Again there is a force which doesn't want an article on Portland to be written. I write this article now for the third time and hope it won't get lost again (better make a backup this time).
The busride to Portland was really great, there was a lot of legroom, the ride was quite short (just about 12-13 h) and the service was excellent. After my arrival in Portland I went to Voodoo Doughnoughts to enter the line for grabbing some breakfast. It seems like it is the “mustgo” place, but although their Doughnouts are good, some people told me the place(s) are hyped way to much. On my way to my couchsurfingstay at M's apartment, I got a bus ride for a reduced rate: Public Transport in Downtown Portland used to be free, but now is 2,50 per ride. I only had a single one Dollar bill next to a 20, having had no change the driver told me to pay just 1 Dollar and get in.
Arriving at the apartment I was friendly welcomed (he also told me what he experienced this morning looking at the methadone clinic around the corner) and we went to a pub (it was around 28th E Burnside) for lunch, which was very affordable because of the pub's happy hours in the early afternoon. After returning and riding a bike around the neighbourhood and onto Mnt. Tabor, M. invited me to a local arts festival. And this is probably one of the centerpoints of Portland's characteristics: There are many artists or so called creative people around. Despite that there are a lot of bridges, nice wooden houses, microbreweries, stripclubs which are allowed to serve alcohol and a lot of trees. After the arts festival we visited a pub in an old school building, where I was confronted with the huge selection of local brews. After returning to the apartment, we called it a day by visiting another pub around the corner with M's colleagues. Here I met L. who is involved in the construction of office spaces (boxes) for Intel and he told me that everytime he is at this place, people walk around looking to the ground and not greeting or talking much in elevators. Is this a sign for a good working climate?
The next they, out of curiousity and stupidity, I started my citytour at the far south corner of the city on a big graveyard. So i had to figure out how to get back to the places I wanted to visit. I walkes along the street until I found a hiking trail which I ran along until I reached the Japanese Gardens. This place is a harbour of tranquility and relaxation, but it was designed for this purpose afterall. I really like these thoughtfully crafted environments which are meant to free people and not to put them behind bars. One thing I was told there was, that it's illegal to take sth. off the Oregon coast (for example stones). Don't know if it's true. A bit further north there's the Rose Garden around, which is nice but not impressive. So I walked further north.
By accident I ended up on the Holocaust Memorial on my way back to Downtown and it really grabbed my attention. By now I spoke with several Israelis I met about the topic of guilt and history but I don't want to bore you now. Fact is this Memorial always make me think about what humanity should be like and that it's still a long walk to get there (on time hopefully). Into the night I walked the whole way back to the apartment and thought about grabbing sth. to eat, but all the places I looked into had a dark and depressing mood about them – does this tell sth. about the city and it's people? Also everything here seems to be smaller than in other U.S. cities, at least telling by the size of some of the shops (for example The Home Depot).
The next day I saw works of Kienholz at the local art museum and got on my train to Seattle. There I met an architect from Oregon who spent a year in Switzerland some decades ago and we talked about politics, architecture and living standards. Looks like I'm really interested in living spaces.