May Day Walksies

Dear Liza,

According to the statistics, this past month was the wettest April in Portland’s history. Sunday was the first of May, and we went for a long walk to enjoy what we hope will be a sunnier month.

Our primary target was Eb & Bean frozen yogurt, down on Division Street. It’s about a mile and we enjoyed seeing the dogwoods and wisterias blooming like crazy.

The frozen treats were yummy, and gave us energy to think about our next goal, because none of us felt like heading home yet. We wandered south to Clinton Street and Auntie Bridgett wanted to go over the new-ish pedestrian railroad crossing. This is how your cousins gets from their Dad’s house to their Mom’s. It is impressive, and just a little intimidating. Very steampunk.

We climbed the stairs because the elevator is permanently out of order, and got some nice views of downtown to the west and Mt. Hood to the east.

It was an interesting perspective.

We enjoyed the bits of philosophy imprinted on the paving beside the train tracks.

Once we were headed west, the next goal was the Tillikum Crossing over the Willamette. We saw lots of folks out enjoying the day, and one of them took our picture!

We even got to see the Dragon Boat team out practicing for the races that will be happening later in the summer.

By the time we were across the bridge, we were pretty tired and decided that transit would be our way home. We caught the Orange Line train to downtown…

And then the number 15 home!

A wonderful hidden moss garden on a downtown tree

Grandpa Nelson’s and Auntie Bridgett’s fit watches said we had walked over five miles! Woohoo!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Our Willamette

Dear Liza,

You and I were talking the other day about the big river here in Portland. It is called the Willamette, and people sometimes get the pronunciation wrong.

They want to say “will-a-MET”, to rhyme with “make a BET”, but this is incorrect. It is actually “will-A-met”. My dad taught me how to remember it properly when I was about your age. He said, ”It’s will-A-met, dammit!”

The Willamette is unusual. Like the Nile River in Egypt, it flows from its headwaters in southern Oregon, north to the join with the Columbia River. For years, it was the easiest and safest way to travel from the university cities of Eugene and Corvallis, and the state capital of Salem, to Portland, and beyond that to the Pacific Ocean.

Even today, hundreds of ships bring cargo and people to the city. But our river is also a playground! Tour boats, jet skis, kayaks, fishermen and amateur sailors are out whenever the weather is good, making the most of this gift.

Just within the city of Portland, TWELVE bridges cross this mighty river, connecting the Westside, where the city began in the 1800s, to the Eastside, where we live. They are all useful in their own way, though some are more beautiful than others.

My favorite is the Tilikum Crossing, the newest bridge. It is only for public transit and pedestrians, so is the quietest. It is also very pretty, looking like a harp stretching across the river.

I hope that when you visit we can take a walk across some of these wonderful bridges.

Love,

Grandma Judy