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Portland

Oregon

October 5, 2022

October 10, 2022

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My visit to Portland was notable in that I met up with an old friend who goes back to grade two. Mike Johnston was 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 with him and his wife for dinner. I also interviewed Mike.

I also had the privilege of speaking at the Central East Portland Rotary Club. I talked about my project and why getting involved (as Rotarians are) is essential to impact the world around us. It was a tremendous and engaging group, and I thank Ron Gullberg for offering me the opportunity to speak.

With an urban population of about 650,000 people, Portland 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 Farmers' Market on the Portland State University campus. It is one of the best on the entire West Coast and has 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 used by the homeless in some regions of the city. On my journeys, I have seen the homeless in virtually every city, but the West Coast version is visually starker. It saddens me. But, then, perhaps the West Coast, with its out-in-the-open approach, is more realistic as it attempts to address the issue that other cities either try to manage with draconian measures or sweep it under the carpet and hope nobody notices.

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