We’ve been in Salem for five days but haven’t done much worthy of blog status. The weekend brought in a heat wave, with temperatures of over a hundred degrees, so we spent a great deal of time in the motorhome enjoying the A/C and watching the Olympics. On Saturday morning we did go into downtown Salem across from the state capitol for a farmers market. It was a very well run market with a nice mix of craft items and fruits and vegetables. We skipped the crafts displays and spent our time on the great fruits and vegetables. Since we were there just as the market opened there was a great selection.
Once the heat wave passed and temperatures returned to the low eighties, we headed north about forty-five to visit the city of Portland. Our first stop was at the International Rose Test Garden. The International Rose Test Garden is in Washington Park, not far from the city’s downtown. There are over 7,000 rose plants of approximately 550 varieties. The roses bloom from April through October with the peak coming in June, depending on the weather. New rose types are continually sent to the garden from many parts of the world and are tested for color, fragrance, disease resistance and other attributes. It is the oldest continuously operating public rose test garden in the United States and exemplifies Portland’s nickname of the City of Roses.
A lady who lives nearby walks her dog in the park each day. The dog loves to stop and take a quick dip in one of the fountains.
The statue below is of a Royal Rosarian. Formed in 1912, the group serves as the official ambassadors and greeters for the city. Wearing their traditional white suits, they tip their straw hats to visitors. We didn’t see any Rosarians during our visit so maybe they are mainly ceremonial for special occasions such as parades.
One of the neat things found on the streets of Portland are unique drinking fountains called Benson Bubblers. The city currently boasts 52 of the fountains and 74 one-bowl variations. Benson Bubblers are made of bronze, but years of weathering give them that eye-catching green finish. In 1912, Simon Benson, a local businessman and philanthropist, donated $10,000 to the City of Portland to purchase and install 20 bronze drinking fountains. Local folklore says that Benson donated the 20 bronze drinking fountains as an effort to keep loggers out of the saloons at lunchtime. Others say that Benson was inspired after seeing a little girl crying at a 4th of July parade because she couldn’t find a drink of water.
We rode our bikes around the downtown for a while, at one point going under an arch designating the area as China Town. It’s a good thing they told us it was China Town as, other than a few Chinese Restaurants, it would have been difficult to know you were in that area of the city.
We then road through Waterfront Park on a bike path along the Willamette River.
Portland is known as a very liberal city tolerant of all kinds of life styles. There seems to be a large number of homeless people in the downtown as well as a large number enjoying a nice day in Waterfront Park. They don’t seem to bother anyone and the locals seem to tolerate them.
There are many things to see and do in Portland, so we plan a return trip or two before we end our stay in the area. More on that later . . .