Monday, May 3, 2010
I watch PBS--known here in Oregon as OPB. One of my favorites is Oregon Field Guide (Thursdays, 8:30 PM), which covers stories of all things outdoors in Oregon.
The latest episode took me into the Oregon forests, underground in the Oregon Caves, and right here in town to explore the public stairways of Portland.
I was delighted--but not too surprised--to learn that we have 180 public stairways in and around Portland! Back in the early days of our city--pre-automobiles, in the era of the streetcars--Portlander's that lived in our hills (and we have plenty), built the stairways and used them daily to commute to their jobs in the city below.
Today, the stairways are considered hidden gems of our town. Urban hikers love them for a workout. Local historian, Laura Foster, is researching the history of the stairs to write a book. I plan to check that out when it's published later this year.
You can view the stairways portion of the Oregon Field Guide episode at the OPB website.
Images - various photographers on Flickr (not all in Portland).