Category Archives: Cool Portland stuff

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.


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!

Woodblock Chocolate: oh, when will you open!?! – updated

The chocolate manufactory I just discovered I needed.

Updated: Woodblock Chocolate is open and is delicious!

Look what I just discovered in my neighborhood: our very own chocolate manufactory (best word ever): Woodblock Chocolate. Now, admittedly, there are other chocolate shops very, very close by (Creo Chocolate, Alma Chocolate, Missionary Chocolates), so it is not that I am deprived of chocolate (and we shall not speak of 180 Xurros — the most dangerous siren call of all).

But I stumbled across this beauty all on my own, without any warning. I cannot wait for them to open… But when will they open?!?

New Years Resolutions 2016

Well, 2015 received NO love from me on this website. Portland has been so over-hyped recently, I didn’t really have much motivation to fan the flames. But now we’re into 2016, when I guess we can have a clean start? I dunno.

In any case, 2016 shall receive at least as many posts as 2015.


  1. I’m more than a third of the way through my Hale Pele rum tasting, so hopefully by next year, I’ll be down to the last third.
  2. I’m going to stop eating dessert when I go out to dinner unless I didn’t actually eat much dinner. I’ve been getting uncomfortably full. If I want dessert, I will go out specifically to have dessert.

Activities for the weekend of August 1, 2014

This is a momentous weekend for my family, as we are gathering in Portland to celebrate the life of my grandfather.

There are many delightful things to do in Portland, and here are a few to consider. Sections below include Parks, Walking and Biking, Eating and Drinking, Art and Culture, and Shopping, and also feel free to explore this site as well.


  • Hang out in a park: as a somewhat lazy person, this is one of my favorite activities. There are a couple of lovely downtown and West-side parks for people watching, including:
  • Go to Forest Park: this park runs along the west side of town, and has lots of great hikes and places to hang out. You can walk there from Jan and Bill’s house and there are easy mass transit connections as well.
  • Visit Chinese Garden in NW Portland close to the river: This is a lovely little park with a tea garden where you can get lovely tea and tasty Asian snacks. We might have discounted tickets (or your hotel might) if you’re interested. There is also a lovely Japanese Garden up into Forest Park.

Walking and biking

Eating and drinking

  • Eat and drink your way across town — if you’re interested in this option, let me know and I can give you some recommendations to meet your location/price point/cuisine preferences (and some info on this site as well). If you want to poke around online, I usually start at the Portland Eater site if I’m curious about local food happenings, and then move onto other food blogs.
  • Distillery Tour: these are lots of fun, but are also in a part of town with less shade, so pace yourself. We have some free Eastside Distillery tour tickets, although our favorite distilleries are House Spirits and New Deal Distillery. We haven’t been to the other three, so let us know if you make it there!
  • Farmers markets are going on all week long if you want to go nibble on some berries and treats. They often have prepared foods available.

Art and culture


  • Shopping: Portland has some delightful clothing stores that are clustered together in a couple of neighborhoods. My favorite areas are:
    • the West End (which also has some fabulous food options)
    • close-in East Burnside (also has fabulous food and drink options) and is near Distillery Row
    • SE Hawthorne, particularly beyond SE 28th. Lots of other great stores scattered about as well.
    • Fremont Fest is a neighborhood festival on Saturday is on NE Fremont with a cute parade and shops
  • There is an Urban Air Market happening on Saturday at Zidell Yards, south of downtown (can take streetcar or walk from downtown).
  • Books: well, I can never say too much about Powells. They are renovating on the West Burnside entrance, but you can go in on NW Couch and 11th and they are delightful! If you are interested in graphic novels and comics, I can give you some additional recommendations.
  • Visit Saturday Market: crafts and great people watching towards the North end of Waterfront Park right at the Burnside bridge. I haven’t bought much here recently, but I do enjoy hanging out and watching the crowds while sitting at the fountain to the south of the market.

Portland Spring Activities

The seven things I try to do every spring in soggy Portland

  1. Go to the Portland Chinese Garden in the rain. The Lan Su Garden’s roof tiles create amazing water patterns in the rain, and the pond looks gorgeous as well. Go.
  2. Buy a pass for the Bridgetown Comedy Festival (March-ish). Update: there may not be a 2018 Festival. Gahhh!
  3. Admire the crocuses.
  4. Go outside without a jacket. Live dangerously. It’s a balmy 55 degrees!
  5. Spring skiing. Pretty fun stuff, and the crowds start dropping significantly in April.
  6. Find a sunny day to sit on your front steps sipping a drink. It will happen. The ground might be too damp for a picnic, but your stoop will do nicely. Say hi to everyone who walks buy.
  7. Plant some stuff. Peas. Grass seed. Whatever you want. Some of it probably will come up!

Five interesting upcoming Portland events – Oct 2012

  1. All Jane No Dick comedy festival this weekend: Oct. 18-21
  2. International Code Council Annual Meeting is at the Portland Convention Center: Oct 21-28. That is a lot of Code. (Actually more like safety codes, rather than programming code, but that’s cool too)
  3. First Annual Portland Lamb Jam: Sunday, Oct. 21
  4. Great American Distillers Festival: Oct. 20-12
  5. Amanda Fritz v. Mary Nolan debate-o-rama at Portland City Club: noon on Friday, Oct. 19
Consider going to something new to you!

Our Convention Center; Our City

Bet you didn’t know how many awesome things happen at the Oregon Convention Center? I inspect the marquee almost every morning and here are the upcoming events that are by far the coolest:

  1. La Femme Magnifique International Pageant on Sunday, September 2. When I first saw this listing on the marquee, I had high hopes for something awesome, and my hopes (for once) have been met. This event will “crown the most glamorous female impersonator in the business.” This is sponsored by Darcelle’s, one of our civic treasures. This might be the most fun sounding event I’ve ever seen listed.
  2. Open Series: Portland on September 8-9. No further information on the OCC website…but I’m hoping this is a Magic Tournament, which someday I will get to observe. Ideally when my friend is competing. You know who you are.
  3. The B.U.L.L. Session Dinner & Auction on September 10. Link is broken on OCC website — so many possibilities with a name like this. Straight-talking good times? Cattle breeding association?

Things to do this weekend: August 24, 2012

In no particular order:

Instead of actually going to any of these events, I shall lay in the backyard and eat homemade BBQ. But you have fun.