17 November 2006

F-Around Friday: Special Touring Edition, And The Dance Attack

Periodically, groups at my work do an off-site team-building activity. For example, in June '05, we went to a baseball game at The Peege.

Today, we did a walking tour of Portland. We started by MAXing from Hillsboro to downtown Portland, where we hit the Rock Bottom for lunch. I had the BBQ chicken salad and the Morrison Street Stout, both of which were excellent. The salad listed the stout as a good beer pairing, so I couldn't have done too bad there. The stout itself was pretty average to me, so I'd call it good in my book. Nothing really stood out about it, but no turn-offs either. From the web site description, it varies in style, and I think this one was the smooth oatmeal stout variant, given that it's not technically winter yet.

The walking tour was with Portland Walking Tours, and we did the 'underground Portland' tour. It wasn't spectacular, but I did learn a lot about the city's history that I didn't know. The nly physically underground part of the tour was at the end, in the basement of Old Town Pizza. Here are some photos I shot on the tour:

This was once called the Goodyear building. Now it's a restaurant. McCormick & Schmick's is pretty good. This isn't one of the cast-iron buildings, but our tour guide said there were many in town. Apparently, they had lots of fires in the early days of the city, so there are virtually no original buildings left. Also, in the '60s and '70s, urban planners had lots of old buildings knocked down. Progress.

They thought about calling the 'underground' tour the 'worst of Portland' tour, but thought better of it. However, our guide did highlight a rather awful part of the city's history, talking about the Japanese internment camps from WWII. At left is one of two copper pillars at the entrance of the city's Japanese American Historical Plaza, opened in 1990 . There are several boulders throughout the plaza with poems reflecting the thoughts of those who were sent to the camps.

Probably another reason they thought about calling it the 'worst of Portland' tour - you go right by the sewage pumping plant. This is right along the waterfront, north of the park, but south of the historical plaza.

I just had to shoot that.

Our tour took us through Old Town/Chinatown. Here's an example of the architecture you'll find down there. The tour didn't take us very close to what I consider the 'main' Chinatown landmark, which is a nice large arch over 4th Avenue where it intersects with Burnside, or I'd have shot that one for y'all.

Here's the outside of Old Town Pizza, where we actually did go below ground. Our guide talked about some infamous shanghaiing stories, as well as how some buildings had tunnels so people could avoid the police when they raided various illegal establishments back in the day. The pizza smelled good, but we didn't have any.

Oh, and they're closed on Leonardo Da Vinci's birthday (tax day, oddly enough) according to the message on the front door, so don't bother going then.

After the tour, I hopped the MAX home to relax, eat, and then head back into town for the '80s Video Dance Attack. Lola's Room at the Crystal Ballroom isn't huge, and the beer selection was lame, which surprised me for a part of the McMenamins Empire. They had a gigantic projection screen showing '80s videos, and many people were there 'in costume'. We hooked up with our pal Ryan, his bro and bro's wife, and several of their friends to take in the rad-ness of it all, from Michael Jackson to the Cure to Depeche Mode, to AC/DC to A-Ha to The Buggles and many more. We didn't stay terribly long, but we did get out and dance to the music of our childhood. Long day, though - up at 4:30 for me, and we didn't hit the hay until about 1:30am Saturday morning.