Going to New Heights

Dear Liza,

Grandpa Nelson had a medical check up the other day, and it turned into a new adventure!

The Pill on the Hill

We needed to get to both of the Oregon Health and Science University campuses within half an hour. One is at the bottom of Marquam Hill, by the Willamette River, and the other is at the TOP of the hill. At the bottom they perform the cat scans, and at the top of the hill, you meet with your doctor.

A few connections….

Seriously! But there is a way, and it is fabulous.

We took the magic number 15 bus downtown, then transferred to the North/South Streetcar. We took this to the bottom of the hill campus. This is a shiny-new area of medical and dental buildings, condominiums, apartments, and restaurants. I finished reading a book and played with visiting babies while Grandpa had his scan.

South Waterfront Medical Plaza
“We got a ticket to ride…”

Then we got our tickets for the OHSU Aerial Tram! There are actually two trams, each 22 feet long. They are called Walt and Jean, after the first African American (Walt Reynolds) and the first woman (Jean Richardson) to graduate from Oregon State University. The nickname of the tram is “The Pill on the Hill.”

The tram travels at 22 mph , takes three and a half minutes to get to the top, and carries about 10,000 people on a regular weekday. The trams are usually pretty full, with tourists, doctors and nurses getting to work, and technicians carrying equipment and even medical specimens (in those little beer coolers) up and down.

Left to right, the Marquam, Tilikum, and Ross Island Bridges over the Willamette

The tram has been running for 12 years and has carried millions of folks up and down. The views of the river, bridges, and downtown are amazing, especially on a bright summer day like today.

Left to right, the Burnside, Morrison, Hawthorne, and Marquam Bridges

I was worried that Grandpa Nelson would be scared (he hates heights) but he held up very well. We met with the doctor, who gave us good news about bone density, and then we headed back to downtown for lunch before heading home.

And of course, Mount Hood

Even doctor’s appointments are exciting!


Grandma Judy

Author: Judy

I am a new transplant to Portland from Salinas, a small city in Central California. This is a blog about my new city.

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