hanging out downtown with Vera

Last weekend, I escorted three lovely young women into downtown Portland for the afternoon. Quinland and her friends Molly and Emma were on a mission: to take pictures of Portland for their middle school yearbook.

We parked at my work and strolled down the waterfront, across the Hawthorne Bridge, to the Eastbank Esplanade. The esplanade is named for Vera Katz, who was mayor of Portland for most of the 1990s, when it was developed, and her statue sits – literally – right off the path.

While the girls shot skyline photos – and candids of each other – Vera and I hung out together.

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Have I ever mentioned how much I love my city? From the time I first visited as a preteen when my dad and stepmom moved here for her work, I knew that I wanted to live in Portland forever. When I walk downtown, drive across the Marquam Bridge, or fly in over Mt. Hood, it makes me happy. I belong here.

It always makes me think about the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ song, “Under the Bridge.” In his autobiography, Scar Tissue, lead singer Anthony Kiedis talked about writing the song and described his feelings about Los Angeles:

“I felt an unspoken bond between me and my city. I’d spent so much time wandering through the streets of L.A. and hiking through the Hollywood Hills that I sensed there was a nonhuman entity, maybe the spirit of the hills and the city, who had me in her sights and was looking after me.”

I picked up a book a year or so ago called Walk There! 50 Treks in and around Portland and Vancouver. This year, I’d like to do at least one of those walks each month. It would be healthy exercise, of course, but I’d also like the chance to see and appreciate even more of this awesome city.

Tell me about your native or adopted hometown! Do you walk the streets? Hike through the parks and greenspaces?  Get that thrill of being home when you arrive back from a trip? (I may be more sentimental than most, I’ll admit; you may only get a flutter.)

I would love to hear your thoughts!

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