Travel to China (town) and experience the serene sights and sounds of the Lan Su Chinese Garden. Chinatown/Oldtown is the flatland of Portland, OR. You can access it easily by transit if you want to save yourself parking fees and traffic troubles. Look below for info about:
New Year Celebration--Dragon Dance parade, 25 Jan 2020, Year of the Rat; photos above
Happy Chinese New Year! What an auspicious beginning for the year of the rat! The forecast was not so propitious: we were worried that it would be a rainy, dismal day in Chinatown for the Dragon parade--but it was beautiful! Parking fills fast (even an hour early), but the little lot across from Lan Su had spaces and only costed $4 for the day, being Saturday (pay by card). I could not find out the parade route, so it was hard to get decent pictures, behind all the tall people, but I got a few that I felt good about, mostly from the point of origin 315 NW Davis St. The paraders made their way around the block, put on a little show next to Lan Su, and entertained along the way toward the Oregon Historical Society Museum, I believe. We didn't try to follow it that far, as I could see very little. The Chinese Garden, had special activities planned for the whole 2 weeks of Chinese New Year, and a few other venues offered some celebratory activities. For more photos, scroll down at "Celebrating Chinese Style"
Portland Chinatown Museum & other points of interest
Chinese Eats in Chinatown--photos below
Chinese restaurants abound all around, and Chinatown is home to other kinds of cuisines (pizza, Mexican, Voodoo Donuts, etc.). But if you want to be thematic, here are some Chinese eateries within a quarter mile of the Lan Su Chinese Garden. Your proof of payment to the Chinese Garden allows you to exit and re-enter on the same day. So here are some other options for Chinese food:
Traveling by Transit (the Max), or Pay to Park
Destination Chinatown was my first try at traveling via the Max, Portland’s Light Rail. Expecting to pay (with my Hop pass) once I got aboard, I looked all over for a place to tap it. Well, you tap it before you get on. Look for a post with the necessary place to tap (pictured below). How to ride the Max: https://trimet.org/guide/max.htm
Traveling by Max meant crossing over the I-205 freeway, on a fairly boldly declining pedestrian bridge. Despite protections on either side, my initial traverse caused this old grandma some trepidation. I saw all those vehicles speeding below me, a long way down there, and my heart, if nothing else, was quaking as I went. But, I made it, and the next time wasn’t quite as scary.
For the first time while riding transit, I was asked by an individual who appeared to be a somewhat less permanent resident, if he could use my cell phone. I was anxious to get to the train (as well as get some photos), and I admit I was glad to have an excuse. Even though he said he would let me hold it as he talked, what could I do if he snatched it and ran? I have found most people are decent, but just enough aren’t that one must be prudent.
Parking lots seem plentiful enough near the Chinese Garden, at $5/hour (or all-day rates). We were able to find parking on the street (another time we went), for $2/hour, max 2 hours (3 hours if you are disabled and pay the max). You can pay by card or coin, in 15-minute increments. Look for a rectangular, boxy post-looking thing along the block. After you pay it will give you a ticket to display on the curbside window of your vehicle. Instructions are on the ticket.
Chinatown Parking 125 NW 4th Ave
City Center Parking 220 NW 2nd Ave
Smart Park Garage 33 NW Davis St.
Here’s an interesting resource: https://en.parkopedia.com
It looks like there are a couple disabled parking spots by the Chinese Garden off NW 2nd Ave & NW Flanders St., and 5 hour parking meters on Flanders between 2nd and 4th Ave. A couple places for disabled parking are shown on NW Couch St off 1st Ave (I think).
An Opportunity to Invest in the Community, for Entrepreneurs and Philanthropists
Most of Oldtown/Chinatown looks like it could use some renovation capital. My dream would be to fund a “hostel” in which the homeless would be housed and groomed in every respect for success in the housing and hospitality industries. Connected with this would be a health clinic, also employing internships for training people who need every kind of mentoring, and recovery help for addictions. I would like to see them help one another as they develop the skills and resilience to build or rebuild their lives. I saw a program that helps at-risk youth in this way: AA and alternatives:
I've been in a wheelchair for 30+ years. It poses some challenges for traveling. Maybe others can benefit from my experiences.