search menu flickr twitter phone angle-left angle-right angle-up angle-down file-pdf link-ext doc-inv sitemap location map calendar credit-card clock facebook-squared minus plus cancel ok instagramm download inkwell

Full-Day Tour of Portland, OR

Full-Day Tour of Portland, OR


Join us on the last day of the Designing Cities conference for a visit to Portland. Oregon, an icon for transportation planning. Just 175 miles south of Seattle, get a taste of the sibling rivalry between these two pioneering Northwest cities.

Travel to Portland from Seattle will be via our own reserved Amtrak rail car!

After arrival in Portland, we’ll have lunch (courtesy of CH2M) with presentations by the City of Portland, TriMet, and CH2M. Then, we’ll break into a tour of all Portland has to offer in the field of mobility.

Our tour will cover the breadth of Portland’s central city: from the Pearl District (One of PBS’s “Ten Towns that Changed America”), along the Portland Mall (winner of multiple design awards), through the mixed use South Waterfront redevelopment area, and over the new Tilikum Crossing (Portland’s famous major bridge without cars). Then, we’ll end the evening with food and conversation at one of Portland’s micro brewpubs.

Tour Details

Learn how the Portland Streetcar and a sequence of three interconnected parks were the framework for the transformation of the Pearl District from a stagnant light industrial area into a vibrant mixed use community. Examples from the NACTO Transit Street Design Guide include one-way streetcar streets  with side running transit lanes, boarding bulbs at joint streetcar/bus stations, bicycle track crossings, and signal progression.

See the multi-modal Portland Mall, one of America’s Great Streets. Hear from the project’s designers how this investment set a new benchmark for place-making and improved transit service. The project site extends the 1.7 mile length of downtown Portland, mixes multiple modes of transportation, stimulated adjacent development, and re-established the street as one of Portland’s premier civic spaces. The project is a premier example of a downtown Shared Transitway, featuring high quality station elements.

Walk and ride across the Tilikum Crossing, the newest hallmark of Portland’s progressive transportation and development scene. It is the first major bridge in the U.S. that was designed to allow access to transit vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians—but not cars. Buses, streetcars and light rail cross on a shared transitway while bicyclists and pedestrians travel in their own protected lanes adjacent to transit.

Hear how the location and design of the bridge is a product of its environment, connecting the rapidly-redeveloping brownfield in the South Waterfront urban renewal area with future development that is planned for the Southeast innovation quadrant. Observe innovative bicycle infrastructure including a two-way cycle track, as well as side and in-street boarding island stops for buses and streetcars. Along the way, find out about sustainable design features of TriMet’s new Orange Line.

And, of course, what visit to Portland would be complete without a visit to a micro brewpub? We’ll take some time to discuss, over food and drink, everything that we’ve seen in both Portland and Seattle, and the next steps for our cities’ transportation future!


Cost: $50/person, includes one-way travel from Seattle, and lunch.
Accommodation: $99 NACTO rate at the University Place Hotel. Rate valid Thursday 9/29 through Saturday 10/1, for those who will be extending their stay. To get this rate, the reservation must be made by phone (503-221-0140 or 1-866-845-4647; be sure to mention NACTO). Book before 9/16 to get the discounted rate.
Transportation: We’ll take the 7:25AM Amtrak train from Seattle’s King Street Station, arriving in Portland around 11AM. Amtrak travel to Portland is included in the cost of the tour; participants need not reserve individual tickets. However, return travel is the responsibility of each participant.


This tour is now full.