Kicking It Urban Style in Portland


During our 14 months in Argentina, we downsized quite a bit by living in a smallish apartment and by not owning a car — we just used public transportation and taxis for everything. It was lovely, for the most part. We could clean quickly, we consumed less crap because we didn’t have room for anything, and were generally a lot happier without a lot of stuff.

As a result of our experiences, we would like to extend our downsizing and use of public transportation to our life in Portland. So, what specifically does that mean for us?

Housing. We have decided to start out renting a condo in NW Portland that puts us within several blocks of multiple transportation options. The unit we settled on, while bigger than our 950 SF Argentine apartment, is still significantly smaller than our old house!

Transportation. We are within 3-5 blocks of multiple Zipcars, the Portland Streetcar, the Max, and TriMet buses.

School. The girls will go to a school we can travel to via Portland Streetcar.

We put our resolve to the test during our first week in Portland. It poured rain (hovered around freezing the first day) the entire time the four of us trudged around the city wearing zillions of layers (we still feel like it’s summer), armed only with our umbrellas and some TriMet travel passes. Even though we had signed up for Zipcar, we took pride in the fact that we didn’t use it once as we looked for apartments, went to doctor’s appointments, met up with family, got glasses repaired, paid for a parking permit for the movers, shopped for birthday presents, etc. etc.

Can we make it through a Portland winter without running out to buy a car? Let the experiment begin!!

6 Responses to “Kicking It Urban Style in Portland”

  1. meg

    glad to hear you are staying “true to the cause”. well, you left just in time! temps are soaring here! it has been in the mid to upper 80s all week.
    wanted you to know you left just before the taxi fare hike. up 21% this week…ouch. not that we have been running around in taxis given the size of the fam…but still,,,21% is A LOT!
    well, merry christmas, happy new year and we will be in touch.
    oh, and by the way….you know the restaurant where you had thanksgiving dinner (name is escaping me right now)-mac went by there today and said it is closed! sure enough….out of business! BUMMER!

  2. futbol

    i don’t know what form of public transportation THE MAX is, and i’d rather not find out, but it sounds badass. “uh, yeah, i’ll be there in just two minutes, because i’m riding THE MAXX!!”

  3. Michele


    We miss you guys! We were very happy it was a mild summer before we left — the year before it was considerably hotter, and, well, I don’t really function well in the heat. Yowza, that cab fair increase, that hurts!! We got out just in the nick of time. Next thing you know, the cost of Persicco ice cream is going to go up again! Stay int ouch. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too!! Besos.

  4. Michele

    I never really stopped to consider that “the MAX” might sound cool! It is a light rail system that Portland, OR has slowly been installing and expanding around the city over the last few decades…I believe that if you are an urban planner studying public transportation in a non-subway city, it would be badass!

  5. futbol

    thanks for bursting my bubble. i was imagining a giant dragon, or a black bullet train with flames painted onto the sides.

  6. Michele

    The type of public transporation Hulk Hogan would take to work? *laugh*

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