There is an area of Portland near downtown called The Pearl District. No idea where the name came from – and I’m too lazy to look it up. But, this is an area that if you had seen 15 years ago, you would not recognize it today.
The first time I saw it in 1993, it was all old warehouse and industrial buildings left over from when the port used to extend that far into downtown. The roads were bumpy (and still are) due to the exposed cobblestones as well as the miles of railroad track that has long since been left unused.
Now, the Pearl is a hip place to live. They converted a lot of the warehouse space into lofts, retail spaces, etc. Then they added in some great new buildings. The new buildings all have their own architectural styles. Some look straight out of the 1950s or 1960s while others look very modern yet Scandinavian, in my opinion (a mix of concrete, exposed wood, steel and other materials). All of it coexists in a way that just works.
And, in true Portland fashion, they have green space (otherwise known as parks) tucked into spaces. Portland understands that adding parks creates a neighborhood feel – a place for people to meet. (Portland has a 5100 acre park in the city limits known as Forest Park to give you an idea of how seriously they take green space.)
Tonight, we took the kids down to the Pearl to play in Jamison Square – a park that has a large water feature where kids can play in the water. We let the kids play, we sit in the shade reading (or being geeks browsing the internet), then we usually get slices from Hotlips Pizza. (Because I must, I have to throw out my love for Hotlips Pizza. They use local ingredients which they can tell you the farm they got them from. And, they are committed to composting. In fact, most everything they have can be composted. Lastly, they support the local music scene by spotlighting the music in their restaurants which is pretty cool, IMO.)
Here are some of the images of our trip tonight.