Portland. Everyone’s idea of the perfectly-planned city. And by and large, it is. A dense, thriving downtown surrounded by a compact, thoroughly pleasant city. Good transit, water and bridges, hills, and more. And there are an infinite number of not terribly expensive short-term parking spaces downtown. It works well, and it hasn’t been overplanned to the point of looking like a theme park.


We hit downtown relatively early so as to allow plenty of time for exploring the central city and Powell’s City of Books, which is an absolute essential and may be the single most compelling reason to visit Portland. It provided several hours of entertainment and caused Mark to paart with quite a bit of money. I spent less, but was still quite entertained.


We roamed around downtown for quite a while, ate lunch, and made the rush hour drive back to Tigard via old US99W. This was about the point we started noticing that Portland’s suburbs have an unusually high number of adult bookstore chains. And that 99W (aka Barbur Boulevard) was going to be an interesting drive at night, what with all the neon to be seen.


And we were right. We spent a good chunk of the evening driving around Portland at night, looking for views in the hills, looking for beer at the QFC, and taking pictures of neon signs. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves on the next page.


The Burlingame Fred Meyer is a wonderful thing. Fred Meyer is an interesting Portland institution to begin with: as one of the first large suburban retailers in the area, they demonstrated an uncanny knack for knowing where development would occur and being there to meet it. They were innovative stores as well, combining general merchandise and groceries, and introducing such things as rooftop parking, etc.


Hollywood, where I bedded down last time I visited, is always worth a look.


As is Sandy Boulevard (US 30) in general. The area around Lloyd Center, Portland’s first shopping center outside downtown, and the convention center would be more interesting if anything looked much like it did when first constructed.


After the tour of Portland by night, we took the long way home via old US 99E (aka McLaughlin Boulevard), through scenic Milwaukie, and found the place where we’d be having our morning meal.