Hello again….I am back with more tips and information for people moving to the beautiful city of Portland, Oregon. Welcome!
In Part 1 of my tips for Portland newbies, we covered such topics as DMV and car registration, the different power companies, all those bridges, food carts, and more.
Today, I want to feature information for those of you who may not even need to register a car. The public transportation in Portland is fantastic. The Tri-Met bus lines are affordable and stretch throughout the region, running on a very regular basis. The MAX is a wonderful lightrail system that will zip you from the far reaches of Portland metro to downtown, the airport, the zoo and many other important destinations. To supplement these two great systems are the Portland Streetcar, connecting OHSU and PSU to the Pearl District and NW 23rd, and the WES line, connecting commuters from Beaverton to Wilsonville.
And, you can easily get around this town on foot and by bike. It is highly walkable and rideable. The pedestrian and cyclist communities are very well-organized and vocal, working hard for bike lanes and safety. Check out Portland Afoot and Bike Portland for more resources. We also enjoy the walks suggested in the book Walk There.
Through a combination of public transportation, walking and light driving, I only put gas in my car about every two weeks or so, which makes me happy and healthy.
Another interesting thing you should know about Portland is that it is in fact included in two different counties: Multnomah County and Washington County. In fact many cities in the Portland metropolitan area straddle two counties. Because of that, there is an additional government entity here, simply called Metro, an elected government that coordinates activities and resources between cities and counties throughout the region.
Speaking of elections, Oregon is a “vote by mail” state, meaning that there are no polling places on election day. Your ballot is mailed to you in mid-October, and you must mail it or return it to your county election board in time for election day. While this is convenient and has led to higher voter turnout, I must admit that I miss the excitement of the polling place on election day.
Time for a quick pronunciation guide:
Couch Street=”Kooch Street”
Be careful out there…Portland has a number of place names with interesting pronunciations. Saying them incorrectly will mark you as a newbie or tourist!
That is it for today’s guide to settling in to Portland. There is always more to share and learn, and I will back soon with part 3.
In the meantime, if you ever have questions about moving to Portland or settling in to town, please let me know. I’m always happy to help!