Portland Weekend Getaways: Olympic National Park

Portland Weekend Getaways: Olympic National Park

The Pacific Northwest of the United States is a wonderland of snow-capped mountains, lush rainforests and foggy coastlines, and the far northwest corner exemplifies all of those qualities. The Olympic Peninsula, the “top-left” corner of Washington state and the lower 48 states, is a relatively small (about 3600 square miles) area of land has more diverse landscapes than perhaps any other similarly sized piece of land anywhere in the world. The interior of the peninsula is dominated by the Olympic Mountains…

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Portland Weekend Getaways: Mt. Rainier National Park

Portland Weekend Getaways: Mt. Rainier National Park

I love Oregon and tend to be biased toward our many natural treasures. But an advantage to living in Portland is having easy access to not only everything Oregon has to offer, but also the abundance of natural wonders claimed by our neighbor to the north, Washington. The crown jewel is massive Mt. Rainier, one of the earliest national parks and the 2nd tallest mountain in the lower 48 states. Topping out at 14,411 feet and capped by 26 major glaciers,…

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The Glacial Lagoon Jökulsárlón, Iceland

The Glacial Lagoon Jökulsárlón, Iceland

On the southeast coast of Iceland lies Jökulsárlón, one of the most beautiful and photogenic areas in the country (and that is saying something). Jökulsárlón translated into English means “glacial river lagoon”, as descriptive a name as you will ever find. Over time, as the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier slowly recedes from the ocean shore, the lagoon has slowly filled the deep glacial valley left behind. The chunks of ice breaking off the glacier now make a journey of about 1 mile…

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Five Historic Portland Neighborhoods Nearly Destroyed by Highway Projects

Five Historic Portland Neighborhoods Nearly Destroyed by Highway Projects

The rise of the automobile as the most common form of transportation after World War II made building highways a top post-war priority. As cities were connected by larger highways with higher capacities, and the suburbs blossomed on the edges of urban areas, the need for high-capacity corridors through major cities became more acute. Before 1950, most highways were routed on city streets in urban areas, streets that often were designed for a fraction of the traffic. Historic postcard of…

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Five (More) of Portland’s Biggest Mistakes

Five (More) of Portland’s Biggest Mistakes

Amusement park on Council Crest As I said in my original post, “Five of Portland’s Greatest Mistakes“, I love this city and I think we make more correct decisions than bad ones. Still, mistakes are made that many of us wish could be undone; here are five more.

Five of Portland’s Biggest Mistakes

Five of Portland’s Biggest Mistakes

As you can probably guess, I love Portland. More than that, I firmly believe that, as a community, Portland does more things right than it does wrong. No city is perfect, though, the Rose City included. Here are five big mistakes that we have made as a community in the past.

Sellwood’s Disappearing History

Sellwood’s Disappearing History

In a sleepy corner of Sellwood, nestled against the city limits and the Waverly Golf Club, is a disappearing part of Portland’s extensive history of rail transportation. The non-descript entrance to the hidden Garthwick neighborhood and the extant buildings don’t give a lot of clues to the bustling activity you would have seen here one hundred years ago. While many people know Portland once had an extensive streetcar system, they often don’t know that Portland also had the nation’s first…

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Five Ideas for the Future of Portland’s Freeways

Five Ideas for the Future of Portland’s Freeways

The Marquam Bridge looms over SW Portland It’s been over 40 years since the Freeway Revolts helped keep Portland from following other American cities into the tangled abyss of massive freeway infrastructures. In what may be the major turning point in Portland’s modern history, residents of Portland began to reject the plan put forward by the Godfather of freeways in America, Robert Moses. That plan had already led to the I-5, I-84, I-405 and Highway 26 freeways, the construction of…

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Portlandia (the Statue) and The Portland Building

Portlandia (the Statue) and The Portland Building

Portlandia Statue, viewed from the south In 1980, Portland was planning a new building to house many of its public workers, and decided to hold a design competition (a fairly novel ideal at the time). The winner, famed architect (and designer of snazzy Target blenders) Michael Graves, produced what is considered the first major “postmodern” building, the Portland Building (apparently, a contest to name the building was not a priority). At the time, glass curtain boxes with little personality had…

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Ten of Portland’s Top Architectural Landmarks

Ten of Portland’s Top Architectural Landmarks

SW Corner of the Portland Building Portland lands on a lot of internet top ten lists these days, but one list it might not make is one of top architectural cities. The Rose City hasn’t been graced by a plethora of major architectural works from the likes of a Frank Lloyd Wright, Frank Gehry or I.M. Pei. Portland is a city that likes to let its nature due to the talking, and I think most of us are OK with…

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Exploring Churches in Downtown Portland

Exploring Churches in Downtown Portland

Portland Korean Church from the west When you think of Portland, religion may not be the first thing that springs to mind, but like most cities, a lot of Portland’s most interesting historical buildings are churches. I’ve been trying to capture as many as possible while walking around the city. In this post, we visit several churches in the southwest corner of downtown, generally in the area from the South Park Blocks to the Stadium Freeway (I-405). Almost all of…

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Where is the Highest Point in Portland?

Where is the Highest Point in Portland?

The view from Council Crest is amazing, but it isn’t the highest point in Portland. A question often asked by visitors and newcomers to the city is “where is the highest point in Portland?”. It isn’t obvious where the highest point is, even if you’ve lived here for years. While Mt. Tabor and Rocky Butte are among the most prominent, they both fall well under the height of the West Hills. In many cities, a good guess is “whichever hill…

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Five of Portland’s Best Outdoor Viewpoints

Five of Portland’s Best Outdoor Viewpoints

Mt. Hood from Rocky Butte Park, WPA stonework in foreground Catching a great view has always been one of my favorite pastimes. There are very few people who don’t enjoy a magnificent view from a high vantage point, and Portland is chock full of fantastic spots to indulge. On this list, we are looking at outdoor viewpoints; there are several buildings that also have great views located around town but it can often feel weird to enter a building just…

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Eleven Festive European Christmas Markets

Eleven Festive European Christmas Markets

Nothing gets you in the holiday spirit faster than walking through a European Christmas market. That’s just a fact. The Europeans have been doing this for a long, long time, in some cases for over 700 years. The traditions run deep, and every market seems to have the just the right mix of food, fun and festivities. Some are small, some are huge, but they all seem to have more in common than not. The smell of bratwursts, roasting nuts and, of course, glühwein (a…

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