All Roads Lead To Portland

Photo of Portland Outdoor neon

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It seems that every time I visit Portland the weather is grand! And this last visit, to see my nephew graduate from nearby Lewis & Clark College, the great weather trend was no exception. In fact, it was perfect “walking around” weather that made for exploring this wonderful city a true delight.

For some, Portland is the center of the universe. Life is centered around life itself, how best to live your life in terms of health, lifestyle, tolerance, and enjoyment. 

Multnomah Falls is one of many wonderful falls in Oregon but it is the iconic “Portland” waterfall. It has reopened after the disastrous Eagle Creek Fire and is very easy to get to from the Portland area. The short drive there is well worth the visit.

On September 2, 2017, a 15-year-old boy started a major fire that swept through the Multnomah Falls area. The fire began about 4 p.m. over the hot Labor Day weekend. It trapped dozens of hikers on the popular Eagle Creek Trail and spread rapidly, fueled by gusting winds and tinder-dry forest conditions.

A woman reported witnessing a boy throw fireworks into the Eagle Creek Canyon that Saturday afternoon and described the group of friends giggling and taking a cellphone video of the deed that afternoon.

In May of 2018, a judge in the Eagle Creek Fire case has ordered the teen boy who admitted starting the blaze to pay $36.6 million in restitution. His attorney has charged that this is cruel and unusual punishment.

Above, the Grand Union Station is an Amtrak train station near the west shore of the Willamette River in the Old Town Chinatown section of Portland.

We stayed in downtown Portland at the Hilton on SW 6th Avenue. We had gotten a substantial discount as part of a package deal for the Lewis & Clark College graduation and dinner. However, I do not recommend this hotel. It is conveniently located in the center of Portland, but parking is extremely expensive and the hotel, overall, is really not that good.

Our first room had a problem with the air conditioner which would not shut off and blasted very cold air continuously. Our second room had a loud noise just above the entryway and bathroom that sounded like a monotonous bongo player. It was water-board torture to hear this loud, continuous tapping. The maintenance man acknowledged that the problem had been ongoing for a very long time but he simply could not find its origin. Our third room was “upgraded” but all that meant was that we were up two floors higher. The view of the rooftops below, from this backside of the hotel, was very ugly!

Mount Hood is forever looming in the background of virtually every spot in Portland. Here it is watching over the BNSF freight yard in west Portland.

Above, the Oregon Rail Heritage Center ( houses one of the most iconic and beautiful steam locomotives in American railroad history. The Southern Pacific 4449 is 110 feet long, 10 feet wide and 16 feet tall. It was built in 1941 and pulled the SP “Daylight” coaches from Los Angeles to San Francisco over the scenic coastal route. This grand Lady of the High Iron was restored in 1974 to pull the 1976 Bicentennial Freedom Train throughout the United States. An all-volunteer crew, Friends of the SP4449, keeps her operable. (visit for more information)

Above, near the Burnside Bridge is the famous “White Stag” sign, also known simply as the “Portland Oregon” sign and the “Made in Portland” sign. It is a colorful sign made of various lights and flashing neon that welcomes you to Old Town. In order to photograph it in the right light, we waited at the entrance to the bridge for quite some time as the sun stayed out for a long time during our visit in early May. The area is generally a very cool place to walk around.

Okay, so I am a sucker for donuts and Voodoo Donuts has some of the most unique that I have ever seen. It is located a short walk from the White Stag, Made in Portland sign. Of course, we bought the jelly-filled voodoo donut with a pretzel stake in its heart!

Although Portland isn’t generally known to outsiders as a foodie capital, we nevertheless found ourselves enjoying a wide variety of delicious foods in establishments that had flare and atmosphere. Above is Kelly’s Olympian bar & diner that was founded in 1902 and features vintage motorcycles hanging from the ceiling.

Just a little south of Portland near the town of Woodburn there is a touch of Holland that every visitor to Portland must visit, especially during the tulip growing season. The fields are full of multi-colored tulip blooms (the 2019 schedule is March 23rd through April 29th, 2019) and absolutely mesmerizing experience as you walk through 40 acres of explosive color. The Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm & Vineyard is located at 33814 S. Meridian Road, Woodburn, Oregon 97071.

Downtown Portland proudly proclaims itself in many prominent and iconic venues throughout the city. Above, the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall on SW Broadway books many top stars of stage and screen.

As a photographer, I enjoy “shooting” many different subjects. At one point many years ago my nephew suggested that I look at a website that featured photographs of manhole covers. I did and I was hooked on shooting these wacky discs of metal. Over the next few years, while traveling on business in Asia and subsequently in Europe, I found them not only unique but quite artistic as well. The round covering above proclaims one of Portland’s nicknames as the City of Roses.

Above, Powell’s Books on W. Burnside Street and NW 10th Avenue is a place where you can get lost for many hours as you scour the bookshelves for treasures of literature. A very worthwhile visit for any avid reader, bibliophile, bookworm, casual reader or collector of books.

Sports Bars to Mexican restaurants to Chinese take out, there are many great choices for a quick meal or a night on the town.

Above and below, Dan & Louis Oyster Bar was one of our favorite places to eat. We ate three different types of oysters, and could not honestly decide which one we favored as they were all so good. The Oyster Bar is an established seafood restaurant with a nautical decor that has been “slinging oysters and chowders since 1907.”

Above, Sizzle Pie whose advertisement proclaims “Part of a local chain of hip pizzerias known for its creative and vegan pies, many beers and loud music.” Well, to me when I hear words like “trendy” and “hip” associated with food establishments I tend to avoid them. I especially avoid any foodery where loud music is involved, even though I play the drums myself. I don’t like trendy, hip and loud when I eat out. However, Sizzle Pie’s advertisement may not be too accurate as we thought it was very much down-to-Earth and perhaps because of the time we visited, there was no loud music, just a comfortable place to enjoy a slice or two of great pizza. We liked it so much that we went there twice during our week-long stay in Portland.

Above is a beautiful statue of Sacagawea on the campus of the Lewis & Clark College in Portland that was dedicated on May 14, 2002. She was born into the Lemhi Shoshone tribe between Kenney Creek and Agency Creek near Salmon, Idaho, in Lemhi County. In 1800, when she was approximately 12 years old, she and several other girls were kidnapped by a group of Hidatsa in a battle that resulted in the deaths of several Shoshone. She was kept captive at a Hidatsa village near present-day Washburn, North Dakota.

At approximately age 13, Sacagawea was sold into a non-consensual “marriage” to Toussaint Charbonneau, a Quebecan trapper who was living in the village. He had also bought another young Shoshone, known as Otter Woman, as his “wife.” Charbonneau was reported to have purchased both girls to be his “wives” from the Hidatsa, or to have won Sacagawea while gambling.

Sacagawea was pregnant with her first child when the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery arrived near the Hidatsa villages to spend the winter of 1804–05. Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark interviewed several trappers who might be able to interpret or guide their expedition up the Missouri River in the springtime. They agreed to hire Charbonneau as an interpreter because they discovered that his wife Sacagawea spoke Shoshone.

Above, the Frank Manor House at Lewis & Clark College was built in 1925 and was commissioned by M. Lloyd Frank, a co-owner of Portland’s Meier and Frank Department Store and his wife, Edna Levy Frank, the daughter of a prominent San Francisco jeweler. The former estate is painstakingly maintained (note the robotic lawnmower in the photo above) and this iconic structure has welcomed generations of prospective students, alumni, and friends of the institution since 1942. The Frank Manor House is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and now houses the main administrative functions of Lewis & Clark College.

Above and below, the spectacular, yet peaceful and soothing reflecting pool on the campus of the Lewis & Clark College. On foggy nights it has been rumored that a ghost floats aimlessly around the reflecting pool.

West of Portland along Highway 26 is the coastal town of Cannon Beach. Sticking prominently along the seashore is the massive Haystack Rock where you can see Tufted Puffins displaying their bright-colored plumage. They are very easy to see but very difficult to photograph as they quickly dart to and from the rock in their search for food. They travel great distances to catch fish to feed their family, and when they find it, they take great effort to avoid pirate gulls who are bent on stealing their bounty.

Above, the Portland Saturday Market where you can purchase all sorts of products from hand-made jewelry and vintage clothing to many types of delectable foodstuffs. Be careful of people who hand you peace sign decals, they get rather pissy if you want to take their photograph and not make a “contribution” after receiving their “free” decal.

Above, a group peacefully demonstrates their aversion to meat-eating near downtown Portland.

Arguably Portland is the most vegan-friendly city in America, heck maybe even in the entire world! Those who choose veganism as their lifestyle know how difficult it is to find decent food as they travel the world. In many parts of the world being a vegan, or a vegetarian for that matter means that your non-meat cuisine looks and tastes like tree bark or used Amazon shipping cartons. In Portland that simply is not the case. There are many choices that not only look and taste great but have a healthy emanation. Above, a group peacefully demonstrates their aversion to meat-eating near downtown Portland. After passing by this eye-opening anti-meat demonstration I enjoyed a wonderful vegan pizza at Sizzle Pie.  Please note that no humans were hurt during the production of this demonstration.

On our visit to the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens, we were overtaken by the sighting of a magnificent Bald Eagle preening in a pine tree just above us. I couldn’t tell if it was a male or female and I will let the reader research the internet for the confusion involved in determining the sex of a Bald Eagle. Another somewhat confusing aspect of this rare bird of prey is how its name was derived. As we all know, Bald Eagles are really not bald at all. The word “bald” is an archaic old world reference from the word “piebald” which meant “white-headed” rather than hairless. The bald eagle was chosen June 20, 1782, as the symbol of the United States of America, because of its long life, great strength and majestic looks.

Above, the grounds of the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens are spectacular, no check that, they are breathtaking, no check that, they are enchanting, no check that… Oh well, you get the idea, the grounds are just too beautiful to be missed, especially when the vast acreage of colorful rhododendron are in full bloom. The range of their colors reaches the height of the color palette and human visual perception. You will find yourself saying to your partner, “Wow, look at this one!” At the same time that they are saying to you, “Wow, look at this one!”

Above, in 1908 the BNSF Railroad built what has always been known simply as the BNSF bridge, one of the 12 Portland bridges that span the Willamette River. We made it our quest to traverse as many Portland bridges as we could, or to at least view up close those that had restrictions on pedestrians and cars.

Our journey to Portland ended with a very long, but very pleasant drive back to our house in Sacramento, California. Rather than taking Interstate 5, which we had taken getting to Portland, we decided to take a detour to visit one of my childhood bucket list items– Crater Lake. We took the 138 east from Roseburg through the Umpqua National Forest. It was a long drive that was, however, full of natural beauty and numerous rapids and waterfalls. But as luck would have it, when our long drive to reach Crater Lake, we found that the north entrance to Crater Lake National Park was closed due to much recent snowfall. Undaunted, and because we really had no other choice except to return by whence we came, we drove highway 230 south then caught highway 62 and found ourselves at the southern entrance of this glorious park which was thankfully open!

Above, the iconic money-shot view of Crater Lake. As a young child, Chevron gas stations gave out placemats of several different National Parks. I had obtained one of Crater Lake which I would fantasize about visiting one day. Well, after many decades, my dream finally came true and I was not disappointed.

Above, the Lake of Snowflakes receives a tremendous amount of snowfall each year. So much so that many park animals, like deer and elk, must leave the park in order to survive. We were lucky to get these magnificent views of the lake because it is completely obscured by clouds nearly 50% of the time in winter and early spring

After reading the above article and viewing photographs of some really great places in and around Portland, you must certainly have at least a half-dozen places to add to your bucket list. And with everything in such close proximity, it’s a sure bet that you will add many drops in the bucket!


All photographs are the copyright of Jim Jackson Photography. Please contact me for authorization to use any photos or for hand-signed, high-resolution copies.















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