We are very fortunate to have the climate and natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest literally outside our door. So of course there are folks who want to share their enthusiasm for being outside with others. Walking in Portland is a way of life, a past time, an exercise method, some might say religion, too (Forest Therapy is a thing). Some of our options for walking with others are guided walks, volunteer led group walks, and self-guided walks.
Six years ago I decided to get more fit by devoting my spare time to walking. So I looked around for a partner or group. I was lucky to find Meetup.com. I found a group just forming that I could help shape. The rest is history. I now have good friends with like interest in being out of doors to get exercise. Anytime I want, I can post an event and have folks sign up who will come with me. I have learned so much about the different neighborhoods, streets, roads and trails in Portland and beyond.
Our neighborhoods are really gems waiting for you to discover. My first resource for where to walk was the book Walk There written by Laura Foster and published by Metro. It has walks in most neighborhoods and regions of the metro area. The maps are great in the book and are posted online, too.
But for our own Eliot neighborhood the “Northeast Portland Bike/Walk Map” is great, provided by Portland Department of Transportation, PDOT. The best features of this map is that it shows greenways which are streets of low flow traffic with lower speed limits, great for walking and biking. It also shows trails, off street paths, bike lanes, difficult intersections, and bus stops.
At some point in our day, whether we drive a car, ride a bike or take transit to get around, we are first pedestrians. Many of the trips we take are short, within a 20 minute walk, and could be taken by foot, giving you a chance to exercise, time to unwind and get to know your surroundings in a new way.
Volkswalk is a national and international group that selflessly posts walks and provides maps. Our Volkzwalk Oregon website says it best, “What Are Volkssports? Volkssports are family-oriented, amateur athletic events. They are casual, though well-organized adventures in health, recreation, fellowship and fun. Volkssports evolved to be non-competitive from running races in Germany, and have spread to 28 other countries. (Volks means folks, and ‘folks’ means all of us.)” What I like best about their monthly walks are the flags they place to mark the route. My favorite is the February Heartbreaker, a 7K or 11K with 1000+ stairs. This is a great goal to get in shape for the hiking season.
Ten Toes is Portland Department of Transportation’s effort to get us out and around the city. Ten Toe Express guided walks are free and open to all. They are held on Thursdays at 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays at 9:00 a.m. No registration required. The Ten Toe Express program includes a series of guided walks, maps and other materials distributed to people who place a SmartTrips order.
In addition to getting out there and continuing the work of previous Portland outdoor advocates and supporters, it is our challenge to continue to improve conditions. One such group is the Street Trust ®. It is a non-profit membership organization, in is own words, “working to promote and improve public transit, walking and bicycling conditions in Oregon. Since 1990, The Street Trust (formerly the Bicycle Transportation Alliance) has worked in partnership with citizens, businesses, community groups, government agencies, and elected officials to create communities where people can meet their daily transportation needs through active transportation. What I really like about this organization is their commitment to what our community can be, “…We envision a community where everyone from all racial backgrounds has access to safe, healthy, and affordable transportation options in the neighborhoods where they live, work, learn, pray, and play.”
See you outside!
Jere is Organizer of meetup.com Eastside Womens Health Fitness, and is always open for members to lead events or come on her events. Some other options are listed below.
NeighborWalks is a collaborative community walking program brought to you by AARP Oregon, City of Portland Bureau of Transportation and Oregon Walks. Our vision is to get more people walking every day for health, transportation, environment, and community. Walks will take place in Portland neighborhoods, led by AARP volunteer leaders with support from community partners. Join us for these intergenerational walks as we celebrate an Age-Friendly Portland and a community for all ages and abilities!
Be sure to check out PDOT, Portland Department of Transportation Walk Portland site for all kinds of information from guided walks to benefits of walking to walking advocacy to being safe on Portland streets.
And don’t forget the map. For free maps either online or sent to your home go to PDOT Bike + Walk Maps site.
For a good mix of what’s happening, including guided walks, PDX Pipeline Local Events and Entertainment is a good source to know.