John and Diana are traveling around the country with a 37-foot RV and an 18-year-old cat. This is their story.
Monday, August 26, 2013
The Willamette River divides Portland east from west and the Burnside Bridge/street (pictured above) separates north from south. A series of 11 bridges connects the east and west sides. It is a city of historic brick buildings as as well as modern glass and steel structures. John and I made three different trips into the city, during two of those times we spent some time at the Saturday Market in Old Town.
If you want to explore the character of Portland go to its Saturday Town Market. It is about as quirky as some of its neighborhoods. We found booths selling trilobites (fossilized ancient marine anthropods), sweet potato cupcakes, as well as purses and lamps made from Hollywood 35 mm film.
On our second walk through the historic district we accidentally came upon Voodoo Doughnuts. We had to check it out because its customers were line up out the door and around the block. A young boy stepped out of the bakery with a doughnut about the size of a frisbee. The icing on it looked to be several inches thick and it was topped with marshmallows. His mother explained to us that the popularity of the doughnut was due to its uniqueness. A couple of blocks from the doughnut shop there was another long line, it was a homeless shelter and apparently the people were probably waiting for food handouts. While in Portland we noticed many people sleeping on the streets and in the parks. We walked past a small lot filled with tents. The tents were protected from public view on one side by a series of wooden doors.
We read in The Oregonian that the police have swept the homeless out of one camp. On a more positive note, I read in Street Roots that Portland's Housing Bureau has been successful in finding 717 housing units for low-income families. We also found in Portland a church that is "unafraid to act out of compassion towards a world that is just and free". We attended our niece Cheryl and her husband's church, Salt and Light Lutheran Church for worship yesterday. It is located in one of the poorer areas of Portland and has opened its doors to meet the needs of the community surrounding it. One cottage industry, soap making, has been started there, as well as a kitchen tool library. Community gardens surround the church, and a founding board is being organized to bring the church into a Leaven Community. Such community organizations work with other faith groups to bring about positive changes within their neighborhoods. As part of his sermon the pastor had the church members discuss the role of the church in the world today. Several members expressed their hope that churches will change, and reinvent themselves to become places where people of all ages and from all walks of life will be eager to walk through its doors. After church and lunch we walked with Cheryl and her son around their neighborhood. Small shops and food trailers are located along its streets. Neighbors were friendly and greeted us as we walked by. We walked past a small lot into which small houses have been moved- a sign over the entrance reads: "Tiny House Hotel". A young man, probably the owner, was willing for us to look into the small houses which are on wheels. I came to like the city of Portland, it will be one of my favorites of the larger cities we have visited. It is a very vibrant, colorful city. Today we have now moved on to Silverton, Oregon.