I took a slow train … a very, slow train from Seattle to Portland, jam packed full of Seattle Seahawk fans who were not in the best of moods given the disappointing performance of their team at the big Monday night NFL game the night before. I’ve had worse J. Ever been on a train with British football fans after a bad game? … say no more.
Arriving in Portland was like taking a big out breath. I suddenly found myself in a peaceful, ordered but creative and up-beat place, which felt as much as a village as it did a big city. It felt like home. I couldn’t get enough of the city and signed up to a walking tour during which I found out lots of interesting things about the Portland’s history. Favourite fact: the city has 22 drinking fountains at its heart, installed there many years ago by a philanthropic mayor who decreed that no person or animal should ever go thirsty in Portland. They are therefore included in my illustration of this self-proclaimed weird (and I would add wonderful) city.
Second favourite fact: the tap water in Portland is amazing! Fresh from the glacial mountains with no fluoride, it has to be the second-best tap water I’ve ever tasted (the best was in Oslo).
The reason to visit Portland was for a meeting with one of my oldest and best customers: the iconic Powell’s Books. Powell’s has been selling my Portland tote bag for 5 years were one of my first stockists. I am proud to say that my Portland bag is their best-selling tote.
It’s time for a refresh however and so discussing a new design, celebrating Portland's famous landmarks and unique, laid back and liberal culture, was a great opportunity to have face-to-face. It also led to a new, Hello Portland artwork :-) My Oregon design has been a hit with Team Powell’s and will accompany the new Portland design next year.
Having less than 48 hours in Portland gave me a taste of something I liked and wanted more of. I didn’t get the chance to see the breath-taking beauty of Oregon, with its snow-capped mountains, deep blue crater lakes and wild and rugged coastline. I did sneak a peak at Mount Hood just as I was leaving, rising out of the forested landscape and up into a cyrilean blue sky, into which I was about to ascend … and on my way over the Rockies and Mid West to Toronto (via Chicago!).