Tuesday, March 15, 2005
SW/SE ~ Downtown Bridges Loop
Date last visited: March 4, 2005
Path Surface: Paved and Metal Grid
Elevation gain/loss: 40 feet
Distance: 3 miles
Ratings: Setting+++ (noise detracts from an otherwise higher rating) Calorie-burning ++
Directions: Downtown, from the Max Light Rail, Yamhill District Stop (eastbound) or Third & Morrison (westbound)
Wildlife, river views, art, parks, a museum and memorials--the essence of downtown in three miles!
The best way to begin your sightseeing is a ride on Max (plenty of "wildlife" on a typical day). From the stops identified above, walk east to Waterfront Park. At Yamhill, the sidewalk crosses the sometimes grassy, sometimes dusty width of the park to the seawall at river's edge. Turn right and walk south, veering right at the Salmon Street Springs to walk in front of McCalls Restaurant, then up the pedestrian ramp onto the Hawthorne Bridge. No promises, but on our walk we saw one of Portland's resident peregrines while we were crossing the bridge. At the east end of the bridge, continue forward until you can turn left, which will drop you down to the "Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade." Turn north, but pause to look over the stone representation of the Willamette River, next to the PFD building. A dock here takes you right down to the Willamette, but if you have kids with you, you'll get the same close encounter later on with the added benefit of railings.
Continuing north, look for gulls, geese, pigeons, blue herons and double crested cormorants. Get in touch with your right brain as you pass works of art. You might also enjoy reading the brief history lessons posted along the way. At the sign for SE Ash, veer left to drop down to river level. Didn't think you could walk on water?
At the Steel Bridge, cross back over the Willamette, where ships and tall masted boats can cause a brief delay in your journey. At the west end of the bridge, back in Waterfront Park, walk south to enjoy the Japanese Memorial, the Oregon Maritime Museum and Battleship Oregon Memorial Park. Passing the Four Points Hotel to the west across Front, turn right (west) at the green ship's cleat #35 to return to Yamhill and back to the train. With the extra credit for walking to and from the train, you've just done three miles. Map.