Sunday, September 23, 2012

Urban non-decay: Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon, is one of my favorite examples of urban non-decay.  Through hard work, imagination, and intelligent urban planning, Portland has maintained its heritage of late-1800s and early-1900s office buildings, stores, and hotels. And they are in use, proving that historic buildings are most certainly viable in the modern era. In addition, Portland is one of the greenest cities in the United States and encourages bicycle use and public transport. The elected regional government, Oregon Metro, has established an urban growth boundary to separate urban land from rural land and prevent uncontrolled sprawl. On the outskirts, there are some McMansion ghettos, but seemingly not as many as other cities. Why are so many other US cities so far behind?

This is a small selection of photographs from my recent trip to Portland. I suggest this Wikipedia article for readers interested in the city and its history and topography.  Even better, go and visit!
Here is an 1890 photograph of Portland from Wikimedia Commons, with Mount Hood in the distance (to the east).
Readers know I like bridges.  This is the underside of the Burnside Bridge over the Willamette River.
Portland is a big food cart city.  Here are some examples on SW 3rd Avenue. The Big-Ass Sandwiches cart even won a contest in Adam Richman's Best Sandwich in America food reality television program. I ate a great veggie giro at a Greek cart, whose proprietors really were from Greece.
 Portland has an amazing collection of historical office and commercial building.  The carving and decoration are symbols of an era when businessmen and industrialists were proud of their buildings and considered them to be a major contribution to the fabric and culture of their city.  They wanted the best and hired craftsmen and stone masons to make a statement.
Portland is a good pedestrian city, and the streetcar is free within an inner-city zone.
On the odd side, there are some great mannequins in town. These were in a store that sold small underpants (underpanties?) for gents.

Black and white photographs created in-camera with a Panasonic G1 digital camera.

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