Sunday, July 3, 2016

Day 43 - Walking in Portland, Oregon

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Another great day with our Warmshowers friend, Sylvia Halpern in Portland Oregon.

After breakfast she drove us through town to a huge park to hike with some friends of hers.

You know how an off ramp on a freeway can make a circle of greenery?  Sometimes they plant trees or bushes in it.  But it is encircled in roadway.

Well we took this ramp and the round area was full of tents!  A homeless village!  I tried to get a picture as we dashed by...

We parked on a side street near the park.  We were to meet her friends at a coffee house.

Some of her friends we had already met at the TOT event in Kellogg, Idaho a few days before.

Barbara rides and ELF (an enclosed trike).  They are hard to transport and heavy to ride, but a lot of fun for all the attention they attract.

Before we took off walking, I tried to get a group picture, but everyone was chatting and greeting each other...

All the best groups are like this.

We walked up the street a while.  I loved these lights on the front garden wall of a house.

The hike in the park took us up past a reservoir.

We got some nice views of the city.  The white tent in the middle of the picture below were the tents we passed on our ride yesterday.  It is a show of dancing horses. 

George did great and kept up with the group.

At the top of the big hill was a statue of Harvey Scott.

I said, "Someone get me a q-tip!"

At one point we decided to take some stairs down the hill.  It is like going down 7 flights of steep stairs.  I got down and turned around to see how George was doing.  He was doing great, and then I could see his right foot and leg were not following commands from the brain smoothly.  Hesitating, shaking.

I said, "Hang on George!"  He was looking at me and began to lean back more and more.  (Leaning back is good when you are going downstairs, at least if you slip you sit down instead of tumble.)

The last few steps were slow, but he made it and then I had him stretch out his calves and his thighs.

The next set of stairs was only two flights and he hopped down them just fine.

The water reservoir had lots of ducks.  Sylvia said there was a controversy and some people were pushing for plastic balls to keep the ducks off the drinking water source.

I don't understand.  I thought municipalities used lakes too as holding areas for their water and certainly there are ducks on those lakes.  Maybe there is a difference when it has a plastic liner?

After our ride we got a big table at the coffee shop.  So great to chat with everyone.

We talked about the homeless issue and how one solution wouldn't work because there are several reasons for homelessness.

Sylvia said when she left on her trike tour to Florida last year there wasn't a big problem.  She was shocked by the huge increase in tents and homeless when she returned to Portland.

She said the cost of houses have gone way up and rents have increased.  There is a housing shortage in the city of Portland.

Someone at the table said that other cities give their homeless a bus ticket to Portland.

Many people live paycheck to paycheck and something happens (medical, job loss, roommate moves out, divorce) there is no cushion.  Some are addicted, some have poor mental health.  Some are working but can't make enough to pay rent or put down a deposit.

We all agreed it is a complex problem.

We returned to Sylvia's place and I took a picture looking down between her building and the neighbor's building.  It goes down a LOT.

We took a break and Sylvia went to the airport to pick up another guest she had met on one of her trike tours.  This woman, April, is a Warmshowers host in Conneticut.

April mentioned the hostage situation in Benglidesh.  We had not heard about it.  We had been away from restaurant and motel TV's and keeping busy.

After lunch we walked to the Rose Garden and Japanese Garden.  They are right next to each other.

There was a list of all the different roses and where to find them in the garden.  Pretty impressive.

The rose garden was free.  There was a small fee for the Japanese Garden.  Sylvia had a season pass because she likes to go there a lot.  We got a discounted price because we were with her.  AND then April paid for it!  Thank you April and Sylvia!

Sylvia said the benches are placed strategically to give you an artisitic view when you sit there.   She likes to sit on each bench and soak in the scene.

The garden was very busy.  At one point we sat on a bench and watched the fashion show go by.  George said, "I love to watch people."

On our walk back home we stopped at the Holocaust Memorial.  It was very moving.

Terrifying that such evil exists in us.  That people can do this in mass.  The thing is, you hear the same hateful logic today from some of the far right.  It starts with believing a whole group of people are bad.  For example believeing that all athiests are bad or all muslims are bad or all homosexuals are bad.

After we left the memorial we were walking down down a hill on the sidewalk and right next to us a skateboarder had to put his skateboard sideways and skid to avoid coliding with a car that pulled out in front of him.  He had crouched low and used a glove hand to assist in the breaking.

Amazing.  He just flipped his board straight, got back on and continued down the hill.

After an amazing stir-fry dinner made with more of the veggies we got at the farmer's market, I drove to the closest grocery store and got some despirately needed supplies. 


  1. It was fantastic to have you and George visit. Super duper fun! Come back again any time. Enjoy Crater Lake and the rest of the trip. xoxo, Sylvia

    1. Oh Sylvia! If it weren't so far we'd come every year for sure. We felt so welcome and loved the great meals we put together, the sights, the conversations. Who knows what the future holds...

  2. I'm glad you could join us for a Mt. Tabor walk and that you met some of our pals. Enjoy the rest of your adventure, and we'll hope to see you on your side the country!
    Barbara and Chuck

  3. It was such a nice time, Barbara. One thing about traveling this long is I miss the rich social life we have in Florida. The walk and talk was just what we craved. Thanks to you and Sylvia and the rest for making our stay in Portland super duper.


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