I am in love with this city. Everywhere I go I get excited. I work at the World Forestry Center worldforestry.org / and I live near Hawthorne street in southeast Portland. In the morning I take the #14 bus downtown and catch the MAX lightrail up to Washington Park. I love sitting among the other commuters, listening to two women talk in lightning-fast chinese, watching the crazy lady in pancake makeup hold on to her bag like it was trying to get away from her, and checking out the hipsters' cold weather outfits. So fun! Then we get to the Hawthorne bridge. So beautiful!!! Green with rusty red weights weighing 880,000 pounds!! It is the oldest "truss" bridge in the United States! ( meaning it lifts vertically ). As we cross it you can see downtown all layed out before you, sometimes reflecting the morning sun, sometimes shrouded in fog. It's beautiful in all kinds of weather. When you get to 2nd street and pile off, there are ancient brick buildings with intricate molding and windows to look at. Seagulls and pigeons fly crazily around shiny, modern office buildings. The juxtaposition of really old and really new is exciting. Then...the MAX. I am in love with the MAX! Sleek and quiet and clean, it comes by every five minutes, the doors sliding silently open, welcoming you in to its warmth. I am reluctant to leave the beauty and bustle of downtown so soon, but I do have to get to work afterall. So I sit, and enjoy a 10 minute scenic tour of the city, passing Pioneer Square, gliding over I-405, and past PGE park. I can't wait to see a ballgame there this summer! Then into Goose Hollow where the iron goose at the MAX stop I like to think is my special friend. Then it's into the long, deep tunnel to the Washington park stop. My stop! This is the deepest transit station in all of North America! 260 feet down! They've created a great geologic display down there, about the volcanic ash and basalt that makes up the ground you're in. And, it smells a little of the Paris subway.
Portland continues to surprise me. The other day I was driving and did a double take when I saw an actual CLOWN inside a CLOWN CAR. He was touching up his makeup! Another time, driving again, I passed an enormously fat man SLEEPING IN A WHEELBARROW. This morning on the MAX, I passed a group of cooks, all dressed in white cook coats and tall white cook hats, smoking in a little cluster. I love Portland's wierdness, and its elegance. It is a sweet, cozy city that has just enough glamour and edge to keep it very interesting.