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Platform Level, Portland Union Station is Very Low
Amtrak Cascades train at Portland Union Station (a property owned by the Portland Development Commission). Low platforms here make detraining a slow process. This is one of the very few stations anywhere in the Cascades Corridor still having ground level platforms. Photo by Glenn Laubaugh (“Glenn in Portland”).

In the spirit of the occasional series “Link Excuse of the Week” offered by STB staff, I offer Cascades Excuse of the Month. Here, I offer items outside the normal geographical range covered on this web site but are still accessible from Seattle by means other than driving, and perhaps under the right circumstances might be worth visiting.

February marks the annual Portland International Film Festival (PIFF). The bad news is the price is $12 per screening. The good news is the festival runs for two and a half weeks and many films have two showings so there are options if a particular film seems desirable.

The better news? Amtrak Cascades is 20% off if you book by January 31st. If you happen to be an Amtrak Guest Rewards Points member you may also have an additional points bonus available.

While not officially part of PIFF, in celebration of February being Black History Month there are two other events: the Cascades Festival of African Films will be showing additional international films (from Africa naturally), while the Portland Black Film Festival adds yet more films.

A note about the various venues: All of the locations are reasonably transit accessible. The Hollywood Theatre is about 3 blocks north of the Hollywood MAX station (Red, Green and Blue lines) as well as being on bus routes #12 and close to #75 and #77. This is one of Portland’s surviving historic (1926) movie theatres. Cinema 21 is in inner northwest Portland and served by bus route #77, though Portland Streetcar and bus #15 aren’t far. The Roseway Theatre is the furthest venue from downtown Portland, and served by bus routes #12 and #24. The Moreland Theatre is in the Sellwood neighborhood and served by bus route #19, with #70 only a block away. The rest listed on the PIFF web site are in the core area of downtown Portland.

In the past I have waited for Willamette Week to release their take on the movies before deciding what to see, as there are a huge number of films showing at $12 per film. Trying to see all of them is simply against the laws of physics and economics. However, their article usually does not appear until close to the start date of the festival and therefore would not be helpful for those trying to plan a trip from far afield. The Oregonian has a short list of a few of the better known films but it is hardly a comprehensive review of the large number in this festival.

Glenn Laubaugh (“Glenn in Portland”) is a Portland native and is employed by a small company that manufactures electrical equipment for railroad cars. Typical commute: TriMet #10, but may also be seen on #14 or #75.

3 Replies to “Cascades Excuse of the Month (Feb 2015): February Movies”

  1. Postscript:

    I did try to find something for Cascades Excuse of the Month for December and January.

    December simply has too many events to really choose any one particular event. One event that caught my eye was the Bellingham Holiday Port, because not only is that an appropriate December event it also is held at the Bellingham Cruise Ship Terminal. I really like the concept of using a single facility for a wide variety of events (especially events they might not have been originally designed for), rather than build a bunch of specialty facilities that are only used part of the time. Such mixed use of large and expensive facilities fits in with the wise land use planning this web site promotes alongside transit.

    The best I could come up with for January was the Oregon Truffle Festival in Eugene, but their signature event was a $375 per head dinner that sold out months beforehand.

    You will also notice that I call this Cascades Excuse of the Month, leaving out the Amtrak part of Amtrak Cascades. This is to emphasize the Cascades transportation region and not necessarily emphasize the mode or company. Many places, from Pemberton BC to Crater Lake National Park may be accessed from Seattle without driving. Amtrak Cascades may be only one part of the varied modes of transport required to reach a location.

    So, if you hear of an event that might be worth considering for Cascades Excuse of the Month, send me e-mail. My user name is glennl (those are lowercase L) and my internet provider is and you should be able to figure out how to make an e-mail address from that.

  2. That’s on my list too. Martin mentioned it on his list of Christmas / transportation events of the season. For some reason the company I work for has always managed to have some big project going on in December the last few years, which makes it difficult to take time off that month.

    I first found out about that event when I saw a banner about it pasted on the side of a building in Tacoma, as I went past on one of the Cascades trains.

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