Sunday, January 6, 2008

15 Things I Like about Portland

1. The Willamette River. It flows right through the heart of downtown, and is a wonderfully wide river, and also deep enough to allow for many types of boating activity. My first day there I got to see a drawbridge open and close.

2. A wonderfully vibrant and compact downtown, allowing one to get around nicely on foot, without need of a car.

3. A great public transportation system, including trains, buses, streetcars, and even an air tram.

4. A one-block wide park that runs North and South through much of downtown.

5. A farmer's market that has all kinds of great foods for sale. I got in on the last one of the year on 12/22, with the market scheduled to re-open on 4/5.

6. Forest Park, containing the largest natural woods within the city limits of a city.

7. Lush green grass, even in winter, which grows without need of artificial watering, due to the heavy natural rainfall.

8. Many public drinking fountains, which are on even in winter.

9. Portland Mennonite Church, a large and vibrant church with lots of kids, unlike churches in Wichita which seem to be heavily tilted toward the elderly, and lacking in young folks.

10. The Portland Beavers, a triple A minor league team which plays in a downtown stadium that is part and parcel of the community, rather than out in the boonies somewhere. Along with Sacramento, Portland is one of the two cities among the original franchises that still has a team in the Pacific Coast League.

11. Powell's Bookstore, reputed to be the world's largest. It takes up a whole city block and is fabulous.

12. Many fine restaurants. I was able to visit Huber's (family-owned since the 19th-century), Bangkok Palace, Mandarin Cove, and Tabla Mediterranean Bistro, all of which were great fun.

13. A very bike-friendly environment, with bike lanes in the streets, and many places to park one's bike.

14. No sales tax. This seems like such a good idea, it's hard to fathom why more States don't do it this way. It eliminates a huge layer of bureaucracy for the State, and a lot of headaches for the merchants of the State. The sales tax is notoriously regressive, hitting the poor harder than the rich, so it seems obvious that a better system is to have a somewhat higher income tax and property tax, to make up for the lack of a sales tax.

15. My son lives there, and I can go visit!

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