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Last week I went to Portland, OR for a couple of days. I didn't have tons of time for sightseeing, but was able to spend at least a few hours exploring what the city had to offer.
My hotel was right by the airport, which is about a $30 cab ride from most of the action downtown. We took the recommendation of a cabbie and were dropped off at the Bridgeport Brewery. It was actually a working brewery and smelled just like downtown Milwaukee at times, or like any other brewery. If you have ever been to a brewery you know what I mean. They had a decent sized restaurant/bar and had many of their selections on tap. Delicious.
After a beer, a friend and I wandered through the Pearl district. It appears to be a bunch of warehouses/factories that were converted to retail shopping and entertainment. There were lots of eclectic people there and it was an interesting walk. In many places there were no sidewalks, only old loading docks and ramps that you had to navigate, making the walk even more interesting. These people walked by with what appears to be some sort of giant birds nest, or a dam stolen from a beaver family.
There were the light rail trains too. I will admit that during the rush, they were full. The City of Madison, WI always wants to be Portland, and they have been pushing this light rail idea for some time now. Problem is Madison is tiny. Heck, Portland is relatively tiny for a light rail in my opinion. Oh well, I am paying for it anyway through federal funds so I hope the residents of Portland are enjoying it.
After a while we wandered into Bush Garden, a wonderful sushi joint. It was Wednesday and fairly early so nobody was there yet. We sat down and dined on great fish. This guy honestly enjoyed his job - he gave us a few specials and didn't even charge us for them.
All in all from the little that I saw I would give Portland a big thumbs up. That light rail didn't look like it was helping traffic in any way though, as the major expressways seemed pretty damned clogged during the rush. But it was a beautiful, scenic town and looks like it is thriving pretty well.