USA: Portland – A Pleasant State Of Mind

Posted by on Sep 19, 2016 in Uncategorized | 14 Comments

My prime motive for visiting Portland was to visit my good friend, Karen, who I met at an International Living conference a few years ago. Little did I realize that I would find a city that exuded the same kind of pure friendliness that I have found reflected in her own personality. I visited San Francisco back in the late sixties and early seventies. In those days the Bay Area was the friendliest place on the West Coast. Times have changed, and it seems to me that Portland has taken up the mantle that San Francisco has let slip.


KAREN DEVERS – Portland’s Ambassador of Amiability and my most prolific and thoughtful blog poster.

My buddy, Jason, comes in at a very close second, and I am most grateful to both of them for following me around the world and keeping me company. It has helped to fuel my desire to continue this blog as well as the completion of my five year journey. In fact Jason has given me the necessary inspirational nudge to pursue the writers life I have long considered to be the direction I am destined to follow. His encouragement has helped to remove any doubts and fears that were holding me back.

So, I have to say that a handful of friends and family have been the catalyst for the liberation I have found on the road, as well as moving toward my right livelihood which I wasn’t sure would ever come to pass in this lifetime. In fact I am currently finding life to be more fulfilling than ever before in the new found belief that it will all at long last surely come to fruition.


Karen’s Rescue Dogs Maxine and Macky – Two of the most well fed dogs in the Pacific Northwest. That’s home cooking you see there replete with veggies and Provencal spices. I’m not kidding here. They probably eat better than 90% of the human population. Rescue dog that!


23rd. Street – An upscale, low key tree lined shoppers street with restaurants, boutiques and clothing stores.


3 Monkeys – Great window shopping




Just a block from a hostel that I stayed at, these colorful Victorians harken San Francisco memories.


Cruising down the road with Mount Hood looming in the distance.


ALPACAS – Flashbacks of Peru!


They do have an amazing variety of quality apples in this region.


Cape Horny





Battleground Lake – A peaceful tiny lake in Battleground, a town just North of Portland in Washington state where I am considering establishing residency. There is no state income tax in Washington, and it would be gratifying to no longer funnel money into California where I am no longer living.


Washington Park – It feels more like entering a forest rather than a standard park.








Oregon Holocaust Memorial – Dedicated on August 29, 2004 to victims of the Holocaust. This is a simple but extremely moving memorial. I have traveled throughout Europe, and visited numerous Holocaust museums as well as the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. however this is an effective place to contemplate the horrors, but also to find healing in its presence.


Yet another prized possession was taken from a victim to whom was promised to be reunited after their housing situation was resolved. Most went directly to the gas chambers.


Our precious life rests not on our ability to see what makes us different, one from another, but rather on our ability to recognize what makes us the same. What ultimately defines us is the moral strength to believe in our common humanity, and to act upon this belief.


Another displaced belonging.


I visited Auschwitz this Spring, and it placed me into an intimate perspective of the former killing factory that was very affecting. It all came into perspective.


A reminder of the children that were lost in the camps.


One last devastating story.


International Rose Test Garden – Portland has the nickname of “The City of Roses”. There are 7,000 rose plants of 550 varieties throughout the garden.




















                         PORTLAND JAPANESE GARDEN




























Powell’s City Of Books

Powell’s Books is a chain of books in Portland, Oregon. It lays claim to being the world’s largest independent new and used bookstore located in the Pearl District on the edge of downtown.


                                PORTLAND ART MUSEUM


This is a world-class museum, and a beautiful space to take in the art presented.


Francois BOUCHER – Portrait of a Lady – 1770

The name of the painter Francois Boucher is synonymous with the French Rococo-style that reached its highpoint in the middle of the eighteenth century. Boucher was not primarily a portraitist and, as the favorite artist of Madame de Pompadour, he did not want for employment. This late work seems, in fact, less a precise record of a specific set of facial features than a rendering of the ideal of femininity that dominated the Rococo style.


Childe HASSAM – Oregon Still Life – 1904

Hassam painted only about forty still lives during his career, two of them during trips he made to Portland in 1904 and 1908. This painting was executed at the home of Colonel Wood, and features fruit from the garden including Oregon plums.


Vincent VAN GOGH – The Thatched-Roof Cottages of Jorgus, Auvers-sur-Oise – 1890

Van Gogh spent the last three months of his life of his troubled life in the picturesque hamlet of Auvers-sur-Oise, northwest of Paris. He was fascinated by the town’s humble, thatched-roof cottages and made numerous studies for compositions. This work, painted the month before his alleged suicide, shows a group of houses belonging to a man named Jorgus. Van Gogh’s undulating forms and energetic brushwork are unmistakable.


Edvard MUNCH – Young Girl in a Landscape – 1920


Claude MONET – Nympheas – 1915


Pierre-Auguste RENOIR – The Seine at Argenteuil – 1874


Alfred SISLEY – Vallee de la Seine – 1885


Childe HASSAM – Nude in Sunlit Wood – 1905


Theo VAN RYSSELBERGHE – Beach at Low Tide, Ambleteuse, Evening – 1900


Paul CEZANNE – La Halle aux Vins a Jussieu – 1872


Raymond JONSON – City Perspectives – 1932


Yayoi Kusama – Infinity Nets – 2014


Urs Fischer – Sauteed – 2015




Barbara HEPWORTH – Dual Form – 1965


Louise NEVELSON – End of Day Nightscape II – 1973


Frank STELLA – Newell’s Hawaiian Shearwater (Exotic Bird) – 1976


Tony SMITH – Gracehoper – 1961


Isamu NOGUCHI – The Seeker – 1970


Jean-Michel BASQUIAT – Busted Atlas 2 – 1982




Video Art – Bush is depicted in prison and through the marvel of technology is finally apologizing for the horror and death he rained down on the Iraqi people. He can be heard repeating “I’m so sorry” and “All those people” while weeping intermittently. Frankly, I enjoyed every second I spent in this exhibit. Hearing the likes of a weeping Condoleeza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld in jail repeating the same lines was so cathartic after those eight horrible years that Bush occupied the Whitehouse. This alone was worth the price of admission.



                                         ST. JOHN




ARUGUARIUM – The French have nothing on this crepe at this restaurant.


TRÉ BONE – Source of treats for Maxine & Co.


Macky macking on a cow esophagus chew.


MAXINE aka the “Woodchipper” shredding hers in short order. I left my mini, travel herb containers in Portland, and the dogs encouraged Karen to enclose my favorite dark chocolate, almond w/sea salt barkTHINS snacking chocolate and Justin’s organic, dark chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.

I highly recommend these two human treats for chocolate sluts who enjoy healthy, high quality chocolate indulgences.


THERAPY – A store that tells it like it is. Retail therapy is what it’s all about in our consumer-driven society. I succumbed to a mobile phone holder for my bike so I can have a navigation system while I ride around Playa Del Carmen.

At least that purchase was reasonable, had utility and was not merely a grasping bid for instant gratification.


Karen hides in plain sight due to the color choices of her clothing and accessories.


SIGNAL – A cool vintage gas station turned pizza shop.


BURGERVILLE – A St. John’s institution serving healthy, good quality fast food. Excellent sweet potato fries are a specialty.


  1. Karen Devers
    October 5, 2016

    Yes, yes – your adoring fans await, John!

  2. The Travel Zealot
    October 15, 2016

    Portland was all about chilling out after that lunatic asylum I found in Vancouver. I had a great time in Portland just decompressing from the insanity and proliferation of heroin in Vancouver at large. The nature and people were so welcoming in Oregon. The kindly vibe reminded me of the vibe of San Francisco in the seventies. Anyone who has not visited Portland needs to do so, especially if you have a friend like mine. Of course, if you visit Portland, the locals will make you feel as if you do too.

  3. Karen Devers
    November 1, 2016

    The photo did turn out well – even though it was the last one before your battery died. I’m looking forward to your return to PDX and hoping you’ll bring some of the sunshine with you from south of the border! This is a good place to write and do your online courses. After all, it is the city where young people go to retire! Even though the rest of us have to keep working!! See you soon – K

  4. Eleanore
    November 1, 2016

    I’m so glad you got to experience the joy of this eclectic city for yourself. I love Portland and I thoroughly agree with your assessment. So much of what I appreciated about Seattle in the ’70s and ’80s seems to have fled for Portland. Every time I’m there I feel like I’m home.

  5. The Travel Zealot
    November 2, 2016

    Hi K, Looking forward to it.

  6. The Travel Zealot
    November 2, 2016

    Hi Elli,
    I agree, Portland is like a comfortable old shoe. Unpretentious with a cozy quality all its own. I quite enjoyed Seattle as well, and look forward to a return visit. Sadly, on my upcoming visit I leave Portland on Nov. 22nd. so I fear I will miss you on this go round.

  7. Karen Devers
    November 16, 2016

    Gorgeous photos, John. You have the eyes of an artist with your camera as your canvas and your commentary makes me feel like I’m there with you. It’s nice to see this homage to the big little city I adore. Merci, merci!

    Portland looks quite different in November and there is much more snow on Mt. Hood since all of our rain here becomes snow in the upper elevations. You’ve experienced the city in our two main seasons – warm and sunny, and cool and wet. Our “shoulders” are nice transitions that are a mixture of everything.

    I do hope you can meet Elli and Mike as well as Josh, Fran’s husband but it looks like it may be quite awhile before that is a possibility. Until then we will all join you on your journey through your blog and Facebook.

  8. The Travel Zealot
    November 17, 2016

    Karen, I need some more photos of 23rd. Street, the Pearl District, and some St. Johns specialty shops. Oh, and the St. John’s Bridge for goodness sakes.

  9. Fran
    November 18, 2016

    What a wonderful posts about our lovely city! It’s always fun to see it through someone else’s eyes. I still haven’t been to the Holocaust Memorial and this reminds me I need to go! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  10. The Travel Zealot
    November 18, 2016

    Wow Fran, that is a surprise. I’m still missing some stuff. If your Mom and I could just get over our colds! At least the French Adventure planning is going well.

  11. Karen Devers
    December 10, 2016

    You filled in your Portland posts with some fun shots of St. Johns. This community is going through a lot of “growing pains” but still retains its many charms. I’m glad we were able to see so much of it while you were here. But wait, there’s more! Next time we’ll have to take in a movie at the Twin Cinema and have pizza while we watch. And we didn’t get to the coast so that’s a must for later. So much to enjoy in the Pacific NW.

  12. The Travel Zealot
    December 12, 2016

    I look forward to it as well as a cozy fire in November 2017.

  13. Karen Devers
    December 15, 2016

    The fireplace insert really is amazing. I have a good system now so there’s no smoke. You were right about building the fire toward the back of the firebox.

  14. The Travel Zealot
    December 20, 2016

    I have a lot of experience with smoking fireplaces.

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