We arrived in Portland, Oregon last night (local time) after a 23 hour trip from London. My first impressions of this city are very positive. We’re on the Portland State University campus, which is it’s own – couple of square blocks – district about a 20 minute walk from the centre of down town. The rooms are large, clean and have lots of services.
Portland appears to have a very good public transport system. Buses are a common site and there’s a train/metro system. Furthermore, cycling seems to be actively encouraged through public notices. This morning I witnessed a cycling event over the bridges which must have had several thousand participants. Other than public transport, recycling appears to be taken as a core civic responsibility. I suppose, I get the feeling that Portland has an outlook that chimes with my European biases. Unfortunately, like many US cities I’ve visited, there seems to be a very visible population of homeless people. Again, my Euro-social-safteynet bias kicks in and I assume that the proportion of homeless people in Dublin/London/Berlin is lower.
There’s a food festival today, which I intend to attend. Portland is also noted for it’s numerous micro-breweries. In order to escape the effects of jet-lag, we partook in a sampling of the local Ale specialities last night. And as a food and beer lover I was impressed. Moreso by the beer than the food, however I’ve high expectations from the food festival today. It was recommended by some locals we got talking to in one of the Ale establishments. For what it’s worth, in the 15 hours or so that I’ve spent here I’ve only encountered friendly people.