You Must go to the Bathroom in Portland!
It Took us 2 Hours to See all the Bathroom Art
Portland, Oregon is known for it’s diverse population. Literally, every kind of person lives there and is encouraged to be themselves with the city’s motto: Keep Portland Weird.
In a city of half a million or more people, you get a lot of diversity just because of the sheer numbers alone. There are several museums, including the Museum of Crafts, which is a very interesting place with displays using every medium known to man.
For the art lovers of any style or genre there is one place that even the taxi cab drivers recommend to people; the bathrooms in the Portland Convention Center! The Center has over two million dollars in artwork hanging around the place.
It’s everywhere. These works range from brass carvings to paintings, ceramics, sculptures and even a replica of a huge Dragon Boat that hangs from the ceiling.
You Have to See the Bathrooms
But, the bathroom art is where the pay dirt is on the art collection. Every single public bathroom in the Center is done with different artworks from various local artists, and tons of people cruise through just to see the famous bathroom art.
It can take a couple of hours to see them all, and the smart ones come in pairs of male and female so one can make sure a bathroom is empty before the other sex can enter and check out the art.
One bathroom has beautiful colored bottles encased inside a wall; another bathroom has been done in ceramic tiles that depict doorways or hold in mirrors. Each one has a theme and was commissioned to be done by a local artist, and no two restrooms are alike.
Ask the Docents for Bathroom Art Information
At the Convention Center’s huge information desk a visitor can find a pamphlet on the modern wall art in the bathrooms, telling visitors where each bathroom is, what’s being displayed in it, and who made it. It’s worth stopping to pick it up, it’s very informational.
Seeing Portland’s weirdness first-hand is recommended; simply reading about it or looking at photos doesn’t really do the place - or the artworks - justice. It’s worth writing home about and taking pictures of.
What else is there to do besides Portland, Oregon art galleries? Lots! This city is really set up for every imaginable activity and preference one can have. Whatever one wants to do, it’s available somewhere in the City of Roses; one of Portland’s many monikers.
Alias names the city goes by:
- Rose City
- City of Roses
- Bike City
- Rip City
- Bridge City
- Bridge town
- Razorblade City
- Little Beirut
Portland by Any Other Name is Still Portland
These names were all given because of different aspects of Portland’s livelihood. There are seven bridges over the Willamette River within the city’s limits and it’s been voted the second-most bike friendly city in the USA. Even the Portland International Airport has a bike repair station for those who ride their bikes and then fly, and the other way around.
Each year they hold “Bike-a-Palooza” where every bicyclist in town rides across the bridges and hold races and parades all over town. Even some of the area’s best hotels have bike parking lots, and one of them is even under a roof. Portland even has a self proclaimed “bicycle chiropractor” that will make sure your bike is set up to fit the rider’s body correctly.
Rip City came about from basketball’s Trail Blazers and City of Roses is an old name given in 1888 for a mayor’s love of the flower, suggesting the city hold an annual festival. It’s called the Rose Festival and is celebrated every June, when the roses are in full bloom. There are many parks filled with roses, and even a super huge rose garden resides downtown.
Rose Festival and Garden Competitions
Each year there are contests held to showcase the city’s most prolific rose growers, and citizens compete for the title of most beautiful rose garden. Any cab driver worth their salt can take visitors to one or all of the famous rose gardens in city limits.
Portland also has a “living room” in the city center, and it’s called Pioneer Courthouse Square - directly across from the Pioneer Courthouse, which was later turned into a post office, and then later turned into a city building. The Square is made of bricks and most of them have the names of city residents stamped into them.
There’s plenty of room for staged events, concerts, and in summer, walk-in movies. Just look around and ask for what you want. Somebody, somewhere will know and direct you, as the people in Portland are very neighborly and friendly.
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