Portland – Day 3

Today was the second day of Mrs activities – City day.

We started out with a really great walking tour of the city – makes me want to go on the one in Wellington to see if our guides have got as much to say about Wellington and as many interesting little factoids as the Portland guide Adam did.


Here are a bunch of random things I took in from the tour and regaled to The Mister later – he was so impressed that I’d remembered so much!!

  • Could’ve been called Boston over a coin toss.
  • The show we watch, Leverage, is filmed here even though it’s set in Boston.
  • Largest stand of elm trees in US is outside the Portland Art Museum – originally a park area it was cleared in the days of Sunday walks in your Sunday best as the rest of Portland was covered in trees, then replanted in elms many years later after the rest of Portland city had been cleared and they had no wooded area left – whenever Dutch Elm Disease happened, it wiped out all other elms on other side of the Rockies leaving this group in the Northwest as the largest group.
  • Portland is known for it’s sustainable and green initiatives and alternatives including the first gold class (or whatever the ranking system is) green hotel, Hilton.
  • In the 70’s  the city was fined every 3 days for bad air quality – pollution from cars – and that’s when they got together as a population and decided on a town plan which seems to still be at the heart of everything, they seem to vote and stick to it every couple of years.
  • No-one in Portland uses an umbrella – that’s how you can tell a tourist – locals just wear something with a hood and deal with it!
  • Shop and building signs aren’t allowed to stick out over the sidewalk – for pedestrian convenience supposed to be able to see 5 blocks in any direction when crossing the street (you can, I tried it!)
  • Portland known for 3 liquids water (unfiltered ) beer and coffee – the beer and coffee is good because of the water.
  • No pigeons in the city because falcons live under the bridges and peck them off if they are anywhere other than a couple of the enclosed city parks.
  • Smallest park in the world maintained by Portland parks and rec is in a traffic island – Mill Ends.

Portland - walking tour

After a lunch we rode the free inner city train to China Town for a wander around the Lan Su Gardens that were crammed into one city block. It was nice and tranquil and I got chatting to one of the wives who wanted to hear all about New Zealand as she was trying to convince her husband they should move there. I also got to see my first ever hummingbird – it was really close to my head and easy to see on the orange-coloured tree but it buzzed away by the time I got my camera zoomed onto it.

Portland - Lan Su Chinese garden

That evening we went with this couple to the top of the tallest building in Portland (that we’d had pointed out from the bus yesterday) to have cocktails at sunset. It was a great view from up there and a really clear evening that we were really lucky to get!

Portland view


#1 Adam Sawyer on 05.15.11 at 6:26 am

Hey I remember you! Great write up, I think I have a new blog to follow 🙂 How did you like Stumptown coffee?

Your humble Resident Expert,


#2 OrangeGirl on 05.16.11 at 1:22 pm

OMG I’m stoked you found this post and a little bit star-struck that you’ve commented – you’re like famous to me! That day I enjoyed my break between tours at Stumptown – there were a lot of bike couriers with tattoos on their legs hanging out there so I almost didn’t feel cool enough to be there! But it didn’t stop me, as you’ve probably seen on my blog I had rather a lot of coffee from Stumptown at various locations – even went on the bus aWAY out into the burbs to get some!

Portland was really lovely – you can be proud of your city – it was the ‘smallest’ I’ve been to in the US – here in New Zealand, a country of barely 4.2 million, our biggest city is about the same size. You’ve inspired me to go on a walking tour of my city, Wellington – I’ve lived here for 23 years but I’ll undoubtedly still learn something!

#3 Adam Sawyer on 05.18.11 at 6:12 am

Yeah sorry about the hipsters. They can be a bit of a nuisance. I’m glad you got to enjoy the coffee anyway! And I’m glad you enjoyed your stay here, I’ll bet the Wellington walking tours are just as fun and informative. When we visit Wellington some day (New Zealand is high on our list), we’ll be sure to take a walking tour of your town!

Leave a Comment