Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Oregon Bar Exam

He came, he saw, he kicked its ass.

Paul passed the Oregon Bar!! He took the exam back in February after months and months of preparing, and the results came in yesterday after months of waiting. Congratulations Paul! Of course it comes as no big surprise to most of us that he passed. :)

To celebrate I took Paul out for dinner at Departure, a new restaurant and bar on the top floor of The Nines hotel, situated in the heart of downtown. It has a very cool retro nautical/1960s jet liner/world traveler theme... which sounds hokey, but it really isn't. I think the Willamette Week sums it up nicely: "Depending on where you stand, it looks like a near-death experience, an airliner from Dubai, a catamaran designed by Star Fleet, a Barcelona penthouse, the inside of an engine block, the Winchester Mystery House and a particularly nice bank office on the Death Star. And it is amazing."

Not to mention, they have two incredible rooftop patios overlooking almost the entire city. We had some cocktails out there before dinner, and man... this is the life. Our friends Kelly and Eric met up with us to celebrate as well (Eric is an accountant, who was also ready to celebrate tax season being over!), and after enjoying round after round of dim sum plates, we topped the night off with dessert at Pix Patisserie. Amazing.

Here are some shots of the rooftop patio:

Pioneer Square down below, "Portland's Living Room"

A very fun evening indeed. We have a wave of warm weather coming up, so we're headed out to enjoy it!

Jenny (and Paul Mayo, Esquire)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Early Spring and a Multimodal Commute Home

The Hollywood Theater

Hi everyone, it's Paul posting for once. Yesterday Jenny and I took the MAX from downtown out to the Hollywood District located near where NE Sandy, NE Broadway, NE 42nd, and I-84 all meet - if for some reason you were to look at a map to see what I'm talking about, you'd see that this makes for a lot of interesting intersections with some odd angles. Anyway, the neighborhood is named for the Hollywood Theater pictured above and is home to some new mixed use buildings, a couple of which are still under construction, and old single family homes. The commercial part of the district is pretty typical of Portland, with Fleur de Lis Bakery, the Laurelwood Brewing Co. pizza place, a vintage MCM furniture store, Trader Joe's, a comic book shop, a tropical fish store, coffee shops, wine bars, and restaurants.

On the way home we stopped to take some pictures of the cherry blossoms along the waterfront. Spring is definitely here in Portland:

Waterfront Park from the Steel Bridge

The Steel Bridge

There are cherry blossoms all over the city right now.

Since we haven't been up to much other than our daily routines lately, and there have been a lot of complaints about a lack of posts, I thought it might be about time to do a post about my daily routine. Well, not all of it - this is just about my commute home from work today.

The WES arriving at Tigard Transit Center

Portland is famous for being bike friendly
and for having excellent public transit, and I depend on both to get to work. My route to and from work varies, and may involve anywhere between 6 and 25 miles on my bike (round-trip) in addition to trains and buses. Today I rode my bike 1.5 miles from work down to catch the WES commuter train north to Beaverton. The WES line just began operating in February and uses diesel powered cars and freight lines rather than electric and a closed system like MAX. WES operates from Wilsonville to Beaverton with three stops along the way. The line may eventually extend to Salem.

BoldThe WES cars are comfy.

My bike safely secured in full compliance with federal regulations.

Here's the WES train at Beaverton Transit Center

At Beaverton Transit Center I transfered to a MAX train, which I took two stops east to the Washington Park/Oregon Zoo MAX Station.

The Washington Park/Oregon Zoo MAX Station is 260 feet below Portland's West Hills, and is the deepest train station in North America (second in the world after one in Moscow).

There's a core sample of the 260 feet of rock above the station mounted along the station wall on the left.

To get to the park you take a high speed elevator 260 feet up to the surface, high above downtown Portland:

Once you get to the top of the elevator, you can pretty much let gravity do the rest of the work all the way into downtown Portland. Every Sunday night a group of Portlanders meet up to ride the MAX from downtown to the Washington Park station to "Zoobomb" their way down the hill (usually on little kids bikes) to another station and repeat. The 4 miles from the station to our apartment building are downhill and mostly through a heavily forested park:

It's a lot more work going uphill.

Bombing down an empty road on your bike while surrounded by trees makes for an enjoyable commute.

Washington Park is also home to Portland's Japanese Garden and International Rose Test Garden, which are on the way home. The roses aren't blooming yet, but these were:

Once I got home, Jenny and I took Buckley up to the dog park a few blocks north of our building to play Frisbee - his new favorite toy. We took these along the way:

Watching Buckley run around at the dog park