September 27, 2015
One Sunday a month in the late spring through early fall the Portland Bureau of Transportation holds Portland Parkways events to facilitate people getting out and about in our neighborhoods. Here is the map of this year’s events taken from the web site linked above.
We had never heard of these events until September. I think it was heavily promoted to show off the new MAX light rail orange line and the new Tilikum Crossing which MAX uses to get from Portland down to Milwaukie. We figured it would be a nice chance to combine a walk and a tour of the new MAX route.
We parked at the Sunset Transit Center and took MAX downtown where we transferred to the new Orange Line and rode to the end of the line in Milwaukie. Since the last stop is a park and ride there wasn’t much to see so we got back on and headed back north up to Portland. Map in hand, we jumped off MAX at the Holgate stop and joined the Parkways event in the charming Southeast section of Portland. Things were in full swing with bicyclists as far as the eye could see.
After strolling a couple of blocks we saw the new pedestrian bridge installed over the Union Pacific railroad tracks. The new bridge was installed in the winter of 2014/2015 and replaces a span originally built in 1943. More than 10 years ago I took pictures from that rickety bridge; the new one has an elevator and better steps and crossing. I persuaded Carla to walk over it. I sprinted the last few yards because I heard a train coming; I grabbed a quick photo of northbound Amtrak Coast Starlight crossing under the bridge.
Carla finally persuaded me to head back over to the Parkways festivities; but I got sidetracked by southbound Union Pacific freight! With the tracks running at grade level through the neighborhood this area makes for nice train pictures – if not for great living. As before I had to sprint down the dead end street to catch the slow moving freight.
Carla finally dragged me back to the event. As we walked down the sidewalk we saw a trio (the Trio Tsuica) playing on the porch of a house on the route.
The handwritten sign advertises their website triotsuica.com. Looking at the website I see they play at the Secret Society in Portland; we went there last winter when we wanted to practice our recently learned line dancing steps. At the risk of getting off topic (as if that would stop me) let me plug the Secret Society, which isn’t really secret; they have a little bar with some very good food. We got there early and ate then moved across to the dance hall when it opened.
Back to the Parkways. We soon discovered this is a bicycle-centric event.
Being walkers we encountered a few difficult spots where either bike and pedestrian lanes weren’t clearly marked or closely adhered to by the bicyclists. Although we did have to hug the side of the pathway at times to not get run over we came through unharmed. Portland Police were at the various street crossings to facilitate movement and stop cars from driving where the Parkways folks were rolling and strolling.
Before long we came to the Portland’s newest bridge: Tilikum Crossing. It is build for MAX, the streetcar, busses, bicyclists, and walkers – no cars allowed. We had a nice time looking north to downtown Portland …
… and down at the traffic passing under us.
We hopped on a northbound orange line train to downtown and transferred to the blue line to get us back to our car.
We had a great time walking on two new bridges and exploring this part of Portland from a new vantage point.
We had some other Fall outings planned but they’ve been sidetracked by my broken leg. Ugh. I’m recovering nicely but it will be another month before I can really get out and about in a big way.