Shopping for Comics in Portland

One of the best jobs I ever had was during my brief stint of Southern California living when I worked at a locally-owned comic book shop in San Diego called Comics-N-Stuff. My co-workers were great, the clientele was fun and interesting, and the excitement of receiving each week’s shipment of new comics for the shop brought out the kid in me that my young adult self was so desperately trying to leave behind.

Now that I’m firmly in adulthood, I see the value of never letting go of those things that make you feel young, alive, and inspired. For some, that may be comic books. And although comics were never a big part of my life after I left that job, there were a few that really resonated with me. My own children definitely love their age-appropriate comics, but I’ve learned that most comics today actually have a target audience of teens through grown adults. If you’re not familiar with comic books other than the superhero blockbusters of your youth, I encourage you to check out the seemingly endless variety of modern comics. Many have interesting, complex concepts and themes, a myriad of styles of artwork,  and there are many genres to choose from (not just humor as their name suggests). If you don’t know where to start, just ask one of the knowledgeable employees at any of these amazing Portland comic book shops and they’ll be more than happy to help. For the rest of you that already know what you want and love, what are you waiting for?! Hop on a bus and get yourself to one of Portland’s many comic book shops.


Websites for each location are listed below and should be referenced for store hours and further details on each shop’s specialty. Also listed are the nearest TriMet stops to each shop. For further trip planning assistance, visit TriMet.org and enter your starting location and the location of your desired shop for a detailed trip itinerary.

Bridge City Comics

3725 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227, (503) 282-5484

BridgeCityPhoto by Marie Richie on flickr

“Bridge City Comics is dedicated to fulfilling the needs of comic book enthusiasts in Portland, Oregon! We are firmly committed to expanding the market and educating people about the fun and excitement that goes along with enjoying comic books and graphic novels.”

Visit bridgecitycomics.com

Accessibility:


 

Cosmic Monkey Comics Inc

5335 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR 97213, (503) 517-9050

CosmicComicShopPhoto by Janet Lackey on flickr

“We carry a full selection of new comics, back issues, graphic novels and supplies. Whether it’s that elusive hot new title or obscure back issue from the vaults, we can find it for you. We delight in filling special orders and searching for the issues you need to fill those empty holes in your collection and your soul.”

Visit cosmicmonkeycomics.com

Accessibility:


Excalibur Books & Comics

2444 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214, (503) 231-7351

Photo by Christopher Sohler on flickr

“Excalibur comics is the oldest comic book shop in Portland, OR. Excalibur boasts the largest back-stock inventory in the Pacific Northwest, including an impressive collection of Golden and Silver Age comics as well as literally millions of current issues that we diligently keep organized and accessible to our patrons. We also have a wide selection of trade paperbacks, graphic novels, manga, and more!”

Visit excaliburcomics.net

Accessibility:


Floating World Comics

400 NW Couch St, Portland, OR 97209, (503) 241-0227

FloatingWorldPhoto by Joshin Yamada on flickr

“Floating World Comics is a store for people who still like going to stores. We’re a bookstore that just happens to carry the coolest books of all – comics. But also art books, international art magazines, graphic design, illustration, animation, music and movie related items, anything that might serve as inspiration for creative people looking for something new.”

Visit floatingworldcomics.com

Accessibility:


Future Dreams

1847 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214, (503) 231-8311

FutureDreamsPhoto by Christopher Sohler on flickr

“We have been a full service Science Fiction and Comic Book Specialty Bookstore for over 35 years. We carry a full line of new items in the field. We also have an extensive supply of back issue comics and magazines, pre-owned paperback and hardcover novels, collectible paperbacks, prints, posters and portfolios, graphic novels, statues and much more.”

Visit futuredreamsbooks.com

Accessibility:


Things From Another World

Portland Store: 2916 NE Broadway St., Portland, OR 97232(503) 284-4693

Milwaukie store: 10977 SE Main St., Milwaukie, OR 97222, (503) 652-2752

ThingsPhoto by Joshin Yamada on flickr

“If you’ve been looking for comic book stores, look no further. Things From Another World is the premier comic book store in the world. Visit one of our four local comic book shops in Oregon and California, or order online and we’ll carefully pack and ship your comics and graphic novels right to your door! No matter what you’re into, TFAW.com is the online comic book store that has just the thing for your collection!”

Visit tfaw.com

Accessiblity to Portland store:

Accessibility to Milwaukie store:


 

Article by Stephanie Paris

Cover photo by Sam Howzit on flickr

Restaurants on the Route: Bus Line 15 – Belmont/NW 23rd

The TriMet line 15-Belmont/NW 23rd connects Gateway, SE Portland, Portland City Center, and Nob Hill. The route continues to connect Nob Hill to NW Gordon, or to connect Montgomery Park and the NW Industrial neighborhood. On such a long route, there is no shortage of great eateries. These are just a few of my personal favorites.

1. Meriwether’s Restaurant & Skyline Farm 2601 NW Vaughn St, Portland, OR 97210

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhoto by Adam Sawyer

4 Stars on Yelp. $$$

“One way to make sure you’re cooking with the freshest ingredients is to grow them yourself. Meriwether’s grows the produce it serves at its own Skyline Farm and is proud to be among only a handful of truly farm-to-table restaurants across the country.” ~Meriwether’s Restaurant & Skyline Farm

Nearest Line 15 bus stops:

Click here to read my feature post on Meriwether’s.


 

2. St. Honoré Bakery 2335 NW Thurman St, Portland, OR 97210

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhoto by Adam Sawyer

4 Stars on Yelp. $$

“From the selection of our quality ingredients to our traditional baking techniques, our menu reflects the French baking tradition in combination with the flavors of the season. In addition to honoring traditional methods, we encourage our production staff to expose their creative talents and develop their own recipes.” ~St Honoré

Nearest Line 15 bus stops:

Click here to read my feature post on St Honoré.


 

3. Huber’s Cafe 411 SW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR 97204

Photo by drburtoni on Flickr

4 Stars on Yelp. $$

“Specializing in a traditional turkey dinner Huber’s also serves Certified Angus Beef, fresh seafood, entrée salads and a variety of pasta dishes. Their signature drink is Spanish Coffee prepared tableside with great flair.” ~Huber’s Cafe

Nearest line 15 bus stops:

Click here to read my feature post on Huber’s Cafe.


 

4. Cascade Brewing 939 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR 97214

CascadePhoto by Christopher Murphy on flickr

4 Stars on Yelp. $$

“Tart, barrel-aged beers are the emerging beer style and Cascade Brewing is a pioneer of the NW style sour beer movement. We are, by nature, the definition of artisanal brewing: we’re not bound by stylistic guidelines, just our own imagination and the ingredients we can access.” ~Cascade Brewing

Nearest line 15 bus stops:

Click here to read my feature post on Cascade Brewing.


 

5. The Country Cat Dinnerhouse & Bar 7937 SE Stark St, Portland, OR 97215

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhoto by Adam Sawyer

4 Stars on Yelp. $$

“At The Country Cat Dinner House & Bar, American craft cooking is truly at its prime. The seasonally-focused menu represents the best local offerings from surrounding markets; in fact, 65 percent of their produce is hand-picked from the farmer’s market.” ~The Country Cat Dinnerhouse & Bar

Nearest line 15 bus stops:

Click here to read my feature post on The Country Cat.


 

6. Miyamoto Sushi 420 SE 81st Ave, Portland, OR 97215

MiyamotoPhoto by Stephanie Paris

4 Stars on Yelp. $$

“Amazing Sushi on the corner of 81st and Stark.” ~Miyamoto Sushi

Nearest line 15 bus stops:

Click here to read my feature post on Miyamoto Sushi.


Article by Stephanie Paris

Cover photo by Adam Sawyer

A Hike from Balch Creek to The Pittock Mansion

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Photo by Frank Paris

The Balch Creek Canyon is one of the most beautiful urban canyons to be found anywhere. The transition from crowded city streets to peaceful canopied trail and flourishing canyon happens so quickly that you’ll find it hard to believe a bustling city is just steps away. Located in the Macleay Park section of Forest Park, the trail begins at the Lower Macleay Park Trailhead and soon joins up with the Wildwood Trail. Although the diverse trail system of Forest Park can take you on a number of unique adventures though the 5,100-acre park, one of my favorites is the heart-pumping trip through Balch Creek Canyon up to the historic Pittock Mansion

Leaving from the lower trailhead at the terminus of Northwest Upshur Street, the trail begins smooth and paved as it enters the canyon. But the concrete soon ends, and the surroundings become more wild and lush as the canyon walls rise. The largest Doug fir trees in Portland are in this part of the park, as well as native cutthroat trout. Discovered in 1987, the small population of trout that reside in the creek helped solidify efforts to restore the health of the entire watershed.

BalchCreek-Castle-webPhoto by Adam Sawyer

After 0.85 miles, you’ll come to a junction with the Wildwood Trail. Just past this turnoff you’ll find the Stone House, also known as “The Witch’s Castle.” Despite its medieval appearance, what remains here is the stone framework of an elaborate rest station, once with bathrooms, that was originally erected by the Civilian Conservation Corps back in the 1930s (though what you tell the kids about the mossy, fern-covered tribute to spookiness is entirely up to you).

Continue straight along the path that follows the creek, cross over a footbridge, and soon the trail ascends up three long switchbacks to the Upper Macleay Park on Cornell Road, .54 miles from the Stone House. Follow the path around the parking lot and use the crosswalk to cross Cornell Road and pick up the Wildwood Trail on the other side. The trail continues steadily up hill to the Pittock Mansion parking lot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhoto by Frank Paris

The Pittock Mansion holds historical significance, and the visual magnificence of the mansion and its grounds, including views of Portland’s skyline and Mt. Hood, offer a generous reward for your efforts.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhoto by Frank Paris

Touring the grounds is free, but for an extra treat, I highly recommend paying the small entrance fee to tour the inside of the mansion. The exquisite artifacts, furniture, art, and every other piece of the house has been carefully preserved, and the moment you step into the mansion, you feel as though you’ve stepped 100 years back in time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA      Photos by Frank Paris

Once you’ve satiated your Downton Abbey fantasies, head back the way you came, and enjoy the lush forest as you descend back down the trail, across Cornell road, and down through the Balch Creek Canyon. The total hike is approximately 5 miles round trip, with about 900 feet of elevation gain. 

How to get there by bus:

From downtown, board Line 15 at SW Washington & Broadway stop ID 6137. Alternatively, you can also take line 77 from the rose quarter transit center stop ID 2592. Whichever bus you choose, you’ll get off at NW Vaughn & 27th stop ID 8802To get to the trailhead, walk east on Vaughn St., turn left on 26th Ave, right on Upshur St., and walk a short distance to the Lower Macleay Park Trailhead. Visit trimet.org‘s trip planning page and enter your starting location and use the ending location of stop ID 8802 to get your specific route and scheduled departures/arrivals.

Collaborative article by Adam Sawyer and Stephanie Paris

The Bite of Oregon

Bite

The Bite of Oregon is an annual festival and fundraising event for Special Olympics Oregon that takes place at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland. It is a celebration of some of the many things that make Oregon unique, highlighting our abundant quality of life in terms of our food, drink, entertainment, and community. As you experience the Bite, you’ll discover so many reasons why some of us just can’t leave Oregon, and why others keep coming back. With downtown Portland being one of the easiest destinations to get to by bus, there’s no excuse not to journey down to what is sure to be one of the tastiest events of the summer.

Food:

Mist

This year’s theme is Oregon’s Bounty, and as expected, some of Oregon’s culinary finest will be there in full force to bring you delicious preparations using Oregon’s local seafood, beef, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, potatoes, dairy, and more. Bites at each vendor will range from $2 – $9, and between the Oregon Bounty Chef’s Table, food carts, specialty food vendors, and desserts, the offerings are sure to please the most discerning palate.

Drink:

Beer

With a whopping 718 vineyards, 314 wineries, and more than 40 varieties of wine, Oregon is one of the top wine destinations for wine connoisseurs and amateurs alike. The tap also flows freely with an abundance of beer in Oregon, with 120 brewing companies in the state. Though these breweries are spread across 59 cities in Oregon, Portland boasts 51 operational breweries, more than any other city in the world. Some of the finest of these libations will be on site to sample, as well as many non-alcoholic choices as well.

Entertainment:

Entertainment
The Bite has all your entertainment bases covered. With two music stages and a full lineup each day of the festival, the Garden Stage and Vineyard Stage provide top notch local musical artists. There’s even a Kids Area Stage that’s fun for the whole family, featuring kid-friendly activities including interactive stage performances from the School of Rock, as well as face painting, balloon artist, and much more. And of course it wouldn’t feel complete without culinary entertainment. At the Northwest Chef’s Stage, watch cooking demonstrations, and even Iron Chef competitions with local Oregon chefs.

The 31st annual Bite of Oregon takes place August 8th, 9th, and 10th. For more information including event times and ticket prices, please visit the Bite of Oregon website.

This event is accessible by TriMet bus lines 4, 6, 9, 10, 14, 15, 17, 19, 31, 32, 33, 35, 36, 38, 44, 45, 51, 54, 55, 56, 92, 99, Max Blue, and Max Red. See this complete list for the closest stops to Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Visit TriMet’s trip planner for further assistance in planning your trip. 

 

Photo credit:

Header: Phil Romans on flickr / Bite of Oregon Chef: Loren Kerns on flickr / Tacos: Adam Sawyer / Beer: Adam Fagan on flickr / Stage performer: Electrolatino on flickr

 

Restaurants on the Route: Bus Line 4 – Division/Fessenden

The TriMet line 4-Division/Fessenden route is a long one. It connects and travels through Gresham, SE Portland, Portland City Center, Old Town/Chinatown, Union Station, the Rose Quarter, NE Portland and St. Johns. As you can imagine, there are a great number of restaurants worth exploring along this route. As I find ones I love, this page will be updated with the addition of newfound hot spots. As of now, these are my top 5 restaurants on the Line 4 route.

1. Butterfly Belly 6036 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97206

Photo by Stephanie Paris

4.5 Stars on Yelp. $

“As butterflies selectively collect nectar and pollens from all over, Butterfly Belly’s selection of many popular dishes from all over Asia strides to please our guests with warm and colorful ambiance, uncompromising hospitality, fresh, healthy, and most importantly tasty food.” ~Butterfly Belly

Nearest Line 4 bus stops:

Click here to read my feature post on Butterfly Belly.


 

2. Tangier 221 SW Pine St, Portland, OR 97204

SpinachPiePhoto by Stephanie Paris

5 Stars on Yelp. $$

“A warm and welcoming family restaurant conveniently located in downtown Portland near the water front, noted for serving the finest msot traditional Moroccan and Mediterranean available. Our casually elegant atmosphere and exquisite cuisine will enhance any dining or celebration experience.” ~Tangier

Nearest Line 4 bus stops:

Click here to read my feature post on Tangier.


 

3. Samurai Blue 3807 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227

Photo by Adam Sawyer

4.5 Stars on Yelp. $$

“A tantalizing variety of hot and cold dishes, sushi and sake.” ~Samurai Blue

Nearest Line 4 bus stops:

Click here to read my feature post on Samurai Blue.


 

4. Sidecar 11 3955 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhoto by Adam Sawyer

4 Stars on Yelp. $$

“Sidecar 11 is perfect for celebrations, joining friends with food and beverage in a small bar setting. The food menu emphasizes simple creation small plates and the bar creates unique and classic style cocktails with a dedication to the art of mixing drinks.” ~Sidecar 11

Nearest Line 4 bus stops:

Click here to read my feature post on Sidecar 11.


 

5. Signal Station Pizza 8302 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97203

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhoto by Adam Sawyer

4 Stars on Yelp. $

“We pride ourselves on serving a delicious pizzas at a fair price. Our goals are to provide both a quality product and and friendly service. Our menu offers artisan pizzas, calzones, sub sandwiches and salads. We also serve sodas, beer by the bottle and on-tap,  and a fine selection wines by the glass or bottle.” ~Signal Station Pizza

Nearest Line 4 bus stops:

Click here to read my feature post on Signal Station.


Article by Stephanie Paris

Pickathon Indie Roots Music Festival

The Pickathon Indie Roots Music Festival at Pendarvis Farm in Portland, Oregon is like no other music festival you’ve been to. When I began to write this article, I sat for a long time staring at a blank page, wondering how I could possibly translate its awesomeness into a few-hundred-word blog post. And I’ve come to realize, I just can’t. This event more than others is something that you simply must experience to really get it. Hopefully the words I did come up with will suffice, and leave you wanting to go out and get the experience.

Here is a list of the top seven things that make Pickathon the greatest music festival I have ever attended.

1. The Vibe:

DSC_0261

While I am no stranger to music festivals, I am also not a music festival junkie. Sometimes when I think of the term “music festival,” I get visions of thousands of college-aged kids in a large field in the sun, drugged out of their minds, trance dancing, and drinking booze out of plastic cups. While those kinds of music festivals certainly exist, Pickathon is an entirely different breed. There is definitely alcohol consumption, but the collective consciousness of the folks in attendance somehow manages to keep everyone respectful of others, and the overall vibe of the group is unparalleled. It feels safe, because it is, and the people there are people that you actually want to hang out with. This is just one factor that helps this festival be the most family friendly festival around.

2. Kids are FREE:

DSC_0378

Another way Pickathon welcomes families is that children 12 and under get in free. And once they’re in, children’s itineraries can be just as full as any grownup’s, with organized craft projects, circus classes, performances geared especially towards kids. Here’s an example of the Kids & Family Schedule from 2014.  There’s even a designated quiet and family camping zone (silence not guaranteed). Oh, did I mention that this is a weekend festival with the (strongly recommended!) option to camp?!

3. Camping:

DSC_0189

Purchasing the weekend ticket gets you camping access for the whole weekend. Music takes place all day long and into the wee hours of the night on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. With an early bird pass, you can camp Thursday night, which helps ensure you have your pick of the campsites. Monday morning campers must leave, and most are already longingly looking forward to doing it all again next year.

4. Sustainability:

DSC_0315

Pickathon is the nation’s greenest music festival. It’s the first festival in the country to eliminate single-use plastic cups and containers from their vendors. They have been replaced with reusable Klean Kanteen stainless steel cups, and have used Bambooware dishes and utensils. Both are available for purchase at Pickathon, and they’ve even got a cool token system for the dishes so you don’t even have to clean them yourself. Alternatively, you can also bring your own reusable dishware, and they have convenient dish washing stations to make things easy. Here’s a great infographic about how it works. Pickathon makes great use of solar power. They have a permanently installed solar array on the rooftop of the Galaxy Barn (one of their stages is located inside). According to their website, “the energy generated during the year offsets 100% of the energy used during the festival in the Galaxy Barn plus 100% of the electricity used by the food and craft vendors.” They also host three portable solar power generators throughout the festival to help with their electricity needs, including powering a cell phone charging station for festival-goers. They also offer free drinking water all weekend long. Have they really thought if everything? I think they have.

5. It’s relatively small:

DSC_0238

Pickathon only sells a limited amount of tickets, which means that between ticket-holders, volunteers, staff, and children, the festival caps out at about 7,000, as opposed to the 20,000-person capacity that they could accommodate if they wanted to cram people in like what happens at other music festivals. The smaller crowds makes the festival more intimate, clean, safe, and overall a much more enjoyable experience.

6. Great Music:

One of the countries greatest music festival isn’t great without talented musicians! One of my favorite things about Pickathon is that you won’t find just one genre of music. In the past I have seen folk, blues, rockabilly, African, funk, indie pop, bluegrass, and so much more. They’ve had lineups with musical greats like The Avett Brothers, Andrew Bird, Feist, Neko Case, Mavis Staples, X, and Nickel Creek. Besides the more well known performers, each year I discover new bands that I’ve never heard of, but that blow my mind when I see them live at Pickathon. After 11 years of attending this festival, I absolutely know without a doubt that I will enjoy the music, even if I’m not familiar with many of the bands in the lineup.

7. Public Transportation:

DSC_0133

Pickathon makes alternatives modes of transportation a breeze. They want as many people as possible to leave their cars at home, and have made this easy by providing frequent EcoShuttle service between Clackamas Town Center (near the MAX station) and the Pickathon at Pendarvis Farm. Clackamas Town Center is served by the MAX Green Line, and bus lines 28, 29, 30, 33, 71, 72, 79, 152, 155, and 156. Alternatively, if you don’t want to pay the EcoShuttle fee, you can take TriMet line 155 from the Clackamas Town Center TC, get off at SE Misty & 162nd, and walk just under a mile to the festival site (16581 SE Hagen Rd.) For assistance in getting to the Clackamas Town Center, just visit TriMet’s trip planner, and enter in your starting location, use Clackamas Town Center TC (Stop ID 13247) for your ending location if you’ll be using the EcoShuttle, or use stop ID 13159 if you’ll be bussing then walking. Pickathon also encourages commuting by bike, and even offer gear shuttles. Check their website for more info.

I am genuinely elated when it’s time for Pickathon each year. Those of you that have been before know exactly what I’m talking about. And for those of you that may be going for the first time, whether you go for just one day, or camp the entire weekend to get the full experience, I am certain that it will be one of the best things you will do all year.

Pickathon is an annual event that takes place the first weekend in August. For more information, including this year’s musical lineup, please visit the Pickathon.com.

DSC_0271

DSC_0126

DSC_0211

DSC_0220

 

All photos copyright Stephanie Paris

Beat the Heat: Cool off in Portland’s Interactive Fountains

Whether you’re a parent or a caretaker, one of the perks of caring for children is that you get to play. We end up doing things that we most likely never would have done otherwise, not because they’re not fun things to do, but because our grownup minds don’t as often think of them… until we find ourselves in situations like needing to quell our rosy-cheeked children when their own valiant efforts to tolerate the apathetic summer heat are not enough. Portland my be rainy and cloudy 9 month out of the year, but when it’s summer, boy, it’s summer! And one of the greatest ways to beat the heat is by getting wet.

Portland is known for its remarkable fountains. Lucky for us, many of them are interactive, meaning you can join the spritzing, sprinkling fountains with your own splashing and frolicking.

Some safety tips to keep in mind: don’t drink the water (it is often recycled for conservation purposes), keep a watchful eye on your children, and be cautious of slippery surfaces.

Whether you have children or not, get yourself out into one of Portland’s many interactive fountains. Chances are you may not have had this much fun playing in water since you were a child in your own backyard sprinkler.

SW Portland

Salmon Street Springs

Location: Waterfront Park , SW Naito Parkway at SW Salmon St

Hours: 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM spring/summer/fall

Accessibility:

Ira Keller Forecourt Fountain

Location:  Keller Fountain Park, SW 3rd Ave & SW Clay St

Hours: 5:00 AM – 9:00 PM spring/summer/fall

Accessibility:

Courtesy of Stephanie Paris

Teachers Fountain

Location: Director Park, SW Yamhill St & SW Park Ave

Hours: Typically 9:00 AM-10:00 PM, Check events schedule for closures: Director Park calendar

Accessibility:

Bill Naito Legacy Fountain

Location: Waterfront Park, Burnside Bridge & SW Naito Parkway

Hours: All hours, except Fridays from 3:00-11:00 AM, upper fountain is turned off during Saturday Market hours

Accessibility:

SE Portland

The Rose Petal

Location: Stark Street Island Park, SE 106th Ave & Stark St

Hours: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM spring/summer/fall

Accessibility:

North Portland

Peninsula Park Rose Garden Fountain

Location: Peninsula Park Rose Garden, N Albina Ave & N Ainsworth St

Hours: 5:00 AM – 10:00 PM spring/summer/fall

Accessibility:

McCoy Fountain

Location: McCoy Park, N Trenton & N Newman Ave

Hours: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM spring/summer/fall

Accessibility:

NE Portland

Holladay Park

Location: Holladay Park, NE 11th Ave & NE Multnomah St

Hours: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM spring/summer/fall

Accessibility:

NW Portland

Jamison Square Fountain

Location: Jamison Square, between NW Kearney St & Johnson St, and NW 10th & 11th Aves

Hours: 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM spring/summer/fall

Accessibility:

How to enjoy your time on the bus.

 

JustinHouk

There are different ways to look at time spent in transit. One view is that commuting by bus can sometimes take longer than it would if commuting by car, and therefore can feel like a waste of time. I personally choose a different view. The time I spend on a bus or train is always productive, in one sense or another, even if it’s just relaxing after a long day. And if you think about it, bus and car both get you from point a to point b, however when you’re driving, that’s all you can accomplish. One of the nice things about commuting by bus is that someone else does the driving. This opens up some extra time in your day to get things done. So which one really is the more efficient use of your time? Below are some things that you can do to be productive, or just pass the time while using public transportation.

Read. Whether it be a novel, magazine, or a website on your electronic device, reading is a fantastic way to pass the time, especially because once you’re at home or work, there are usually other responsibilities that keep you from the luxury of reading.

Knit/Crochet. I can’t tell you how many knitting projects that I’ve started and finished on the bus. It feels so great to be so productive while in transit. Don’t know how to knit? Youtube is a fantastic way to learn how to knit or crochet, where there is a plethora of how-to videos. Click here for an example.

Work/Play on your laptop. A long bus commute can serve as extra time for work or play on your computer. If a wifi connection is needed, many smartphones can also be used as personal wifi hotspots. Click here for a how-to tutorial.

Listen to music. Whether on your smartphone, mp3 player, or portable radio, listening to music can be so enjoyable on the bus. Sometimes it may be the only time you get to really listen without distractions to your favorite band, opera, or podcast. Just remember to keep the volume of your headphones down to a level that doesn’t disturb others.

Meal-plan. I always find that my family and I eat healthiest when I have taken the time to plan our meals for the week. We also waste less food, shop more efficiently, and it ends up being much more economical. You can do it the old fashioned way by bringing along a favorite cookbook and a writing notebook, or just use your smartphone or laptop to look up recipes and make your lists.

Phone or text a friend. I like to reserve actual phone calls for times when the bus isn’t very crowded. I don’t like to be “that person” who’s having a loud conversation that everyone else finds annoying. Use your best discretion and respect other riders. Chatting via text can also be fun and much more private.

Watch a movie. Again, technology wins. Smartphones offer a myriad of ways to view your favorite tv shows and movies. If you are a cable subscriber, there are even smartphone apps that allow you to watch various networks’ programming on your mobile device. Just remember to pack and use your headphones.

Daydream, relax, meditate. A bus commute can often be the one time in the day when you don’t have to do anything. No work, no children to tend to, nothing to do but be with yourself and your thoughts. Take this moment to breathe and relax.

 

Image in post courtesy of Justin Houk on flickr.

Restaurants on the Route: easily accessible, palate-worthy dining options

I’ve lived in a handful of different neighborhoods during my 30+ years in Portland, and one of my favorite things to do is discover restaurants that are so good that they keep me coming back for more. The challenge of commuting solely by bus is the difficulty in finding a good restaurant that is reachable by just a single bus from your starting location.

Years ago I moved into a neighborhood that I had never lived in before. There was not much within walking distance from me, and I slowly developed a Scrooge-like attitude as I pouted about not having any worthwhile restaurants to go to when I wanted to eat out. For close to two years I remained cynical, and spent 45 minutes or more on buses to journey back to the restaurants I knew and loved in my old neighborhood. Then, one hunger-filled day, all of that changed. I happened to see for the first time a sushi place called Sushi & Maki in a strip mall near my house. I’m sure I had unconsciously seen it dozens of times before, but my brain must not have acknowledged it. Because really, do good sushi restaurants exist in a strip mall on 82nd ave?

20140702-170321-61401421.jpg

I decided to give it a chance, first on yelp of course, and to my surprise, it had a solid 4-star rating and a ton of reviews! I ate there immediately, and sure enough, it was outstanding: good service, a nice ambiance, and most importantly great food.

20140702-170431-61471229.jpg

That day left me wanting more. I knew there had to be more great restaurants like this one that were conveniently located just a short bus ride from my front door. Over the next few months, with the help of yelp and the TriMet trip planner, I discovered a good amount of quality restaurants for brunch, lunch, and dinner that were all on one of the two bus routes that passed by my house. My goal for this series on Portland By Bus is to feature palate-worthy dining options on each of TriMet’s bus, MAX, and Portland Streetcar routes. I hope to feature a new route each week until all are completed. If you are eager to see what your neighborhood has to offer, add a comment here requesting which bus route closest to your house or hotel you would like me to feature next. In the meantime, it looks like I’ll be eating out a lot!

Images in post courtesy of idine.com.

The 4T Trail: A Quintessential Portland Experience

Portland’s 4T Trail is quite possibly the coolest city/forest/transit adventure in existence. The T’s of the 4T Trail stand for Train (MAX), Trail, Tram, and Trolley (Portland Streetcar). When combined, these T’s create an approximately nine-mile loop and a quintessential Portland experience. The 4T highlights some of the city’s best assets: urban parks and trails, stunning views of volcanoes and cityscapes, a tram ride, and our legendary public transportation. For all these reasons and more, the 4T makes for an excellent outing for adventurers of all ages.

There are four different trailheads, one for each T of the trip. And although you can begin the trip at any of the trailheads, I prefer to start and finish downtown, making the Train the first T segment of the trip. Before you begin your journey, you’ll want to purchase a TriMet Day Pass at one of the fareboxes located at any MAX stop. Put your ticket in a safe place, as it is valid on the Portland Streetcar as well.

train

Hop on a westbound MAX train, either the Red Line towards Beaverton or the Blue Line towards Hillsboro. Both will get you to your stop at Washington Park/Oregon Zoo. If you’re travelling with children, you might want to alert them of the awesomeness that you are about experience as you enter a tunnel that takes you deep beneath the zoo. At 260 feet below the surface, the MAX station at Washington Park is the deepest transit station in North America! Get off here and take the elevator up to the zoo parking area where you will begin the second T of your trip.

highway26     4t trail sign

The Trail segment of the loop departs from the Washington Park MAX station and takes you on a 4.5-mile hike up to OHSU. Begin the hike by walking over to the zoo entrance, but not into the zoo. We’ll save that for another trip. Follow the sidewalk as it leads you downhill and out of the parking area. Remember to watch for the 4T signs. The sidewalk will lead you over Highway 26. Cross the eastbound onramp to the shoulder and take a left, hiking east down the onramp a short distance. Don’t be fooled by the unmarked boot path off to the right. Wait until you see the sign marking the 4T Trail and begin hiking up the Marquam Trail towards Council Crest. Even though you’re within city limits, you’d never know it by the lush beauty of this forest. Once you reach the summit of Council Crest, the highest point in Portland proper, soak up the views and take a well-earned breather before descending into the Marquam Nature Park. Follow the 4T Trail signs, which eventually lead you to Fairmount Blvd where you will turn right to take the Urban Shortcut to the Tram.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Tram from OHSU is the third T segment of your journey. Hours vary, but the ride is free since you’re heading down. The ride is brief but breathtaking, especially on a clear day when the volcanic peaks are visible. Although the tram’s main purpose is the daily commute of hospital staff, it sure is a fun 5 minutes for those of us that don’t get to take the ride every day!

Once you exit the Tram, the OHSU Commons streetcar (Trolley) stop is just steps away. The streetcar signifies the end of hiking or standing, and your final T segment of the day, so take a load off. Enjoy the ride for ten full stops, exiting the streetcar at the Central Library (SW 10th & SW Yamhill). I love finishing at this downtown location because it is an optimal spot to grab lunch or dinner. If you’re looking for a tasty bite, Elephants in the Park, located at Director Park (SW Taylor and SW 9th) is a crowdpleaser. If you want a sweet treat, try TartBerry for delicious self-serve frozen yogurt (SW 9th & SW Taylor). There are a number of options here, including the food cart pod at SW 9th and SW Alder, so you should be able to find many tasty ways to reward your day’s efforts.

TartBerry

For maps and detailed directions, please check out the 4T website.

(Original story by Adam Sawyer, adapted with permission by Stephanie Paris)