Hometown: Harrisonburg, Virginia -a small college (James Madison University) town in the Shenandoah Valley
Year moved to Portland: 1998
Has worked at the Hawthorne Hostel since: 2004
Reason I moved here: I have traveled extensively in the U. S. and wanted to live in a larger city in the West. Portland was the perfect combination of livability, progressive politics, excellent public transportation, green spaces, and independent, community minded people that share a similar vision of the world. There is no place in the United States that I’d rather be!
What else do I do? I have had the opportunity to travel to more than 30 countries around the world. I love learning about other places and people. I actually went to school to be a geography/history teacher. I am an avid hiker and backpacker and hike as much as I can throughout the Pacific NW. I’ve a somewhat new father. I have two daughters: My step-daughter Gabbi (who’s almost 10 years old) and Penny (who will be 2 years old in Feb). I do a lot of biking and walks throughout PDX with her, she loves adventure as much as her old man does. You may also see me around town at the local parks playing basketball or walking my dog Harley! I’ll be happy to give a micro-brew recommendation; I’ve done a lot of research on the subject!
Places I’ve traveled to: How much time do you have? Prior to 2000, I have done a lot of cross-country trips all around the U.S. to see concerts and national parks. I’ve been to every state except 7 (Alaska, Conn., Maine, N Dakota, LA, MS, and AL). In 2000, I took a year off and went on a trip around the world (26 countries). In 2003, I went to South America and in 2007, I went to China with my wife Keesha. I am going to Mexico in December 2012.
Favorite Mode of Transport: That certainly depends on where. In the city of Portland, I love to walk and ride my bike. Overseas, I prefer to travel by train-it’s more relaxing and you can sit back, read, or look out the window.
Favorite Place I’ve visited: That’s a tough one. My favorite countries were probably Nepal, Tibet, India, Peru and Bolivia- the landscapes and cultures are intensively so different than the US!
What I like most about Portland: This is a hard one to pin down. Portland is known as many things: the City of Roses, the most livable city in the U.S., the most bike-friendly city in the U.S., the best public transportation system in the U.S., Beervana (for the most breweries in a U.S. city), and who could forget how George Bush Sr. infamously named Portland “Little Beirut”. These are all great reasons to love my city!
Favorite Coffee Shop: This one is I’m kinda bitter about. There have been so many great coffee shops in Portland that have either been closed or taken over by Starbucks. Coffee culture here is so strong and diverse. I probably prefer the Fresh Pot on Hawthorne for the Stumptown coffee and people watching. It is located inside the Hawthorne branch of Powel’s Books.
Favorite Place To Be Outdoors: It depends on the season. During the winter, the Columbia Gorge is still accessible and the waterfalls are even more impressive. I love to hike on Mt. Hood in the summer and fall. As far as in Portland, there is nothing I enjoy more than walking up Mt. Tabor. The views of the city and the mountains are fantastic and it is like being on an island oasis in the middle of a major city.
Favorite Nightspot: The Goodfoot is one of the better local bars with live music and DJ’s. Every Friday, there is a old-school funk/hip hop DJ with breakdancing. It is a neighborhood place that is friendly and unpretentious. They have good beer on draft and upstairs with pool tables if you just want to hang out instead of cut rug. Live music is fairly eclectic from jazz, to jam bands, to open mics.
Favorite Breakfast Spot: I am still upset at the closing of my favorite spot, so I am currently torn between a few different places. Jam on Hawthorne is really great. I have also been to the Roadrunner cafe on Division and the Blue Pig on Hawthorne.
Favorite Lunch and/or Dinner Place: I love the wraps at the Laughing Planet (on Belmont and 34th). They are a good value and the “Thai Me Up” is very tasty and vegetarian. Cha Cha Cha’s has the best, biggest and most authentic Mexican burritos on Hawthorne. The best Thai food is at Than Thou, located at 40th and Hawthorne. Try the Than Thou Delight for the best coconut curry with tofu and veggies in town!
Favorite Place to Get out of the Rain: Powell’s books either on Hawthorne or downtown on Burnside. There isn’t anything quite like it anywhere else to get you bookworm on and it is great for people watching!