TRAVEL THERE: LAN SU CHINESE GARDEN IN PORTLAND OR
Welcome to Oregon! Well, sort of. In June my husband and I spent twelve days traveling the state and now I’m sharing the experience with you. I’ll tell you about the attractions we visited, the meals we ate and where we stayed. Maybe you’ll decide you want to visit Oregon, too. Today’s focus is is the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland.
After being chased out of Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden by a downpour we headed back towards town. I’d been told that the rain was pretty much a constant, but the downpours were short-lived. Since Lan Su Chinese Garden was next on my agenda I put the address into the GPS and headed that way. By the time we arrived in Chinatown the rain was over.
As I hopped out of the car just outside Chinatown to snap a picture of the Gateway, I was only partially aware of the tent city to the left of the gate, but as I lined up the picture it became quite obvious. Strolling back to the car I paid more attention and realized it was some sort of campground for homeless people. There’s a big sign which shows an artist’s rendering of how they hope to transform the empty lot – but even after it is transformed, it’s supposed to be a sanctuary for the homeless. For now, there is a makeshift fence around the area and a gatekeeper. His sign warns you that the area is restricted to “Dreamers,” but his look told me I didn’t qualify, dreams or no dreams.
In my Oregonian Overview I mentioned that you had to differentiate between homeless people and office professionals by smell, because everyone dressed the same on the street. I have to tell you that one of the reasons I made this observation is because there are a lot of homeless people in Portland – at least downtown. Arriving late at night and walking around, trying to find food after we parked the car, we encountered what seemed to be a large number of vagrants – at least it was a much larger contingency of the population than I’m used to seeing in Dallas.
Chinatown is a rough area, but not scary. The homeless people are everywhere, but they aren’t aggressive. No one even approached us for a handout. Still, I was glad I had come in the middle of the day. A lot of the buildings are empty and everything is run down. It’s sad, because there are hints that this was once a vibrant community, but it’s definitely in decline.
The park is just a block or so from the gate. We found parking on the street without any trouble. I loved the Portland parking meters. Instead of having to jam coins in the meter and hope the maximum time will be enough, you can charge it on your credit card. In every block, there’s a centralized terminal allowing you to walk up, put in your credit card and tell the machine how much time you want.
I hope you enjoy our pictures of the garden and want to go yourself someday. Next Monday we’ll leave the gardens for a while and I’ll tell you about Pittock Mansion.
8 thoughts on “Lan Su Chinese Garden”
What do you think the cause of all the homeless is ?
Hi Mike – I was a tourist and didn’t really discuss the homeless situation with anyone who lived there. Anything I said would be mere speculation. I merely observed there seemed to be a large homeless population. I also noticed “scruffy” grooming was definitely a local fashion statement, so I my guesstimates could have been off. There was no doubt about the tent city in China Town, though – significant. Reading over this blog I was amused to see that “Dreamers” has taken on a whole new meaning since I wrote it. These were not children of illegal immigrants, just homeless people.
Whenever I travel, two things I always attempt to visit in any city are their flower gardens and their zoos. But I have never seen the gardens you visited. There is always something more to explore!
Portland is a city of gardens. I went to several and just scratched the surface.
My Travel Dream Book is getting new ideas from all your blogs. Guess I will have to return to Oregon sometime soon.
I highly recommend it!!
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I know I told you I want to move to Portland! Now I just wish it was faster. Loved touring these gardens when I went!