The yearlong round-the-world trip was an adventure of our lifetimes. A lot happened on the road. Meanwhile, back in Portland, Oregon, our adopted hometown, life continued without us: Babies were born (Welcome to Earth, Alder, Brady, Dylan, and Eliáš!), jobs were changed, houses were sold and bought… Aside from all the personal news and updates, in the first few days back I also noticed a few other changes in the City of Roses aka Portland, Oregon, one year later.

New in Portland #1: Murals

Creating a mural in Portland, Oregon, isn’t a simple process, so imagine my surprise discovering a slew of new murals around town. Some of these may not be new per se but they are new to me. Maybe, as a permanent traveler, I’m paying more attention to the world around me. Or maybe it’s because I used to live in Southeast Portland whereas I now live in the Northeast quadrant. One thing is for sure: there are plenty more murals to discover.

Portland Oregon one year later

New in Portland #2: Citrusy ales

Portland is said to have the most microbreweries per capita of any medium- to large-sized American city. In 2013 Travel and Leisure magazine named Portland the Best Beer City. Earlier this year, no fewer than 8 new breweries were slated to open in Portland in 2014. Not all that surprising considering my adopted hometown’s nickname is Beervana.

It wasn’t as much the number of new breweries that opened while we were gone as the unprecedented number of citrusy ales on tap this summer season. As of this writing I’ve only been in town for 10 days but I’ve already sampled Citrus Mistress by Hop Valley (grapefruit), Superfuzz Blood Orange Pale Ale by Elysian (blood orange, duh), and Fresh Squeezed IPA by Deschutes (lemon from Citra and Mosaic hops). At Oregon Brewers Festival, I sampled Lorenzini Blood Orange Double IPA by Maui and Blood Orange IPA by Payett (I skipped the Blood Orange/Dragon Fruit Florida Weisse by Cigar Brewing and Orange Avenue Wit by Coronado chiefly because these aren’t my favorite styles, and Citrafonix by Oakshire because, well, you can’t drink everything).

Portland Oregon one year later

A taste of Payette Blood Orange IPA at Oregon Brewers Festival, July 25, 2014.

Granted, none of these are from Portland-based breweries (they’re from Eugene, Seattle, Bend, while the OBF beers are from Maui, Garden City, Tampa, Coronado, and Eugene, respectively). But Portland sits in the middle of the Pacific Northwest region, which is awash in microbrews and should be called Pacific Beerwest.

New in Portland #3: Condos

Runaway construction of boxy condominium complexes, particularly those without off-street parking spaces, had been a topic of controversy long before we departed on our trip. Every day I drove or biked by condo construction sites. I should have expected to see them finished and new ones being started. But in these first few days back it feels like I’ve been seeing many more than I should be. Just around the corner from our new place, a new condo building sprouted while we were gone, and another one is going up one block over.

Portland Oregon one year later

All these new condo buildings are changing the look and feel of the city, particularly on the East Side. Good thing beautiful murals and tasty microbrews keep things right.

What changes did you notice in your city after a long absence?

19 Responses

  1. Danik the Explorer (UK)

    I hope I will have enough time to explore Portland when I am doing my Alberta, BC and SK road trip which will also includes Seattle. Want to make the sort trek to Portland but will see. 😀 Great blog guys.

  2. kelsey

    nice to see the perspective from someone who has been away for a while. i just moved here a year ago so it’s all fresh and new to me!

  3. Marlynn

    The murals have definitely been springing up everywhere. I love being surprised by new ones while being out & about. They’re so creative! Well, most of them 😉

  4. Geoff (The Lazy Literatus)

    That Velo mural – awesome.

    And if you haven’t had the chance, stop by Bridgeport and see if they still have their Citra-Hopped Hop Czar. Palate-changing.

    • Peter Korchnak

      Thanks for the recommendation, Geoff. I’ve had a Hop Czar but only bottled. I should try the draft version for sure, they usually are better.

  5. Rhonda

    Welcome HOME 🙂 Yes, PDX is still the same but ever changing as well. Keep Portland Weird seems to be the true mantra!

      • Rhonda

        I think we have several, actually!! The Dangerz, Kim & Brian of So-Many-Places and Wandering Sasquatch, and Carmel & Shawn of The Journey Itself. I guess the creativity that draws people here also creates the courage to break the mold.

      • Peter Korchnak

        The Dangerz are the only ones I didn’t know about. Looks like Carmel & Shawn, who are back in the U.S., are settling in Seattle for now.

  6. Tyson

    Portland is a phenomenal city. With all the growth that is happening now, lots of things are changing and there are some definite growing pains. However, it is normal and all big cities have gone through the same thing we are experiencing now. Good article.

  7. Daniel


    The Citrus mistress is by far my favorite at Hop Valley! After a long days work we use to go there (in Happy Valley), but since moving to Milwaukie Breakside is much closer. It is pretty wild to see how many high rise multi family apartments are going up in SE pdx though.


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