June is the best time to visit Portland. Without planning it, we arrived the weekend of the Rose Festival. And it is the time when beautiful, glorious roses line every curbside, most front yards. Though we missed the Festival, we had a fine time at the Farmers' Market on the campus of Portland State University...more our kind of thing. We went with our daughter Rachel, Zach, and Zoe (for whom we found some beans).
(Click on photos to enlarge.) Besides roses, Portland is about coffee, or Coffee. Which explains this large installation with its simple sign that greets visitors as they begin their visit to vegetable and flower stalls. And exotic foodstuff; we bought almost-to-die-for Chicken Liver Pate at Viand Meats. Zach had a moment or two on the violin, an offer from a local music school.
Another day, we got off the TriMet trolley, for Zach to splash around in Jamison Park Fountain. Newly opened in the Pearl District, this is both a kid-and-adult-friendly environment. A block square open plaza with "steps" where people sit on the upper levels. Water pours out from the lower levels, just enough for to get feet wet--then turns off, then on again. We could use this in New York City--right in midtown! Portland also has Powell's, the city of books.
To visit Powell's is a book-reader's fantasy come true. Room after room of books...new books shelved alongside used ones, smart and helpful staff, a down-home coffee shop. And books, books, books. Though we're partial to the mother of them all, the store on Burnside Avenue, we've become friendly with the smaller one on Hawthorne. Powell's is addictive.
So, what could be wrong with Portland: the city touted for thoughtful planning, an environmental consciousness, many, many bicycles--and bicycle-related events, high anti-war consciousness? What could be missing? As Ron said in wonder when our daughter and her spouse moved there in the late 1990s,"No sales tax? There's no sales tax?" That's right. Result: a troubled public schools system, down-sized social services. Nice place, not paradise. We love visiting. We enjoy our adorable grandchildren; as a plus, we have a "time-out" that every New Yorker needs from our own noisy city.