The Waterfront Blues Festival

It’s all been happening here in Portland and the summer’s only just started!  I truly love summers here; they’re always a lot going on for both children and adults.  A few weeks ago we had the Waterfront Blues Festival at Tom McCall Park. What I loved about it was that there was something for everyone.  Daniel told me it’s the 25th time they’ve done it, on a yearly basis!   It first began as the Rose City Blues Festival, as a tribute to the homeless.  It still has that theme, as it has a mission: to eliminate hunger for all.  So it’s a great fundraiser (which is important to teach the kids, that while we’re doing something fun we should think about others less fortunate than ourselves), by donating $10 for entrance as well as at least two cans of food. What’s great is that all donations go straight to Oregon’s Food Bank.

For me personally, I loved the Steve Miller Band and James Hunter.  But what was great also is that it was very kid-friendly too with all the fireworks, kids’ dance classes, Blues Guitar Workshop and more.  What a blast.  So everyone in the family enjoyed it.  Can’t wait to go back again next year!

High Quality Oregon Health Care

I was really pleased last week when I learned that two of Oregon’s large hospitals scored an “A” grade from the Leapfrog Group for safety standards.  I was actually treated at one of them – Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center – and remember thinking that it was quite nice.  It’s located in Clackamas but I went there as I heard it had a good neo-natal unit for when Ethan was born.  I’m not familiar with the other one that scored an A – McMinnville’s Willamette Valley Medical Center – but I love the Cornerstone Coffee Roasters for their Jiminy Cricket Milkshakes!  But I digress.

I like to hear positive news stories about what is going on in my city, or state. It’s good to know that healthcare is a top priority for Oregonian officials and that safety standards are always trying to be maintained and improved.

The hospitals were evaluated via a few bodies including: the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Over 26 points were assessed, through three main categories: process measures; structural measures and outcome measures.  The data that was analyzed is available to the public.

Let’s hear it for Oregon, and let’s keep the good news about our state coming in thick and fast.

 

Eater’s First Pizza Week

I am not such a huge fan of pizza, but Daniel and the boys just love it.  So they were really happy to hear about Eater PDX first-ever Pizza week in Portland.  What this means is that for all the restaurants in the region that have never served pizza, they now have a chance to concoct and serve up a special Eater Pizza to be accessible to restaurant-goers for that entire week.  Every day for a week, a new item will be highlighted and reviewed at Eater PDX, with the first one being Greg Perrault’s June restaurant at 2215 East Burnside Street. 

Our friends checked it out.  They were thrilled with the entire flatbread concept of a clam pizza.  We asked them if they knew how it was made.  So apparently, it’s all down to Perrault’s techniques.  His dough is where it’s at – the ingredients include: whole-wheat flour locally milled from Greenwillow Farms; and sprouted radish seeds.  Then, he does something quite unusual with it. Instead of baking, he actually grills the dough on a medium heat. The dough is sautéed and then flipped on its other side.  Perrault put on the leaves, cheese, clams pickled ramp steams and coppa in layers and then the whole thing goes on a rack in a hot oven until the clams pop open.  At that point, Perrault drizzles the dish with a cream flavored anise seed.

Portland Loo Up for Grabs?

Portland is famous for a whole lot of things and I guess its bathroom facilities are probably quite high on the list.  However, when you start comparing the public facilities to others throughout the nation, the Portland Loo doesn’t have all that much competition.  So now it seems the city might be cashing in on its invention.

I always remember my mom complaining that there were no facilities along the road when she was pregnant with my siblings.  It drove her – and my poor father who was trying to take us on a road trip – nuts.  So when I got to Portland discovered the Portland Loo, I remember telling my mom all about it.  “Oh,” she said, “things still haven’t changed all that much here back in Cincinnati,” she bemoaned. 

Even if one can find such a facility, they often smell worse than where a vagabond has been sleeping for more than a night or two.  And the vandalism is insane. So unless you happen to be close to a popular restaurant chain, then you’re pretty stuck.  And it sure isn’t fun when you’re pregnant, as when you have to go, you really have to go.

It seems though that now the country’s big cities are trying to do something similar, which is ending up to be a costly – and not so effective – poor alternative. Large cities around the nation are purchasing very high-tech self-cleaning automatic loos that aren’t quite doing the job.  Like in Seattle, five were installed, costing the city a staggering $5million but due to them being used for drugs and prostitution, they were sold on eBay in 2008!

Clearly the Portland Loo is the way to go.  I mean, if it anyway already has its own FB page and more than 200 Twitter followers, what more can one ask for?

Safety of Portland’s Streets

It seems that while I originally thought that Oregon was one of the best, safest states in America to cycle, I have now heard something to the contrary.  But apparently the jury is still out on whether the roads are safe in Portland for cycling and walking.  So here’s the latest scoop. 

Recently, the Portland Bureau of Transportation was questioned on its budget, expenditure and financial spending and how well the roads are improving, or – as the case more seems to be – deteriorating.  The study found that roads are somewhat pock marked (not great news), but in general, the streets are pretty safe.  According to our Mayor (Sam Adams), the priority has been to keep drivers “alive [rather] than totally comfortable on side streets.” It has been that which has been priority.  And, that does make me happy.

Adams also argued that he has put this strategy into place because it makes sense.  The result has been a huge reduction in traffic fatalities (great news) while at the same time, there has been quite an increase in the population of Portland.  The conclusion was thus, “you are more likely to stay alive biking, walking and driving around Portland than you were before.”