Thursday, 19 November 2015

Unwritten rules


At the end of 4 days in Portland, I left feeling as if much of what I expected lived up to my pre tour expectations, the food, the culture, the transport, the parks, the river even the temperature. However there were also some things that really surprised me, homelessness was the biggest shock, one must not forget that Australia has a comprehensive social services which would take many of those who live on the streets in Portland and put them in living standards we would expect in 2015.  For the US though you are mostly on your own and that is reflected in planning a city that has only 1000 beds in shelter programs, not nearly enough for the homeless population Portland. Furthermore, riding a bike through the NE suburbs gave me a feel of what it was like to get out to the real suburbs of Portland, something that First Stop Portland didn’t show us. Interestingly, the suburbs seem to be very car depended, with wide lane one way roads comprising of huge numbers of cars working there way around the outskirts of the Portland city center, these places may be serviced by bus but people seem to prefer to drive out in these areas, opposed to catching a bus or other form of public transport. Lastly, Portland’s bicycle culture really struck me as well, people give way to bikes, even though you may not have right of way they still seem more than happy to give way, what seems to be an unwritten rule amongst Portlanders that bikes are an important part of community and thus we must respect our riders rather than treat them with disdain. 

Zachary Powell