Friday, August 2, 2013

Portland OR Part 3 - Roland's Raw Food Family Tours Green Living Features of Portland

Mass transit and pedestrian and bicycle facilities are fantastic in Portland, some of the best we have seen for an American city. Many cities in Europe are still better. For instance, it was very simple and quick to get to Washington Park from downtown Portland simply by riding the light rail, which stopped a mere two blocks away from our hotel. BTW, Portland’s light rail is made by Siemens, which I think makes the best light rail and trains in the world. These cars were a breeze to enter with their low floor, designated bicycles section with hooks for bicycles to hang, and they have a quick two second ramp that pops out for wheelchair access. In contrast, Baltimore’s light rail is from the stone age with ten steps to climb upon entering, no designated bicycles section, and the train driver has to personally assist a person in a wheelchair to enter and exit; a very slow process.

There were many clearly marked bicycle lanes throughout Portland; some even were painted a bright green. Bicycles were allowed on buses and on the light rail trains. There was clearly a bike culture apparent in Portland as bicyclists were everywhere, and drivers (even bus drivers!) were not irritated at bicyclists as I have typically seen at other cities.

The beautiful to behold and super user friendly light rail trains in Portland Oregon . I think these trains made by Siemens are the best in the world.

Portland Oregon light rail trains have a special section to store bicycles where a they can be hung by a hook thereby saving space.

Buses are happy to carry your bicycles on their front racks in Portland Oregon.

Some bicycle lanes are marked with bright green paint.
Portland OR farmers market in the downtown.

We did of lot of sightseeing in Portland Oregon soaking up as much of its unique green living features as we could. There is a nice farmers market with some organic produce in downtown. There is large, open, expansive park along the western side of the Willamette River, that runs through Portland. On the west side there is an intricate series of ramps leading to the river's edge. We visited the Washington Park many times to see actual green landscapes. This park is immense and includes the zoo, Children’s Museum, World Forestry Center, Japanese Garden, Rose Garden, and a playground, which we all saw. We missed the Hoyt Arboretum because there was no time.

A map of the large Washington Park, which is close to downtown Portland Oregon and easily accessible by light rail.

Children love cooling off with water spray at Portland Zoo.

A roof garden demonstration at the entrance to Portland Zoo in Portland Oregon.

The tall giraffes are a delight to see at the Portland Zoo in Portland Oregon.

The simplest method to "green" a blank wall is to plant vines to grow over the building. Here is Boston Ivy covering a stone walled building in Washington Park in Portland Oregon.

Entrance to the World Forestry Center in Washington Park in Portland Oregon.

Map of forests ownerships in Washington and Oregon at the World Forestry Center in Portland OR.

Forests of the World exhibit showing the many human uses of forests at the World Forestry Center in Portland OR.

Spectacular pollution free blue sky and view of downtown Portland OR and snow capped Mt. Hood mountain in distance. This view is from the Japanese Garden.

The beautifully serene and tranquil Japanese Garden in Portland Oregon.

Portland Oregon's Rose Garden with its many roses and beautiful view of Portland.

Ornamental grasses and perennials add to the beauty of the Rose Garden in Portland Oregon.

The playground at Washington Park near the Portland Rose Garden.
We even considered moving here several times during this trip. There are many positives: clean, unpolluted air and water, the largest city in North America with NO fluoride in its drinking water; green trees everywhere to clean the air; nice parks; summers are warm, sunny, and dry; no mosquitoes; excellent mass transit system; one can live here without a car; excellent bicycle infrastructure; safe city; friendly people; diverse climates and ecosystems to visit or live in; awesome recreational opportunities abound from the mountains, to the forests, to the river, to the sea; along the coast Oregon is a cold hardiness zone 8 which is milder than for us in Baltimore and the northeast; the long months of greyness can help one to be a writer since being inside looks more inviting than being outside. There are of course negatives: fall, winter, spring months are often overcast and rainy; it is below the 37th degree latitude where one does not receive enough Vit. D from the sun in the winter; the long months of grey can breed depression and may make one unmotivated.

We really love the city of Portland as far as cities are concerned. I am not a huge fan of urban areas when they are cold, expressionless, endless expanses of concrete, steel, and glass with no sense of humanity. Portland had little of this blandness and more of a small town feel to it with friendly people who were not in a hurry and were not all conforming to some social norm (yes, there were many tattooed hippies or alternative seeking people here). This city is the opposite of New York City in that respect it seems. One appears to be free to express who one truly is here in Portland. This is very refreshing for an American city and not seen that often.


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