As I mentioned last week, my husband and I recently took a short trip to Portland.
When I told people where we were going almost everyone had the same reaction “Are you sure you want to go there? Isn’t is dangerous?”. A couple folks were worried about travelling in general, but most people were only worried about us going THERE.
So, was it dangerous? In a word, no. Portland is beautiful. It a way it reminded me of Duluth MN, which if you know me at all, know that is a HUGE compliment! It’s built into the hills and valleys where the Williamette and Columbia rivers converge, which provides some gorgeous scenery including a variety of interesting bridges. A billion trees (approximately), some of them frighteningly close to the road, but very pretty nevertheless, And so clean- I saw almost no litter, even along major highways. Tons of great places to eat and tons of craft brewers and distillers. If you are in to hiking, kayaking, or other outdoor activities Portland has tons of those. If you are into the arts, Portland has a thriving art community.
One thing I did notice right away coming from Iowa is that Portland- and Oregon overall- takes COVID very seriously. There were no morons claiming “breathing problems”, even with plenty of smoke from the nearby forest fires still in the air. Everyone- and I do mean EVERYONE -was wearing a mask. I forgot to put mine on when going to the restroom in one restaurant and I didn’t get 2 steps from my table before I was (politely) reminded by the staff to go get it. Even when we were outdoors folks were wearing them, and in some places they were required even then. And yet I didn’t hear one person complain about it. I wish Iowa could be like that!
Did we see any evidence of the rioting? Very little. We saw a couple buildings downtown that appeared to have been recently repaired and a couple that looked like they needed repair, but I can’t say for 100% sure that either were because of riots. We saw a lot of Black Lives Matter signs, but you can find those just about anywhere. We ate downtown on Saturday night outdoors and it was quiet. No sirens. No violence. Just people out enjoying the perfect weather with friends and family. The locals told us to avoid one specific 2 block area at night, but more as a precaution in case something might happen.
All in all it was a great, relaxing trip. I got to meet some amazing people, eat great food, and see beautiful sights. I will note that some attractions are closed, or operating on very limited hours right now due to COVID, but there is still plenty to see and do in the Portland area and I would recommend it to anyone.
And on a personal note, Portland was just what I needed. Could I have gotten the same mental health boost going somewhere else? Maybe. But I’m glad Portland is where I went to recharge.