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Spotty posts of late are the result of a bit of an unexpected quick trip that saw me travel through Portland, Oregon. I was not able to log onto the next very often over the last couple of weeks.  I used to spend my summers in Portland a long time ago, and here are some highlights from the trip.

Roots Organic Brewing Company

As a bit of shameless promotion, I cannot help but note my good brother’s brewery, Roots Organic Brewing Company, located in SE Portland.  Before I continue, the name has nothing to do with my name.  Quite simply, the name comes from a concept to return to the “roots” of brewing.  While I was there, I received quite a schooling in the virtues of organic brewing, and the superiority to modern brewing practices.  But, it is much more than simple brewing.  See the about us page at Roots for more information.  One thing the brewers do at this brew/pub is eliminate the filtering process, which means, the taste/flavor of the beer is better retained.  The Roots blog is located here, if you are interested in checking out the news and events of the establishment.

One of the most interesting discussions was on the concept of sustainable life.  I have posted on it in a rather general way in the past in a post on Whole Foods.  You will find mention of this at the Roots website.  The establishment, then, is about more than making a fine and tasty product, but in promoting a certain lifestyle. This publication was available in their newspaper rack.  The aim is to live an organic and healthy life eating organic foods, and living in a “green” way.  Therefore, the aim is to decrease, if not eliminate, preservatives, and pesticides in our food consumption.  Here is a primer on the concept.

The owner is spearheading the Organic Festival this coming week.  The motto is to drink organic to save the plant, one beer at a time.  If interested, see here.  Whole Foods and Trader Joes should be a part of this growing event.  Perhaps they will join the festivities next year.

At any rate, I was very impressed with the efforts of the fine people at Roots, and encourage folks to make the worthy trip to the brewery to learn more.  By the way, the food is fabulous.  To the owner, Craig Nichols, and the staff, I say, Mahalo.

A typical bike lane before a a stop light in Portland. One of these lanes is located near Roots Brewing

Bike Lanes

I have not visited Portland for quite some time.  It has become very cycling/bicycling friendly.  It seems to matter not if it is raining (which it does most days it seems), or sunny and humid, people are riding their bikes in lanes that look like the one to the right.

The cars are to remain behind the “wait here” thick white line, while the cyclists may ride through the cars in a designated lane.  They may then stop and wait for the traffic signal in from of the cars and in front of the thick white line.

Needless to say, the number of cyclist I saw on both sunny and rainy days was impressive. There were even bike lanes on what could be classified as highways.  It would be nice to know the cost of such a public works project, but Portland has billed itself as a cycling friendly town, and it is.

The Main Entrance to Powells

The Main Entrance to Powell's

Powell’s Books

One must stop for any academic, or book lover, has to be the world famous Powell’s Books.  It literally covers an entire block, and has sever sections, and levels.  A person could spend an entire day in the store and not even get through half of it.  The place is a hang out for a diverse crowd of people.  Many hipsters love the place and its attached coffee shop, which is always busy and has a line–a true testament to the quality of the coffee and other assorted beverages they sell.

The store sells new and used books.  For a person looking for a used book, this is the place to go.  Since Oregon has NO sales tax, the price you see on the book is the price you pay.  For someone looking to browse the stacks, like in an old library, this is the place to do it.  Powell’s also has magazines galore, and many other odd products you would expect to find in a bookstore.

When I was at Powell’s last week, the place was packed on a torrential rain day.  It also did not help that the Rose Festival was in full swing.  Their underground garage was full, so I had to find another parking garage.  Still, I found the obscure books I was looking for.  Again, if you find yourself in Portland, skip the stores in Portland International Airport, and head downtown to the main store.  You won’t regret it.