I took time out from my volunteer duties at the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) General Assembly (GA) to tour some of the sights in Portland. Over 1,000 people attended the week-long PCUSA GA meeting held at the Portland Convention Center (PCC).
We reserved a handicap room at the Marriott Courtyard, which had an electric scooter (ETV) waiting for me. The PCC was a short three blocks from out hotel. Portland is ideal for accessible travel. Every street corner has a slope for wheelchairs, and the stoplight timers provide enough time to cross the street.
When we needed to attend dinner meetings or parties downtown—on the other side of the Willamette River, we were able to ride on the MAX Light Rail. Portland’s mass transit system is efficient and accommodating. Upon arrival at the airport, each conference attendee received a free transit pass for the week. The MAX Light Rail has no ticket collectors which speeds the loading and unloading process. Conductors do random checks—if someone does not have a ticket or pass, he/she is fined several hundred dollars (the incentive for purchasing a ticket or pass). The trains have cars dedicated to bicycles and wheelchairs. Finding the right button to push to enable a ramp is tricky the first time (we missed our stop), but other passengers were eager to assist.
Portland is famous for its coffee and boutique beers.
If you travel there, be sure to imbibe. We had a celebration dinner at the Departure Restaurant in the Nines Hotel, recommended by an Uber driver (used from the airport). Excellent views from the 15th floor restaurant and excellent food ($$$).
We also took a MAX Light Rail to the Lan Su Chinese Gardens—a lovely contemplative attraction with a two-story tea house overlooking a tiny lake. Lan Su’s motto is Between Lake and Mountain Lies True Meaning. I was handed a map for wheelchair accessibility. Some of the trails are for walkers only.
On another day we rode the Aerial Tram from the Portland Health & Science Center to take in a lovely view of Mt. Hood.