Today seemed like the ultimate day of Portlandness—the expected, the unexpected, the tight community, the homelessness, the industrial, and nature.
Another highlight of the Southeast this morning was the Portland Pint Size Puppet Museum. It wasn’t open when we went by, but I can only hope to come by again later.
We headed out from Oak Bottoms over to the amazing painted intersection at SE Sherrett and 9th Ave. I had read about the painted intersections in the Portlandness book—but this blew my mind.
Each side of the 4 way stop had a piece of art, a handcrafted bench, a place for kids to place, or a free tea stand (!!!!). What??!!! This is the sort of tight community trusting love that Portland has a reputation for.
What’s funny is I mentioned that I visited this oasis to multiple locals, and they were almost jaded to the idea that such a magical place could exist. If only every town felt as trusting and supportive of their neighbors.
From there, we hit up a few nondescript stairs around McLoughlin before getting on the iconic Springwater Trail. It follows Springwater Creek and crosses over Johnson Creek—where Coho salmon have been found spawning recently in the city near some of the heavier industrial areas.
The trail then goes into an industrial area that smelled strongly of VOCs. Then we hit Cartlandia—a carnival of food carts. It was everything I hoped for and more and decision making was difficult to say the least.
We continued on the Springwater towards Powell Butte and were rewarded with a perfectly centered view of Mt. Hood.
The best thing I’ve seen in Portland so far was Powell Butte. I love this hike. As soon as we entered the woods, it smelled and felt like being in the wildlands. Both Virgo and I were immediately taken back to the PCT. The climb was gentle and the trail was well-marked. Like the absolute best well marked trail I’ve ever seen.
Powell Butte’s “peak” was like being on some of my favorite parts of the Appalachian Trail with Pacific Crest Trail views. It was like a grassy gently bald with views of three snow-covered volcanos. Dropping from that grassy bald back down into the temperate rainforest reminded me so much of being back in Tennessee on the AT that it was hard to leave because I loved it so much.
The rest of the day was immediately suburban sprawly—the sort that I didn’t really think existed in Portland. We walked on Holgate, a wide, fast-moving street. I was immediately reminded of where I grew up in Sacramento. It was miles and miles of Sacramento in Portland.
A highlight was stopping at the Chinatown east of 82nd. My Portlandness book showed that the immigrant population is moving from downtown to the very southeast part of Portland. After living in Denver, when I travel, anytime I see there is a Chinatown around, I get pretty excited to hunt down good Chinese food. Virgo tried chicken feet for the first time. He did not like it.
The day ended with a pleasant walk through southeast past murals, funky art, and cool digs. Today was a day where I saw the many sides of Portland, but it was all good.