Home > Vacation > Portland – Day 3: Misc

Portland – Day 3: Misc

After a morning of waterfalls, I got dropped off for lunch. Afterwards, I was picked up for the city tour. We made a couple of stops to pick up some people. I believe there were 4 of us altogether. For the next hour or so, our guide drove us around the western part of Portland. He pointed out some places for at least an hour, mostly restaurants, and gave us his opinion. This would have been ok, but he listed so many that it was impossible to remember them all.


I think mostly because I am into photography, he took us to Crystal Rhododendron Garden (not on the schedule). This 9+ acre park is very nice. I would totally bird here frequently if I lived in Portland. I wasn’t there very long and there were not many birds, but I did ID a few species:

  • Wood Duck (female and juvenile male)
  • Canada Goose
  • American Robin
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Steller’s Jay

This was the first Canada Goose I had seen and only the second Steller’s Jay. The previous one was during our April 2008 ski trip to Snowbird, UT.

Next, we went to the area near Portland State University. This is probably considered downtown, but it’s hard to imagine when you are surrounded by Portland’s real trees . We stopped to look at a 3D mural on a building next to the Oregon Historical Society.


It is more impressive in real life, but this mural looks amazingly real. Down the street, we stopped at the Simon Benson house.

Simon Benson House

Benson is a name you will frequently encounter in the Portland area. Simon Benson made his fortune in the timber industry and gave back much to the city. One of the most visible donations is the installation of 40 Benson Bubblers in the city. These drinking fountains provide fresh water year-round and the unique 4-bowl shape is very eye-catching. You can see one in the bottom-right of the photo above. Another noteworthy donation was 400 acres of land in the Columbia River Gorge, which included Wahkeena and Multnomah Falls. The Benson house itself is not terribly interesting, but there is a fair amount of information and photos inside.

Our final stop of the day was the Pittock Mansion. This is one of the reasons I chose this particular tour. The Pittock Mansion is at a high elevation and bus stops far below. I wasn’t really looking to do a steep hike. I have no photos of the mansion itself because the exterior is under renovation. The inside is typical mansion, nothing to talk about there. The appeal here is the view of Portland.

Mount Hood

This was the only clear day while we were there. Apparently smoke from forest fires was reducing visibility. That is Mount Hood in the background, roughly 50 miles away. Much better than the 5-second glimpse I had in the hotel elevator.

Mount St. Helens

I would not have taken the above photo, except our guide pointed out that that is Mt. St. Helens, maybe 60-70 miles away. You can (barely) differentiate this from Mt. Hood because Mt. St. Helens has something of a flat top as a result of the 1980 eruption. I did not have my telephoto lens with me at the time, so no close-ups. Missing from this mountain montage is Mt. Rainer, quite a bit further. Anyway, this made me happy. I was originally hoping to visit Mt. St. Helens during my trip, but a 4 hour roundtrip drive just didn’t appeal and I wasn’t up to doing an all-day bus tour+hike. Another time.

That’s it for this short post. There’s a few photos in the gallery.

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  1. January 5, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Wow, great photos…and that mural really does look 3D! Stellar’s Jay is one of my most wanted birds. I’m jealous.

  2. January 5, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Thanks Gillian. Anytime you’re jealous of my birds, I am honored!

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