North by Northwest: A few things Las Vegas could learn from Portlandia

And yes indeed, it was beautiful. I don’t think I’d ever in my life seen so many trees. I really liked visiting Portland. I know there are pros and cons to every place you go, but there were a few things about Portland that I thought were really awesome, and perhaps they are things that Las Vegas could learn from.

The first thing we did when arriving at the PDX airport, after we claimed our baggage, was purchased bus passes. There was a kiosk right before you walked out of the airport and we paid $5.00 for an all-day pass. We walked onto the MAX light rail, got off after a few stops, walked across the street, hopped on a bus, then got dropped off at the end of the street we were staying on. The whole trip from the airport to the southeast part of the city took less than an hour, was super easy, straightforward, and best of all, it was cheap. They even have an app for your phone that lets you purchase and use your bus tickets so you don’t ever need to carry a paper ticket, or fumble with change each time to pay. With google maps and the bus ticket app, I was pretty much sold on Portland’s public transportation system. It was so nice to have an option other than getting ripped off on an overpriced a cab ride.

Another thing I really loved about Portland was the number of little restaurants, bars, cafés and just small businesses in general. There was delicious food and drink pretty much everywhere you looked. On almost every corner there would be some little family-run restaurant that you’d never before heard of. Even with all the nearby competition, each one we went into seemed to be getting good business.

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Also, pro tip I learned: the Portland airport requires that their shops and restaurants aren’t allowed to charge a premium–which means you won’t be ripped off in purchasing a 7 dollar bag of Sun Chips, and that you can enjoy a decent priced pint of beer before you board your plane–which we indeed did.

Lastly, I was surprised to notice that there was hardly any trash in the city. There wasn’t trash accumulating beside the freeways, which is far too common a sight here in Nevada. Even while walking through the city streets and parks, I remember hardly seeing any trash around, so that was nice. Perhaps this is a result of higher littering fines in Oregon. In Oregon you can be fined up to $6,250 for littering, which is pretty damn high compared to the $1,000 maximum fine in Nevada. This also is likely a positive effect from Oregon’s high recycling rates and their bottle bill legislation, which has helped urge people to recycle their beverage containers.

I’m not saying Las Vegas is the worst at all these things, but I think we can all agree that there is definitely room for improvement. Suffice it to say that I’d like to visit Portland again sometime soon.