Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Out and About in the Portland Area

We’ve been moving about the area.  Here is a high level review of places we’ve been. 

This is The Grotto.  It’s a Catholic sanctuary and home of the Servite Friars.  We went there thinking that we would be able to walk to the top of the cliffs where the gardens are.  Unfortunately, one must take the elevator because there is no walking path to the top. 


It’s moderately interesting, but it was ultimately sub-optimal due to lack of exercise potential.  The gardens are lovely, and it’s a nice place for a stroll.


We went out to check out the Sandy River Delta off leash dog park.  It’s also open to biking.  A careful examination of several ill-behaved dogs convinced us that riding out there would be a terrible idea.  If you have a dog, it’s dog nirvana.  For non-dog hiking or biking, I’d give it a pass.

This irritates the crap out of me.  People pick the dog poop, but then leave the bags by the side of the trail.  Do they think the poop fairy is going to come and pick it up?


There was a drive out to Troutdale.  It’s the gateway to the Gorge on historic Highway 30.  It’s a pretty drive.  This is a one lane bridge.  Troutdale itself is just determinedly cute.  Totally foo-foo.


There are also opportunities for gourmet dining along the way.  Unfortunately I think Tad’s is not open any longer.


However, there is Shirley’s Tippy Canoe.


So, our first few forays were sub-optimal.  Today, however, exceeded expectations.

We visited the Powell Butte Nature Park.  It’s a stunning park developed on a cinder cone.  It’s also a huge part of the Portland water supply.  The Bull Run river is dammed at a higher elevation than the park.  There are two 50 million gallon reservoirs underground in the butte.  They are higher than Portland and lower than the dam.  So, water comes from the river, or from the Columbia South Shore Well Field.  Then gravity takes it into the city.

Remember “the hills are alive with the sound of music”?  That’s what the top of the butte reminds me of.  The flower fields are just amazing.


This young man was with two other photographers who were lugging around a large format camera on a tripod.  I was intent on the flowers and didn’t see him in the frame.  It’s an interesting photo because he’s in it.  Notice the flowers, and how tall they are.  When they grow in the woods they are much shorter.


See what I mean?  The hills are alive!


I don’t know what these are.  They’re on a flat growing vine.


So there are trails out in the open.  There are also wooded trails going down the backside of the butte.


Portland has a rich aviation history.  In 1978 United Airlines 173 crashed in the area of 158th and Burnside.  The plane had a landing gear light illuminated.  The pilot became fixated on the light and started flying circles over PDX.  Because the pilot was fixated on the light, and because the pilot was not accepting input from the cockpit crew, the plane circled until it ran out of fuel.  This accident led to the institution of the crew concept, in which the pilot is no longer infallible, but is a team member who accepts input from the crew.  This is where the plane went down.


This is the Troutdale Airport.  It’s tiny.  In 1962 a United Airlines plane landed there instead of PDX.  Despite the air traffic controllers telling the pilots they were heading for the wrong airport they pressed on.  They were able to get the plane down with no damage.  The next day United took all of the seats out of the plane to make it light enough to take off from the short runway, and the pilots flew it to PDX.  Then they were fired.


There has also been shopping!  The Clackamas Town Center REI yielded two pair of hiking boots for Jim.  Today we went to the Columbia Sportswear Outlet Center at Historic Sellwood.  Sellwood is also just cuter than a bug.  It’s like a tiny village within Portland.  No sales tax!  Yay!


  1. I think those flowers are some sort of convolvulus [bindweed]
    The leaving of dog poo in bags annoys me too but what is even worse is when the dog owners hang the bags from tree branches.
    Columbia do really good products.

  2. We ALWAYS hit that Columbia Outlet store when we go to Portland...sometimes it's a bust, sometimes it's a bonanza!

    Thanks for the Powell Butte tip (we'll be in Portland in Sept.). Mt Tabor is also a nice park to walk through, though much smaller than Powell Butte.

  3. It was good hiking on Powell Butte. Since we were there in mid-July the flowers were a bit past peak, but they were still nice.
    We also liked walking in Washington Park, and you can take the train to get there.

  4. Yeah, what is up with the poop bags? We see those frequently too. As a dog owner who always carries bags (and takes them with me), I have no idea what they are thinking, unless they think they'll come back for them on their return trip and then forget???