Sunday, June 18, 2017

A Trip into Portland

Yesterday we took Max (the light rail) into Portland.  It used to be that you could actually drive into the city and park, but those days are over!  Too many people, too many cars.  Thursday convinced us that one should never do that.  Ever!  Especially in a pickup truck on narrow streets, further narrowed by constuction barriers.

It takes a lot of optimism to open a swim wear boutique in the GPNW.  I do like their signage, however.


There are a lot of construction cranes in the Pearl District. Pearl is part of the wave of gentrification and hipsterization of Portland.  W. Kamau Bell has a show on CNN.  I think it’s “The United Shades of America.”  He was interviewing African Americans who have been displaced by the changes in Portland.  Apparently it can be a difficult place to live for people who are non-white.


This is what they’re building.  This particular unit is about $1.5M.  But wait, that’s only the start.


Look at the taxes and HOA fees.  Those two charges are guaranteed to never go down, only up. 


This is interesting.  See the floor joists?  They’re wood.  I did not think high rise structures were still built using wood due to concerns with fire.  Apparently I was wrong.


So life in the Pearl district is very vibrant.  Foo-foo home decorating stores abound.  There are bars and restaurants with outdoor seating everywhere.  This dog did not look very happy.  He’s underneath his owner’s chair.  Just to the right is a walkway, when people would approach the walkway, he would back up.


It’s a pleasant aspect.


We walked down to Union Station.  The last time we were here it was being renovated.  We were surprised at how much rail service is still available to Portland.  The Amtrak Cascades, Empire Builder and Coast Starlight still come here.


After walking through Union Station we made the mistake of sitting in front of the Greyhound station to wait for our Max light rail to arrive.  It’s a dystopian part of Portland where the poor and mentally challenged congregate on the sidewalk.  An older man in a wheelchair sat dozing.  Periodically something would bring him to attention and he would start stomping his feet, yelling and pulling at his clothing.  We could not understand what he was saying except for the phrase that starts with mother and ends with er.  He was alone, I wonder where he sleeps, how does he get there?  How does he deal with personal hygiene issues by himself.  The Greyhound station and the Pearl district really demonstrate the dichotomy that is developing in Portland.

Today there is a Gay Pride event in the Pearl District.  We thought about going, but have decided that we don’t want to be in crowds that large.  While the sun is not out, at least it isn’t raining on their parade.


  1. We learned after our first time riding the train that it was better to walk a few more blocks to another stop to get back on rather than wait at Union Station.
    Jim decided we should rent a condo for a couple months in the Pearl District to see what city living is like. Needless to say we were a bit shocked at rental prices, so that idea never got off the ground/

  2. This gentrification is happening all over Seattle too ugly-bugly condos springing up overnight like giant looming mushrooms. So sad to know it's happening in Portland where my father lived and where I spend many summers with him. It's one of the reasons I moved out of Seattle. Two cities with distinct personalities becoming empty boring expensive shells for wealthy children.