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October 5, 2022

October 10, 2022

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My visit to Portland was special in that I met up with an old friend that goes back to grade two. Mike Johnston was also my roomie for our freshman year at Acadia University in Nova Scotia. Mike is now the Vice President, General Manager, and Head Coach of the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Junior Hockey League. He is also a former head coach in the National Hockey League with the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was great to meet up him and his wife for dinner. I also interviewed Mike.

I also had the privilege of making a presentation to the Central East Portland Rotary Club. I talked about my project and why it is important to get involved (as Rotarians are) in something that can impact the world around us. It was a great and engaging group and I extend my gratitude to Ron Gullberg for offering me the opportunity to speak.

Portland, with an urban population of about 650,000 people, is a fun city to walk with its many diverse bridges traversing the Willamette River. Like other cities in the Northwest, there is a lot of beauty everywhere. On Saturday, at the urging of my Airbnb host, I visited the Farmer’s Market on the campus of Portland State University. It is one of the very best on the entire west coast and had a cornucopia of products. It was well worth the visit.

As I saw in Vancouver, but missed in Seattle (although it certainly exists), I witnessed several tents in certain areas of the city used by the homeless. I have seen the homeless in virtually every city I have visited on my journeys, but the west coast version is simply visually starker. It saddens me. But, then, perhaps the west coast with its out-in-the-open approach is being more realistic as it attempts to address the issue that other cities either try to address with draconian measures or simply sweep it under the carpet and hope nobody notices.

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