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Tacoma Narrows from Amtrak Cascades, Sept 21, 2010 - Tacoma
Tacoma Narrows and its Bridge from Amtrak Cascades in September of 2010, by Glenn Laubaugh (“Glenn in Portland”).

Inspired by the occasional series “Link Excuse of the Week” that highlights community events best visited by transit, I offer “Cascades Excuse of the Month” to highlight activities further from Seattle that may be of interest to those willing to venture a little further, and are accessible from Seattle without driving.

This weekend is the Portland Wild Arts Festival, which is a fundraiser for the local Audubon Society. This is a fairly large event, drawing artists and authors from across the region. The emphasis is on nature or wildlife as a subject, natural materials as a medium, and/or art promoting environmental sustainability. There will be approximately 70 artists and 35 authors attending. I have not seen official counts of visitors of the 35 year old festival, but it is definitely usually crowded enough that parking is a pain for those that arrive by auto.

The admission price is $6 per adult and kids 16 and under free of charge.

For more information, see the Wild Arts Festival Web Site at
(Oh, yeah, and there is a nifty 2 for 1 admissions coupon on the web site.)

For the past several years the festival has been held in the Montgomery Park building in northwest Portland. This structure was formerly an elderly Montgomery Ward highrise warehouse from the early 1900s. When the concept of the highrise warehouse became outmoded in the mid-1980s it was converted to an office building with a large multi-floor atrium (which is completely taken over by the festival for the weekend) and two of the letters on the huge rooftop neon sign changed to make Montgomery Park. So, visitors are also able to take a look at how historic industrial structures may be repurposed and updated.

If you arrive in Portland by Amtrak or Greyhound, your best bet is to walk south from the station approximately 3 blocks to Glisan Street, and get on a westbound #77 bus, which terminates at Montgomery Park. Due to construction, there is a temporary bus stop established between NW Broadway and NW 6th Avenue, which is actually more convenient from either station than the normal #77 stop. This is bus stop # 1997 in the TriMet system, should you wish to track arrivals using PDXBus or other phone app, or TriMet’s phone, text ( to 272-99 ), web site or mobile web site information service.

If you arrive by BoltBus, your best bet is to go (via bus or MAX on 6th Avenue or on foot) 5 blocks north to Washington Street, where you can get bus route #15 at 5th and Washington going west on Washington (stop # 6160). You do not want the southbound bus stop on 5th, but the one westbound on Washington, near the KeyBank entry. You want the #15 that says  Montgomery Park on the sign, NOT the one that terminates at NW Thurman Street. Or, take a bus or MAX north several more blocks to Glisan and get the #77 as described above.

Glenn Laubaugh (“Glenn in Portland”) is employed by a small company that builds electrical equipment for railroad passenger cars.

4 Replies to “Cascades Excuse of the Month: Portland Wild Arts Festival”

  1. My use of the word “outmoded” rather than “outdated” for the repurposing of the Montgomery Ward warehouse is intentional. I think that these huge, single floor windowless structures we see today taking up such vast amounts of land are a huge waste of a pretty precious resource (land that is flat). One day perhaps a new form of highrise warehouse will be developed that doesn’t waste so much land.

  2. Great idea, regional transit excuses. I’d also like to see any that come up in the other Cascades towns or statewide if anyone is from those places and knows about events. Someday I’ll visit Bellingham, Kelso, Port Townsend, Friday Harbor, Spokane, Yakima, Tri-Cities, and Walla Walla again or for the first time, but if there’s something to go for I’d prioritize it more. Of course, some of these would require overnight trips, and in the smaller towns accommodations would be full on event days. Whereas in larger cities like Spokane or Portland or maybe Bellingham you’d always find something available somewhere.

    We do need more notice though, 2-4 weeks. Cascades may be twice-the-price now and BoltBus sold out. Of course, that’s what the Dog is for, but then you have to ride the Dog. Not that I’m complaining about 3 1/2 hours on Greyhound; that’s better than 24 hours. And hint, the local tends to have better-behaved passengers and not be chock-full and stressful like the express.

    I’ve been wanting to see more multi-story industrial facilities. What do you mean it was more common earlier but obsolete now? Surely we have better elevator technologies now, and large-size lifts. So is it really just the sprawl mentality in the industrial sphere, or is it more than that? If multistory is so non-viable now, why was it viable then? Especially when they had more cheap land to build one-story warehouses close to downtown.

    “a hydroponic garden to grow tomatoes for air shipment to Japan”

    That takes the cake for silliness. Why not grow indoor tomatoes in Japan?

    1. I do plan to make future posts about other events as I find out about them, and in places all along the corridor, but limit it to one selection a month. December will be hard as there are a bunch.

      I chose this one because this is really a reagonal event in terms of the artists and authors, at least some years.

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