© 2020 by GridWorks LLC


May 18, 2016


So much to love about Portland


Portland is known as a bastion of progressive land use and transportation planning, but this reputation didn't just happen. Our policies and places are a reflection of what we value. We value our environment, open spaces and agricultural lands. We value having choices for how we get around. And underlying all of this, we value collaboration. Over the years, leaders here have modeled patterns of working together that have led to landmarks in our development. From Portland's Urban Growth Boundary, to Tom McCall Waterfront Park to Ride Connection, the policies, places and organizations you hear about in Portland are derived from people working together to solve challenging problems.


This is why we at GridWorks are so proud to call Portland home. Portland's climate, culture and commitment to collaboration make this an excellent place to grow a mission-focused consulting firm. Our high standard of living and thriving ecosystem of people and organizations working to solve tough transportation challenges keep us active - both physically and mentally. This invigorating environment keeps us inspired and helps us connect with other innovators.


Our Favorite PDX Places 


Speaking of inspiration, I asked my team to recommend places in Portland for you to visit. Here are their insider tips of places you can visit while you are in Portland, straight from locals:




Alternatives to Portland's most tourist-laden landmarks and destinations:


  • Best donuts to eat while laughing at people in line at Voodoo - Blue Star (multiple locations)

  • Coolest bookstore not calling itself a City of Books - Mother Foucault's Bookshop, SE 6th and Morrison

  • Best under-the-radar food cart pod - Gabagool / Tiffin Asha / Moberi, N Mississippi and Shaver

  • Best neighborhood alternative to the traffic and bustle of the International Rose Test Garden - Peninsula Park, N Rosa Parks and Albina

  • Best off street multi-use path in the city limits - tie between Springwater on the Willamette from OMSI to Oaks Park and Marine Drive Path from NE 33rd to HWY 205

  • Best weekend brunch without the 2-hour wait - who am I kidding, I'll never tell!


Outside sights and spots:

  • Best place to watch the sunset over the west hills while overlooking the rail yards and Willamette river - Skidmore Bluffs, 2230 N Skidmore

  • Best off street multi-use path in the city limits - tie between Springwater on the Willamette from OMSI to Oaks Park and Marine Drive Path from NE 33rd to HWY 205

  • Top transportation related site - they HAVE to take a bike, walk, or transit trip over the Tilikum Crossing, right? First major bridge in the country for all modes except private cars and whatnot

  • Best 360 degree views on the east side - Rocky Butte Park


Food and Drink (quality food bracket):

  • Most Portland-y part gourmet / part rock and roll sandwich shop - shockingly tough competition but my favorite is Meat Cheese Bread (SE Stark and 14th) with Lardo (multiple locations) a close second

  • Best place to enjoy an impressive selection of tamales, guacamole made to order at your table, and an awesome patio - Tamale Boy on NE Dekum and 18th

  • Best neighborhood market / brunch spot - P's and Q's market NE Dekum and 13th


Food and Drink (environments worth seeing bracket):

  • Most stunning restoration of a hotel lobby-turned bar - Picnic House, SW Park and Salmon

  • Most stunning restoration of a back-of-theatre green room-turned bar - McMenamin's Back Stage, SE 37th just south of Hawthorne, back of Bahgdad Theatre

  • Outdoor dining with a view within walking distance of the conference site - Altabira on the roof of Hotel Eastlund


Food and Drink (coffee and beer bracket)

  • Best coffee roaster sharing space with a lighting and furniture store in a beautiful, far-flung warehouse - Ristretto Roasters in Schoolhouse Electric, NW 22nd and Nicolai

  • Best coffee roaster sharing space with a bamboo woodworking studio gallery - Coava Coffee on SE Grand and Main

  • Best paring of coffee and chocolate - Cup and Bar, NE MLK and Davis

  • Best brand-new, smashing it out of the park brewery - Great Notion, NE 22nd and Alberta, behind Pine State Biscuits

  • Best Reinheitsgebot-following brewery - Occidental Brewing, N. Baltimore in St. John's 

  • Best brewery almost nobody knows yet - Baerlic Brewing, SE 11th and Grant, just a few blocks north of Division

  • Best kid-friendly and most conscience-easing brew pub - Oregon Public House non-profit pub, NE 7th and Dekum






A few of my favorite places in (and a little outside of) Portland:


  • Kennedy School - the theater, bar, and restaurant

  • Crown Point (outside of the city, but not too far) - take the Historic Columbia River Gorge Highway and enjoy the amazing views

  • Rhododendron Gardens - right next to the Reed College campus

  • Sauvie Island - check out a local farm, pick berries, lay on the beach

  • Bike Path on Marine Drive - has great views of the Columbia River and Mt. Hood

  • Mt Tabor and Laurelhurst - really popular, but a couple of my favorite places to hang out and have a picnic





First, the 4 T Trail which is Trail, Tram, Tram and Train. So a great way to see Portland and experience some of our alternative and traditional transportation options. It does however take most of a day, even for a pretty fit person. 


Second is something I particularly love about my neighborhood, which is the St. John's Beer Porch. A great place to hear music, drink great beverages (non-alcoholic and alcoholic), and choose from some of the best food carts in the city, as well as browse a great farm stand. Another bonus about this is that it's just off the north portland greenway trail, which is a great urban, mobility greenspace project. 


A city based park that I think people really miss is Cathedral Park in St. John's. Some of the most gorgeous natural views of forest park, the river, and a great park with a huge historical/architecturally bonus. 


Also, I think a walk across the new Tillicum Bridge offers spectacular views of the city. Access to both sides of the river and more transport options, but also is just super cool.







Itinerary 1:


  • Waffle Window for dinner

  • Wunderland on Belmont for 5 cent video games

  • Finish off with dessert and wine at Pix Patisserie or Papa Hayden's


Itinerary 2


  • Lumberyard for indoor mountain bike riding

  • Walk The Grotto

  • Finish up with some food at Gustavs


Itinerary 3


  • Kayak the Willamette, rentals by OMSI

  • Finish up with some gelato at Atlas Scoops in Sellwood





Happy hour at Portland City Grill is an old standby, and for good reason. The live piano, the stunning view of the city and the mountain - so good! Closer to the Convention Center, Alta Bira also has great happy hour specials, a lovely view from their rooftop patio, and outdoor fires to keep you cozy. 


Everyone knows they should go to Powell's, and they should! Mother Foucault's is another, if much smaller and more curated bookstore, just a short walk or street car trip from the Convention Center. It's worth checking out, and you can grab some incredible tacos and/or a pina colada just a block away at Robo Taco.


For a break in between conference sessions, I'm a big fan of Pixie Project right across the street. You can snuggle furry critters - cheaper and healthier stress relief than the cannabis dispensary down the street. (Though, hey, who's judging?)


For the craft brew inclined, your options are endless, but one of my favorite gems happens to be pretty close to the Convention Center - Upright Brewing "farm house inspired with a pacific northwest twist." 


If you're looking for some late-night entertainment of the variety that we're not most famous for, then Ground Kontrol is right off of MAX and includes a selection of old favorites and shiny new games.



Where to find us during CTAA


Have fun in PDX but save some time to find us during CTAA.  We'll be involved in the following sessions and events:


Monday, May 23


Afternoon: Ross will moderate the panel discussion, Building Transportation into Healthcare Delivery Systems during day 1 of the Improving Healthcare Outcomes: The Mobility Management Connection Symposium.


Tuesday, May 24


Afternoon: Jeremy will facilitate a panel and breakout sessions during day 2 of the Improving Healthcare Outcomes: The Mobility Management Connection Symposium


Wednesday, May 25


9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Ross will participate in a panel titled: Non-Emergency Medical Transportation: Surviving the Shifting Landscape


3:15 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. - Ross and Ashley will conduct a workshop on performance measures using an outcomes-based framework titled: The Measure of Success: How We Use Performance Data to Sustain and Improve Our Services


7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. - GridWorkers will be Pecha Kucha-ing it up at Rock Bottom Brewery


9:30 p.m. GridWorks/Trillium open house AKA "Pecha Kucha After Party" at GridWorks HQ 


Thursday, May 26


We'll be around.  Find us attending sessions and at the big night out!

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