All posts by Taylor

Iconic gone; BBQ arriving?

The Iconic Lounge on NE Broadway between NE 22 and 24th has closed. Signs are up promising BBQ from MD PDX and the mdpdx.com web address. No much info there yet, but curious what’s on the way.

Iconic never seemed to thrive (and had enough fails that some members of my family refused to go there). I always enjoyed the happy hours and projected movies, but I never went all that often. Rose and Thistle always won out.

Portland Sportsball Teams

This is a work in progress. More info added regularly.

Rose City Rollers — women’s flattrack derby league
Location: Hangar at Oaks Park and sometimes other venues around town
Season runs: January – Spring, with other events year round
Ticket prices: $7-$20
League: Rose City Rollers
Mascot: enthusiastic fans?
A few comments: This is not a single league but rather an entire league. The All-Stars team is BLANK and represents Portland in the BLANK league. Fans are passionate and very loud. I have been known to use ear plugs at bouts.
Location: Civic Stadium, currently known as Providence Park
Season runs: March through September
Ticket prices:
League: NWSL
Mascot: Timber Joey?
A few comments: Thorns games are great fun. Lots of families attend, and it’s exciting to see lots of young girls and boys excited about the team. The team is supported by the Rose City Riveters, with the seats at the North End for standing and cheering for the whole game
Location: Civic Stadium, currently known as Providence Park
Season runs: January through October?
Ticket prices:
League: MLS
Mascot: Timber Joey, formerly Timber Jim
A few comments: The Timbers have been in Portland in one form or another for decades. Their current incarnation is terrifically popular and the fans impressively enthusiastic. The members of the Timbers Army have been sitting at the North End of the field for many years and you are expected to be on your feet and cheering.
Trail Blazers, basketball
Location: Rose Quarter, currently known as Moda Center
Season runs: October through May
Ticket prices: all over the place
League: NBA
Mascot: Blaze, who looks like a rat?
A few comments: like many a popular sports team, the Blazers have broken many a Portlander’s heart. But they are ours, and many of the current (and past) team members are beloved members of our community. The longtime owner, Paul Allen, recently died and the team is currently reflecting and appreciating his support and contributions to the team and league.
Winterhawks, hockey
Location: Portland Memorial Coliseum
Season runs: September through March
Ticket prices: $15-$35 (approximate)
League: Western Hockey League – WHL
Mascot: ?
Transit: MAX lines and many bus lines
A few comments: There are a devout group of Winterhawks fans. We should all try to go to a game a year to help support them and the team.
Location: Lents Park
Season runs: summer?
Ticket prices: cheap
League: summer wooden bat collegiate league
Mascot: Dillon the Pickle
Transit:
A few comments: I used to live around the corner from the Civic Stadium and always enjoyed catching some minor league baseball games in the summer. I was happy for Portland when we got major league soccer, but missed the relaxed, summer baseball. The Portland Pickles have helped fill that void. I am not a very passionate sports fan, so sitting out on the berm, drinking some beer and hanging out with friends has been exactly my speed.
Hillsboro Hops, Baseball
Location: Gordon Faber Recreational Complex in Hillsboro
Season runs: Summer
Ticket prices: affordable
League: Northwest League and Minor League Baseball — Short Season teams feeding into other minor league teams and eventually Diamondbacks
Mascot: A Hop
A few comments: family friendly

Portland newspapers and magazines

I am actively updating this post. Let me know what I missed!

Background: the surviving daily newspaper for Portland, the Oregonian has gone through many, many changes over the last 25 years
Frequency: daily?
A few comments: the daily newspaper for Portland, the Oregonian has gone through a number of layoffs over the last twenty years. As staff have been shed, the amount of in-depth local reporting has decreased. It seems like new reporters have come up, increased their expertise, and then been laid off. They have a branding confusion between The Oregonian and their web presence of OregonLive. The comments on the website tend to be incredibly toxic. In my opinion, their failure to merge their print and online brands and offer a native digital subscription has led to a missed opportunity with possible subscribers of my generation.
Background: started more recently, the Portland Tribune and has associated small town papers and is a good way to get a sense of some of the suburban Portland issues
Frequency: 2x a week, I think, but I just read online
A few comments: Bob Pamplin (founder) is a conservative business owner of Ross Island Sand and Gravel
Background: started in early 2000 as a sister paper to Seattle’s the Stranger. Just shifted to every other week.
Frequency: Every other week
A few comments: this was the weekly paper I started reading when Willamette Week seems kind of old. But now I’m old! But Portland Mercury is young at heart, right? One of the big focuses right now are events and activities in Portland.
Background: the alternative weekly paper since [the 1970s?], the writing has ebbed and flowed over the decades. Currently creating print “Best of” compilations that can be quite handy.
Frequency: weekly
A few comments: I mostly read their compilations and attempt to read their website on my phone. There are a few usability issues with a constant pop-up to sign up for the email newsletter and troubles with loading more articles while still knowing where I am in the website. When I do dip into their reporting, I particularly appreciate the local politics coverage, even if I don’t agree with every point. Their voting guides are always useful.
Others:
Neighborhood papers:

How to pay for your rides on Trimet

I love mass transit, and Trimet gets me where I want to go in Portland, Oregon! The payment options have been changing, so here’s an update on the current situation.

Portland’s mass transit is straightforward to ride. You can pay with cash as you get onto buses, but you need to buy your fare before you get onto the light-rail trains (MAX). Fare info is here on the Trimet website.
If you want to plan further ahead, we now have Hop Fastpass. You can buy a Hop card at the kiosks at the light-rail stations, online, at a wide variety of stores, and at the Trimet offices in Pioneer Square. You can also set up a phone application to pay for your fare.
Using your Hop Card: tap your card or phone at the pad when you get onto the bus or onto the light-rail platform. You do not need to tap when you get off. There are some great perks for doing this:
  • if you ride twice in a day, you have an all-day pass (this used to drive me crazy when I wasn’t sure how many rides I’d take in a day)
  • if you spend $100 in a calendar month, you have a monthly pass
  • you can register your card in case you lose it
  • you can set your card to autoload so you always have a fare
There is a non-Hop card option for your phone as well. For this, you need to activate your fare before getting onto the bus or the train. Show the activated fare to the bus driver when you get onto the bus. For MAX, you only need to show your fare when requested by a fare inspector.
The lightrail system (MAX) first started to be built out in the 1980s, and none of the stations have turnstiles for fares. This means that we’re on the honor system to pay for our rides. Please pay for your ride! There’s all sorts of great Trimet and mass transit history info on in the Trimet history section of their website.
Trimet has all sorts of things that make me happy, but recently I’ve been appreciating the music lyrics on the front of the buses on the bike racks — keep an eye out!

How to use Biketown, Portland’s bikeshare

Besides walking and taking public transportation (Trimet), using Biketown bike share (external link) has become one of my favorite ways to get around town. Biketown combines the speed of the bus with the individualistic pleasure of walking. And unlike riding my own bike, I don’t need to remember to start my day with a bicycle or worry about someone stealing my bicycle.
The big orange bicycles are a pleasure to ride on flatter roads, with an upright stance and smooth glide over (most) bumps in the road.
Biketown has worked hard to create an inclusive bike share program, including Biketown for All with adaptive and e-bikes, as well as subsidies for lower-income Portlanders. Their staff has always helped with any random questions I’ve thrown their way, including when they are doing maintenance on the bikes.

How to get started

  1. Create an account on their website. Get an annual membership if you can afford the price. It’s currently $99 for a year that includes 90 minutes of free rides a day (XX cents a minute after that). There are often $20 discounts running, so keep an eye out for those! If you have a lower income, there are subsidies available.
    1. The other great benefit to an annual membership is that you can park your bike anywhere within the Biketown.
  2. Create a PIN. Create a PIN that only includes two numbers. This slightly horrifies me since I spend a fair bit of time thinking about security. But the keypads on the orange bikes are the most challenging part of Biketown, and you only want to have to hit the keys a minimal amount. Additionally, the worst that will happen is that someone will steal your account number and go for a joyride on your account. You’ll get a notice on your phone and you can shut down that poor person from any further rides.
    1. I suggest the pattern of one unique digit and then picking a second unique digit for the second through fourth position in your PIN. You may end up with a bike that doesn’t like one of the numbers you picked, but you’d have that issue whether you used that number once or three times.
    2. Note: the keypads are getting replaced (yay!), but as of October 2018, still need to be fully swapped out. If these keypads work better, consider switching your PIN to a more random number.
  3. Install the app on your phone if you haven’t already.
  4. Get an account card. You want to get an account card so that you don’t have to wrestle with the keypads on the bikes to enter your account number. Stations that have the little wireless icon goober will let you print out a plastic id card:

Ready to ride: handkerchiefs, helmets and safety notes

I like having a handkerchief with me in general — it’s just handy. I’ve also felt rather clever when it has been a bit wet and then I want to ride an orange bike. I can easily dry the seat off with my cloth handkerchief (some of which used to be my grandfather’s…awww….)
I’m a big believer in helmets because I am not the most coordinated person. Plus my brain doesn’t need to be knocked around — it’s already losing its marbles. I have an orange helmet that I keep at work to use with Biketown. However, I also ride just as frequently without a helmet. Some of this is because I like routes where I’m relatively protected from big dangerous cars. And I’m also pretty comfortable on the orange bikes by now.
That being said, if you’re diving into using Biketown for the first time, you might want to carry a bike helmet for some extra brain protection.
My other safety consideration has been to throw an extra bike light in my bag if I think I might ride a bike later at night. They do have lights on the front under the basket, but they aren’t the brightest.

How to find a Biketown bike

You can be opportunistic and see if you can spot one as you walk to your destination, walk to a bike station corral , or use the map on the Biketown website or in the phone app.
Bikes can also be reserved ahead of time for ten minutes, but note that you will be charged for the amount of time that the bike is reserved, whether you check out the bike or not.

Checking out a bike

  1. Make sure the bike has air in its tires.
  2. Hit some keypad numbers to wake up the bike, but I’m not sure that is actually needed.
  3. Hold your Biketown card patiently over the keypad (sometimes 10-20 seconds) until the keypad asks for your PIN.
  4. Adjust the seat if necessary.

Riding tips

The bicycles have instructions on both the screens on the back of the bikes and in the baskets. They are good tips!
My key suggestions:
  • When shifting, don’t pedal. Totally backwards from what a lot of us learned to do, but the poor gears grind out terribly if you are pedaling hard when shifting.
  • Don’t ride on the sidewalk downtown. Yield to pedestrians when riding on the sidewalk outside of downtown.
  • Do it three times before giving up on Biketown.

Also, these bikes are much, much heavier than any bicycle I have previously owned. This is great for riding smoothly, but can be an unexpected challenge on hills or if your parking efforts.

Bike parking

There are two other areas where you can park your bike anywhere: Central Eastside Industrial District (CEID) dockless “Superhub” area and Portland State University (PSU).
Otherwise, you need to park at a Biketown station. Many of these are starting to be regular bike corrals (versus the orange “i” Biketown stations). If you don’t, you may be charged extra.
Anywhere inside the boundaries if you have an annual membership! There is a map online and in the phone app of the boundaries. You are supposed to lock the bike to an official bike rack, but I have seen all sorts of creative alternatives. Try to avoid these if you can since it can cause issues with the bicycles being kept safe.
Locking the bikes is pretty straightforward, but still occasionally I have trouble getting the lock and holes to line up. Special bike racks can cause unexpected problems — and be thoughtful about leaving room for other bicycles to also use the racks.

Earning credits

In the phone app (but not on the website map), you can see bike stations/corrals that will give you a dollar credit if you return a bicycle to that location. Help distribute bikes AND earn your membership!

A few other observations

A note on Bike(y)town

I like to call our bike share Bikeytown. Or the orange bikes. As in, I’m taking a Bikeytown orange bike to get to my appointment. I’m not sure how the Biketown marketers feel about this, but it makes me happy! Bikey fun good times!

Stash tea — a Portland institution

Portland is a city with wonderful tea. While our beloved Steve Smith has died and moved onto the great tea tasting room in the sky, there continue to be many wonderful options for tea in Portland.

Having grown up in Portland, I have a soft spot in my heart for Stash Tea. They have been around since 1972 (older than me!) and now have their headquarters south of Portland in Tigard. Their company story is really fun to visit — and most grocery stores in Portland carry their teas. Their bagged teas are always solid and dependable, and their loose-leaf is delicious.

You can also purchase their teas on Amazon! I’m particularly partial to their lemon ginger for a non-caffeinated tea option.

Biketown: a month of freedom!

Portland’s bikeshare, Bike(y)town, is doing two awesome things in the month of May.

  1. You can ride an orange bike for up to 90 minutes a day for free.
  2. You can lock the bikes at any bike rack/staple within the bike share boundaries — you do not need to lock the bike to an orange station rack/dock.

Official details here on the Biketown FAQ site.

Free rides

This is great! Enjoy! You’ll want to create an account so that you can enter your account number/PIN and go! If you just want to try it out, set yourself up as a “single ride” account.

When I did this for my partner, I had to enter a credit card and I purchased a $2.50 credit. It wasn’t clear to me if there was a way to do create an account with no purchase. This was also right at the beginning of May and maybe they’ve smoothed the kinks since then.

Dockless bike parking

I’m really enjoying this one! I can park about a block from my house rather than 6-8 blocks away. Pretty sweet. I’ve been jealous of the Central Eastside Industrial District (CEID) dockless “Superhub” area, so this is super convenient.

I figure this also lays down a desire trail to have bike parking closer to where I live (and maybe push the boundary area further east).

Theories on why

  1. Fend off dockless bike share
  2. Gain data about where people would really like ride and what happens when lots and lots of people are riding the bikes

A few other observations

We have adaptive bikeshare! These are also free in May!

Biketown for All: discounted memberships for Portlanders living on low incomes.

Ready to ride: handkerchiefs, helmets and safety notes

I like having a handkerchief with me in general — it’s just handy. I’ve also felt rather clever when it has been a bit wet and then I want to ride an orange bike. I can easily dry the seat off with my cloth handkerchief (some of which used to be my grandfather’s…aw….)

I’m a big believer in helmets because I am not the most coordinated person. Plus my brain doesn’t need to be knocked around — it’s already losing its marbles. I have an orange helmet that I keep at work to use with Biketown. However, I also ride just as frequently without a helmet. Some of this is because I like routes where I’m relatively protected from big dangerous cars. And I’m also pretty comfortable on the orange bikes by now.

That being said, if you’re diving into using Biketown for the first time, you might want to carry a bike helmet for some extra brain protection.

My other safety consideration has been to throw an extra bike light in my bag if I think I might ride a bike later a night. They do have lights on the front under the basket, but they aren’t the brightest.

Designs!

While most of the bikes are orange, there are also some interesting additional designs: shoe-inspired visuals and others from Nike and our new community designs.

A note on Bike(y)town

I like to call our bike share Bikeytown. Or the orange bikes. As in, I’m taking a Bikeytown orange bike to get to my appointment. I’m not sure how the Biketown marketers feel about this, but it makes me happy! Bikey fun good times!