Portland Walking Tours

Spring 2008 Newsletter

May 13th, 2008

Spring Strolls with Portland Walking Tours

Spring 2008

Join an Insiders’ Glimpse of Portland
Whether you’re visiting from out of town or just looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon, the “Best of Portland” walking tour, offered daily at 10 a.m., is a great way to get an in-depth look at the city’s art, architecture and incredible livability with a fun dose of history and little-known facts. Sometimes referred to by fans as the “Portland 101” tour’ this walk works its way through the downtown shopping hub, the shady elm trees of the Park Blocks and ends with a stroll along the waterfront. Even Portland natives are amazed they learn a thing or two about the city they call home.

Also offered seven days a week, the “Underground Portland” tour is a treat for lovers of all things sinister – crime, scandal and unsavory characters. This tour departs daily at 2 p.m. and winds through Old Town’ exposing the sordid side of the Rose City. If you want to know the truth behind the worst events of the city, this is the best way to explore the dark underbelly of Portland”s past.

To capture the city’s finest flavors, foodies are invited to embark on the “Epicurean Excursion,” a culinary journey through the Pearl District. This tour, offered only on Fridays and Saturdays at 10 a.m. leads walkers behind-the-scenes to taste, sip and savor treats from award-winning, locally brewed beer at Bridgeport Brewery to fresh, decadent pastries in the back room of the Pearl Bakery.

The newest tour, “Beyond Bizarre” departs at 7 p.m. every Friday and Saturday evenings from Old Town Pizza to reveal Portland’s weird, wacky and supernatural side. Walkers are armed with real ghost-hunting equipment and led through the city’s most haunted streets and buildings to hear family-friendly tales of paranormal activity and ghostly sights. An even more ghastly version is offered for the over-21 crowd every Friday and Saturday at 10 p.m.

Tours regularly sell out, so buy your tickets today. Tour schedule and ticket information at www.portlandwalkingtours.com.

Resident Expert Trivia: Are You in the Know?
It’s no surprise that the tallest building in the State of Oregon is right here in Portland. Think you know? Don’t be so sure! Located on SW 5th Avenue, it stands 546 feet, has 41 floors and has been known by more than a few names in the past.

Hint: You may have eaten in this building’s restaurant…but it would have been a while ago.

Name on the Badge: Brad
There is more to us than just a bunch of pretty faces. Brad Fortier is a great example of that. Brad only recently joined us here at Portland Walking Tours, but has already started to receive his fair share of fan mail. Brad is not a native Portlander, but he hales from afar. Originally from Wisconsin (think cheese curds and foam cheese hats), Brad has called Portland home since 1995.

In addition to leading the occasional walking tour, Brad leads an active (some might say frantic) life. He is an active member of Portland’s improv theater community (that’s short for improvisational theater). He is an actor, director, and instructor at the Brody Theater and is also a member of the local improv groups Funny Business and Icarus. Brad’s improv talents aren’t limited to just Portland audiences. He’s also performed at national and international venues. In fact, Brad just returned from showing off his considerable talents in Belgium (we think he went for the robust supply of Belgian beers and pommes frites). Lest you get the impression that Brad is just all fun and games, we should mention that he has his B.A. in archeology and is currently putting the finishing touches on his Masters degree in anthropology at Portland State University.

If you’re lucky, the resident expert leading your next Best of Portland or Underground Portland tour might be Brad.

Five Reasons to Fall in Love with Portland
Highway to Greenway. Few people today know that the 29-acre Tom McCall Waterfront Park – a great place to stroll, roll or run along the Willamette River – was once a six lane highway. In one of the city’s first steps toward supreme livability, the highway was demolished in 1974, making way for an urban playground of trails, fountains and summer festivals.
Clear Views. When asked why Portland feels so open, natives will often cite the city’s square blocks and frequent “Most Walkable City” awards. But the wide, airy feeling is more the result of a series of strategic “Clear Vista” laws that call for an unobstructed view of five blocks in every direction from every downtown street corner, require all new buildings to have large windows at street level, and limit the heights of buildings.
Art Abounds. Visitors to Portland are often in awe of the plethora of public art. For more than 25 years, the city’s “Percent for Art” program has required that at least 1.33% of the budget for every city building project is allocated to public art. Last year, the percentage was increased to 2% thanks to Commissioner Sam Adams. The result is a vibrant cityscape with sculptures, fountains and art installations providing inspiration, evoking emotion and sparking interest at almost every turn.
Map It. The most powerful motivation for innovation in our city’s design is a line on a map. Twenty-nine years ago, in an effort to fight the urban sprawl plaguing so many American cities, local urban planners sat down and drew a line around the city known as the urban growth boundary. Today, this line dictates the hard and fast city limit, forcing urban designers to come up with alternatives to sprawl including neighborhood rezoning, multi-use buildings combining retail, business and residential spaces and increased density. The Pearl District is a shining example of this planning that visitors often know about even before they visit.
Rain. While it sometimes keeps people indoors, we can’t help be thankful for all the great things the rain brings us: Beer and Wine, Coffee and Tea, Parks and Rose Gardens. If a little precipitation is what it takes to keep Portland feeling like a large town instead of a small city then we promise not to complain about a bit of rain.

Trivia Question Answer
(If you missed the question, click here.)

The answer is the Wells Fargo Center.

Not Big Pink (formally known as the US Bancorp Building) Huh?!

The Wells Fargo Center has been the tallest building in Portland since 1972 when it was opened as the First National Bank Tower. Then it became the First Interstate Bank Tower and, in 1997, the Wells Fargo Center. The Tower Restaurant, on the 21st floor, was closed in May 2002. If you’ve never seen this building close up, you’re missing 60,000 square feet of genuine Italian marble, 232,000 square feet of windows (that are all being replaced!), and an authentic 1854 Wells Fargo stagecoach in the lobby museum.

So, why not US Bancorp / Big Pink? At 43 floors, it does have two more than the Wells Fargo Center, but it only reaches a height of 536 feet – 10 feet shorter than the Wells Fargo Center. As resident experts, we think that since there isn’t another building even half as tall anywhere near Big Pink, it really stands out so if that was your guess don’t feel badly. If you’ve never been to Portland and are wondering why Big Pink is only really known by its nickname, well, it’s just so Big and, well, Pink.

“…don’t be surprised if you actually learn something, Smartypants.” –Willamette Week when awarding us the “Best Way to Fake Being a Native” award.

Get in Touch
Give us a call at 1-503-774-4522 or…

In This Issue
Resident Expert Trivia
Name on the Badge: Brad
Five Reasons to Fall in Love with Portland
Spring 2008…
Best of Portland
Daily at 10 a.m.
Underground Portland
Daily at 2 p.m.
Beyond Bizarre
Fri & Sat at 7 p.m.
Beyond Bizarre (Over-21)
Friday & Saturday 10 p.m.
Epicurean Excursion
Friday & Saturday 10 a.m.
Mother of Pearl District
Special Summer Dates!
First Thursday Evenings
New Starting Locations!
Please note that starting places have changed for our tours. Click any tour for more details and be sure to buy your tickets today before your tour sells out.

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