check out any of the seedy part of Portland (and they have them!), head to the east side... up Sandy Blvd.

    For food: I would say generally speaking mexican is okay, japanese is good, vietnamese is good, chinese is crappy.

    Enjoy! (I'm jealous!)

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Originally posted by nerudite
    If you are a book fiend go to Powell's (on the aforementioned Burnside, near the NW district), the best bookstore on the planet IMHO. Technical books (computer, engineering, architecture, etc.) are in a separate bookstore on the north end of the park blocks, also on Burnside.
    Oh, yes, Powell's rocks! The most amazing book store ever!

  11. #11
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Powells does rock! The books, the cafe, the people watching...... Ah, memories!
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  12. #12
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    Oh! and as a planner, check out my favorite bar(s):

    McMenamins Kennedy School... an old boarding school turned restaurant, bar, etc. It kept it's 'old school' charm (pun intended) and is worth the trip to the NE sector of the city. (Also good for scoping out the chicks).

    If you go out to the gorge, stop by the Edgefield too. Another amazing McMenamins microbrew heaven.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    Originally posted by Cardinal
    Don't spend all of your time in the city. Get a car and drive up the Columbia River Valley at least as far as Hood River.
    If you make it as far as Hood River, check out the Full Sail Ale brewery (it's not a classy place, but has a great view of the river, good beer and although you wouldn't be interested lots of cute windsurfers... yum!)

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Another plug for the gorge.



    http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/columbia/

  15. #15
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Jake's Crawfish House...
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  16. #16
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Originally posted by Cardinal
    Another plug for the gorge
    Hmmm. That sounds like it could be one of PlannerGirls "toys"




    (sorry PG!)

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    All good bits of advice, except for the directions to the coast.

    The coast is about two hours away from Portland. West, not north. There is no Route 1 to the coast. To get to Cannon Beach, go west on US 26. Cannon Beach is yuppie beach heaven. Beautiful beach, though, and good, walkable planning. Good design standards. We use some of their approaches as model here. Seasie is a little north of Cannon Baech, and is popular, but I went there for the first time a few weeks ago and was disappointed. It seems a little like an east coast shore town, not really like Oregon. YMMV.

    To get to my own Lincoln City, take Route 99W west then pick up Route 18. 18 ends at US 101, which takes you into Lincoln City. Its a blue collar type resort town, 7 miles of beaches. Our Taft district Urban Renewal project is the talk of the coast, if not the state. If you (or any others of the respected Cyburbians)have any interest in coming to Lincoln City, let me know. I'll have company while you are in the area, but I will make arrangements for you if I can.

    Powells' is a must-do when in Portland.

    MAX light-rail and trolleys. The no-fare zone (Ride buses and lightrail for free downtown)

    Hawthorne District on the east side is my favorite. Stores and food. Walkable, great mix of people (goths and yuppies and oldtimers)

    Nob Hill neighborhood, aka NW21st Avenue, is cool. Also trendoid, but lots of good restaurants and shops. Wildwood restaurant, 1221 NW 21st, is true NW cuisine and great. I am having dinner there on Sept 23rd with my parents (my father's 80th bday).

    If you can go up the Columbia into the Gorge, do it. Recommedned route for a short daytrip is to go east on Interstate 84 (required stop at Multnomah Falls), to Hood River (wind surfing central), then south on rte 36 into the mountains to US 26. East on 26 to Government Camp. Required sidetrip to Timberline Lodge (seen in The Shining), a fantastic WPA project and probably the best of NW lodge architecture. 26 will take you back into Portland. Watch for the UGB near Sandy.

    Chinese Garden downtown. In the area of the Saturday Market (under the bridge market someone mentioned).

    Oregon Museum of Science and Indusrty and the Zoo are tourist staples

    Orenco Station development - mixed use, transit oriented.
    www.orencostation.com/

    The Willamette (wi-LAM-it) waterfront (Tom McCall Waterfront Park, named for St. Thomas McCall, the governor who started the LU system in Oregon and told Californians to bring their money, leave it here, and then go home)

    Park Blocks is a good idea. Includes the Portland Art Museum as well as PSU.

    Further north is the Brewery Blocks, which unfortunately is not a bunch of microbreweries, but the site of the Weinhard brewery which is being redeveloped into mixed use. Not sure how far along they are, might be just at the tearing down stage.

    To see where big boxes go to die, visit the Jantzen Beach supercenter far north of downtown beside the Columbia River. Seems like dozens of big box stores all side-by-side.

    By the way, it's tres chic to call Portland "PDX." Stumptown is OK for locals.

    In Central Oregon Bend is a nice place to go, but highly developed. About 20 miles west of Bend is Sisters, a very small town with strong design standards (the wild west look) that work. We always stop in Sisters to eat when we are going further east (and we ofter go just to the Sisters area, where there is great cvamping fishing, etc.) Check around first about going to the east side of the Cascades, though, because there have been some road closures due to fires lately (BIG fire burning about 20 miles NW of Sisters)

  18. #18
    Cyburbian
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    Originally posted by Rich Townsend
    All good bits of advice, except for the directions to the coast.

    The coast is about two hours away from Portland. West, not north. There is no Route 1 to the coast. To get to Cannon Beach, go west on US 26. Cannon Beach is yuppie beach heaven. Beautiful beach, though, and good, walkable planning. Good design standards.

    I stand corrected. We took Hwy 1 down from near Olympia, I believe. Whatever its name is, it's a lovely highway that runs more or less along the coast (and also some clear cuts, not so lovely).
    I don't dream. I plan.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    Originally posted by Plannerbabs
    I stand corrected. We took Hwy 1 down from near Olympia, I believe. Whatever its name is, it's a lovely highway that runs more or less along the coast (and also some clear cuts, not so lovely).
    Figured you must have been some kind of Californian or something. Or maybe a Floridian.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian
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    Originally posted by Rich Townsend
    Figured you must have been some kind of Californian or something. Or maybe a Floridian.
    Hey now. I'm a Hoosier. One of the many midwesterners here.
    I don't dream. I plan.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Originally posted by Plannerbabs
    I stand corrected. We took Hwy 1 down from near Olympia, I believe. Whatever its name is, it's a lovely highway that runs more or less along the coast (and also some clear cuts, not so lovely).
    Highway 1/101 is one of the great American drives, running from California all the way noth to Washington along the Pacific lakeshore.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    Originally posted by Plannerbabs
    One of the many midwesterners here.
    Gee, hadn't noticed any. Anyway, I probably get honoary Hoosier status since I have an aunt-and -uncle-in-law in Jasper. That's all it takes, right? That and being able to pronounce "Loogootee". And back in my college days when I would drive back to DC for the summer (from California; what's wrong with this picture?) I would stop for an Orange Julius in Terre Haute. Surely that counts.

  23. #23
    Highway 1/101 is one of the great American drives, running from California all the way noth to Washington along the Pacific lakeshore.
    one of the great bicycle rides as well.

  24. #24
    Member moose's avatar
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    I've mentioned it before, so I don't mean to sound like a broken record (OT: is that an archaic phrase or what?), but I live just outside of Portland in Fairview, in a subdivision that has won numerous smart growth awards (www.fairviewvillage.com). It's a nice infill project with housing, recreation, mixed-use and retail. Take Hwy 84 east (towards the Gorge), exit 14, turn left at Halsey, right on Village and you'll be in it, facing the "main drag".

    If you do drive out to the Gorge, wave to the north as you pass between exits 16 and 17 on Hwy 84. That big ugly plant is where I work (we're tearing it down & remediating the soil).

  25. #25
    Cyburbian plankton's avatar
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    Oregon Coast /Portland ideas

    IMHO, just roll the dice and follow your nose in Portland - you'll find all kinds of cool/planning-related stuff that way. Hop a streetcar, hike an urban forest, walk the waterfront, drink tasty micros, hang out with shady street kids under a bridge, shop, whatever.

    Hwy 26 (Sunset Hwy) will get you to the coast from Portland in about 1-1/2 hours. It's a pretty drive through foothill agricultural areas (thank you UGB!), a coastal rain forest, riparian areas, etc. Be very careful if you drive at dawn or dusk - lots of deer & elk. Hwy 30 is another option to the coast from Portland - it follows the Columbia River but I prefer Hwy 26. A Hwy 26-101-30 loop is a grand idea (just make sure you take a side trip to Cannon Beach and other places a little to the south on Hwy 101 (see below)).

    The coastal cities of Cannon Beach, Seaside, Gearhart (aka Cape Cod west), & Astoria are all very unique and worth checking out. I highly recommend having lunch at the Pacific Way Cafe in Gearhart (closed on Tues & Wed) and strolling along Ocean Ave. and the nearby beach (walk south towards Tillamook Head and the lighthouse on the rock (terrible tilly) and not to the north where, unfortunately, people are allowed to drive on the beach - unless that's your thing then access the drivable beach at Del Rey State Wayside (just north of Gearhart off of Hwy 101) and you can drive 9 miles north right on the beach to the mouth of the mighty Columbia (don't fall in!)

    Just south of Cannon Beach on Hwy 101 - check out Hug Point State Wayside (there's a great cave there where friendly locals tend to congregate) and also Oswald West state park for primo hikes through old growth sitka spruce/hemlock forests with specatcular ocean vistas. Hwy 101 climbs several hundred feet above the ocean in this area. In my mind, this is the most beautiful, and readily accessible part of the whole Pac NW coast. There's an easy to moderate 5-mile round trip hike at Falcon Cove that will knock your socks off. Steep drop offs so be careful!

    Enjoy the Oregon coast! I sure do.

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