Cory Lee is a wheelchair user who loves to travel the world. He recently ventured to Portland, Oregon. Cory says that while Portland has a reputation for being one of the ‘hippiest’ cities in America, the city is also ‘ahead of the curve’ when it comes to wheelchair friendly infrastructure. He shares some of his favorite places he visited along with accessible transportation options.
Lan Su Chinese Garden
Before going to Portland, Cory posted a question on Facebook asking his friends what places he should visit while in the city. Many people responded with the Chinese Gardens. His hotel was only a ten minute walk/roll from Chinatown. Cory met up with a friend and fellow wheelchair user who lives in Portland and they toured the Gardens together. The Lan Su Chinese Gardens were accessible complete with an elevator to the second floor to enjoy tea. Cory states that he had truly felt he had been transported to China.
Cory suggests visiting Mount Tabor if you are looking to spend some time outdoors with a good view. The pathways are paved and there are accessible picnic areas with restrooms.
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
The OMSI is an interactive museum. If you require an attendant to help with your needs, that person is let in free of charge. Cory says that he really enjoyed the museum and one can spends hours there!
Cory liked the fact that wheelchair seating in the theatre is located in the first floor so there would be no problem seeing everything. Make sure to let the box office know you require accessible seating.
Tom McCall Waterfront Park
The park was not far from Cory’s hotel, so this was a sight he visited more than once. Cory says this waterfront park with a 1.5 mile paved pathway by the Willamette River is ideal for bikers, skaters, and wheelchair users.
“From a beautiful Chinese garden to delicious foods and diversity, Portland offers something for everyone and is a fantastic city for wheelchair users. If you’re looking to visit an off-the-beaten-trail destination in the U.S., consider rolling to the Pacific Northwest and the stunning city of Portland.”
Cory says that Portland has some of the smoothest curb cuts he has ever wheeled over. There is plenty of downtown destinations that are close enough in distance to take a nice stroll.
Wheelchair Accessible Taxis
Cory says reserving a wheelchair accessible taxi is simple just by calling and making a reservation. However he advises reserving a taxi in advance to ensure that their is a vehicle readily available to meet your needs.
Portland City Buses
Cory states that the TriMet bus system boasts about wheelchair accessibility. The bus system covers the entire city of Portland and numerous suburbs. Every bus has a lift and/or ramp. There is also the Portland Streetcars. However, the tickets have to be bought in advance online. There are day passes that can be used for both transportation systems - the bus and the streetcar. Since navigating public transportation can be confusing, Cory suggests planning your trip ahead of time.
The MAX Light Rail
The MAX Light Rail is Portland’s train system. Cory says the train is wheelchair accessible; however, the train does not have tie downs for your wheelchair. But, Cory says that is because the ride is so smooth. Cory gives the following advice for boarding the train: “There are some specific procedures you should follow while boarding MAX in a wheelchair: wait for the train near the middle of the platform (but behind the bumpy white tiles), and look for a door with a blue accessibility symbol on it — it’ll be the center set of doors for each traincar. If the driver hasn’t already deployed the ramp, you can do so any time by pressing the blue button on the side of the train. Once you’ve reached your stop and are ready to exit the train, MAX says to “push on the ramp request strip located near the grab bar, or push the blue ramp request button next to the doors.” Once a green light appears, you know that the train operator has received your request and the ramp will be ready when you go to leave the train.”
At the end of his original post, Cory also gives two options for wheelchair van rentals.
“However you choose to get around Portland, this waterfront gem is well worth the visit. A trendy and modern city, it has plenty of awesome attractions and innovative restaurants to explore. Downtown Portland is a vibrant neighborhood that’s easy to explore on wheels, and the city’s public transportation infrastructure is well-suited for wheelchair users to get from place to place with little difficulty.”
Be sure to share this post with someone who is looking to visit Portland!