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Waiting for the MAX light rail in Portland, Oregon.

Portland is the largest city in the state of Oregon (USA), the second largest city in the USA's Pacific Northwest region, and the county seat of Multnomah County. (Small portions of Portland are in Washington and Clackamas Counties.) Portland straddles the Willamette River immediately south of its confluence with the Columbia River. Only Seattle is larger in the Pacific Northwest.

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Hotels and lodgingEdit

Motels in the downtown core, the area between the Willamette River and I-405, tend to be very spendy. One exception suitable for business travelers, and train/bus travelers (who have a free ride to it through the Fareless Square system of free use of urban light rail, buses, and trolley. The most widely used is the MAX light rail system, which also has stops at the Rose Garden, the Oregon Convention Center, and the Lloyd Center, among others. Within the downtown core (free fare MAX area) is the Days Inn on SW 6th Ave, one of the less expensive hotels in this area.

Air travelers have access to the mass transit system through the Red Line, the light rail urban train which begins at baggage claim at Portland International Airport. This can obviate the need for a car when visiting the city.

Several motels are within a three block walk of the Red Line. Of those, the least spendy is the Econo Lodge on NE Sandy, the best locally of that otherwise minimalist chain. All other nearby hotels along the Red Line are off the Lloyd Center and Convention Center stops. Tools to use the transit system include Google Transit, TriMet's Trip Planner and PDA Schedules and the 24-hour automated phone system.

A good value for family travelers driving in or who have cars are the Oxford Suites with a full, all-you-can-eat North American style breakfast buffet.

Budget travelers will appreciate the excellent value in two local hostels with excellent reviews.

Motels along Interstate Avenue and 82nd Avenue are where you will find the least expensive lodging, as those were the Federal roads bypassed by Interstate highways. The hotels are small, without many amenities, and often become residential motels, with occasionally less-than-savory neighbors.


OMSI and the USS Blueback (seen at the end of The Hunt For Red October)

Nation's largest urban park

Continent's deepest subway station

Sailing on the Columbia

Fourth of July and other Fireworks shows

Saturday Market

Holiday Boat Parade

Powell's City of Books

Oregon Zoo, Children's Museum, World Forestry Center

The Grotto

In nearby McMinnville, the Evergreen Aviation Museum with the Spruce Goose

Across the river, Pearson Airpark and Fort Vancouver


Major enclosed shopping malls are Lloyd Center (central), Jantzen Beach (north, on the Columbia River and adjacent to Washington State), Washington Square Mall to the SW, and Clackamas Town Center to the SE. Smaller outdoor strip centers abound, the largest of which is Mall 205 in SE.

Larger than usual retail concentrations outside of the downtown core include NE Broadway St, NW 23rd Avenue (with some spill-over onto NE 21st), SE Hawthorne Street and SE 82nd Avenue in SE.

Maps and transportationEdit

Getting to PortlandEdit

You can fly into Portland, OR fairly easily from any North American city. The IATA three-letter code for Portland International Airport is PDX, and the less popular ICAO four-letter code is KPDX.

Portland, along with Los Angeles and Seattle, is a main hub city to Asia. The airport, while only of medium size, has many different airlines to choose from, currently including Air Canada Jazz, Alaska Airlines, America West, American, Big Sky, Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, Frontier, Hawaiian, Horizon, JetBlue, Lufthansa, Mexicana, Northwest, Southwest, US Airways, United Airlines and United Express.

Expedia's Stuck At the Airport series describe PDX airport amenities, one of the best of which is the diverse Powell's Books with three airport branches, which also handle used as well as new books. An official map of free WiFi service is complemented by the free power outlets under the counter top of the bar stools in the major airport bar, as well as other locations described in the AirPower Wiki.

Portland is at the far northern part of the state. To get to Portland by car from the north, the easiest way is to travel south on Interstate 5, which cuts directly through Portland. Similarly, from the south, the easiest way is to travel north on Interstate 5.

Getting to Portland from the east is also fairly easy; take Interstate 84 west to its terminus in Portland. From the west, getting to Portland can be tricky, as Portland is about one to one and a half hours inland from the Pacific on US 26, US 30 and Oregon 99W; the latter merges into Oregon 18 from the coast. (US 101 roughly parallels the Oregon Coastline, south from the mouth of the Columbia River.)

Both the Greyhound bus station and the Amtrak train station (code PDX) are downtown, on the bus mall of Fareless Square. Amtrak serves Portland with two north-south trains, the Coast Starlight between Seattle, WA to Los Angeles, CA, and the Amtrak Cascades which runs from Vancouver, BC, Canada to Eugene, OR. The latter uses Spanish-designed Talgo trains which shaves an hour off the run from Portland to Seattle. The east-west line Empire Builder from Chicago, IL ends in Portland as well.

Exploring PortlandEdit

This is a city with excellent alternatives to renting a car at the airport, for business and other travelers.

Air travelers have access to the mass transit system through the Red Line, the light rail urban train which begins at baggage claim at Portland International Airport. This can obviate the need for a car when visiting the city.

Travelers arriving via Amtrak and Greyhound can connect to nearly a dozen buses which loop through Fareless Square at the northern end of the no-fare Bus Mall, one block south of Union Station and on the north side of the Greyhouse station. From there, those ten buses directly connect to the three MAX light rail lines, the Portland Streetcar and the majority of urban bus lines.

Tools to use the transit system include Google Transit, TriMet's Trip Planner and PDA Schedules and the 24-hour automated phone system.

Outside of Fareless Square, transit fares reach towards $2 for a two-hour pass, with a transfer which allows you on all TriMet buses, light rail trains and the Portland Streetcar. Bus drivers don't make change. but there are ticket dispensers which do at MAX stations (including the terminus of the Red Line at PDX) and Pioneer Courthouse Square. Those machines also sell all-day passes and month passes.

Parking downtown can reach $16/day, and city parking spaces cost $1.25/hr. Most spaces downtown now have ticket dispensers, one per block, which accept coin, bills and credit/debit cards.

Rental cars rented at the airport have an additional tax on all of the rental, so economizing travelers will take the Red Line into downtown and pick up their rental vehicle there.

"Green" bio-diesel fueled rentals are available for the eco-conscious from the Enterprise outlet on W. Burnside. If you are a Flexcar member or affiliate from another city, their vehicles are also available here for short-trip rental, with many free weekend rentals available.

The two major taxi companies are the owner-operated Radio Cab (503-227-1212) and the company-owned Yellow Cab (503-227-1234) and both have special vehicles to serve the disabled. Limousine companies typically charge very similar prices with more luxurious vehicles, but are not allowed to pick up fares without a phone call first.

Practical information and resourcesEdit

Downtown's Greenies, guides in bright green uniforms, rain or shine.


Arguably, the best steaks are to be had at the Ringside (two locations) and the best Texas-style BBQ at Buster's (3 locations).

The best milk shakes around Portland can be obtained at Coffee People.

Text with links to user-reviews on other pagesEdit

A pioneering and non-commercial web guide to Portland is alt.portland which is best navigated by following the links at the right

Willamette Week, a local weekly, offers multiple reviews and guides.


Photo galleryEdit

Union Station

Everything elseEdit

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External resourcesEdit

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