Aimee Wade returned to talk about the odd and unusual places found all over the city and in her book, "PDXccentric".
PDXccentric is an insider’s guide to Portland. It is written by curious locals who are interested the cities hidden secrets and the stories behind them. What you won’t find in this guidebook is restaurants, bars, hotels or the regular tourist attractions. This is not a Lonely Planet type of guide. PDXccentric believes that those things have been covered very well in other books or by sources on the web that can keep up to date in this constantly changing and growing city so known for its food carts, restaurants, beers, coffee and other culinary delights.
What PDXccentric IS about is things to go see and events in our history that define what is so “weird” about Portland.
In 1974, Portland closed Harbor Drive (the riverfront freeway) so it could use the land to build a Waterfront Park, which opened up the waterfront to pedestrians and as place to host festivals from the Brew Fest, Blues Fest to the Rose Festival. We unpaved paradise and put up a waterfront park.
Also in 1974, the Portland City Council killed the Mount Hood Freeway and instead used the freeway’s federal funding to build the downtown transit mall, light rail and other transit projects. This freeway was part of a plan to criss-cross Portland with freeways and was drawn up by Robert Moses. Killing this project also killed all the freeways that were to follow which in turn kept Portland’s inner city neighborhoods alive and connected.
In 1990, a group of skateboarders started using donated cement, which was left over from a nearby building project, to build ramps under the Burnside Bridge. Instead of demanding that the rouge skaters cease and desist the mayor formed a resolution in support of the skatepark. This was the first skater-built skatepark and it paved the way for some of the builders of Burnside to go on and create the company Dreamland Skateparks that now builds official skateparks around the world.
In 1999, a PDOT worker tasked with heating thermoplastic stencils onto the streets to mark bike lanes, decided to get a little creative and started adding flare to the “bike guys.” Instead of having his hand slapped, the city said, “Hey, we like this can you do more?” So now we have bike lane stencils with boots, crowns, golf clubs, scuba gear and all sorts of other strange things made from scrap material leftover from other projects.
Portland is a city very accepting of new ideas and new ways of thinking. It is not a place where the answer is “No that’s not the way things are done” we are likely to look at a new idea and see if it is better than the old way of thinking and then we simply change policy.
These are just a few examples of things that happen in Portland that make up the eccentricities in PDXccentric. There are also many other things included in the book that are just fun sites to check out. We hope you enjoy learning more about our city and getting out and exploring. Every entry has a destination, this is meant to get you out and around town. The bonus is almost everything to do in this book is FREE.