Portland’s MAX Orange Line Grand Opening
Tuesday 22 March 2016 — Category: Outings
September 12, 2015 was a significant day in Portland, Oregon. It marked the grand opening of the Tilikum Crossing — the city’s first new bridge across the Willamette River since 1973. It was also the grand opening of the MAX Orange Line, which routes over the Tilikum Crossing and is the first major expansion of the metro area’s MAX Light Rail system since 2009.
On that special day my wife, daughter and I made the 75-mile pilgrimage from Albany to join in the Grand Opening Celebration festivities. There were activities, entertainment, food and drink to experience at most of the ten new stations along the Orange Line. With multiple tens of thousands turning up to explore the new Line, there were some long waits for trains, and very crowded conditions once on a train, as TriMet struggled to cope with the huge hordes of riders.
The highlight of the day for me was to see up-close the amazing, one-of-a-kind, keep-Portland-weird Unipiper, who famously rides a unicycle while wearing a Darth Vader costume and playing bagpipes which spout flames. Those orange flames were a great way to celebrate the opening of the Orange Line!
A couple of Portland businesses made special Orange Line editions of their wares. Artisanal ice cream company Salt & Straw introduced another exotic flavor to add to their portfolio: Olive Oil and Bitter Orange Marmalade. It was so “special” that I don’t think I would ever want to taste it again!
With a name like BridgePort Brewing, it shouldn’t be surprising that they created the official beer of the new bridge, while honoring the new MAX Line as well: Tilikum Crossing Orange Line IPA. I normally don’t care too much for India pale ale type beer because of its strong hops taste, but this one was OK. Perhaps the brewer’s description explains the taste difference:
“Dry-hopped with Lemondrop hops for aroma, this beer is made with 25% wheat [in place of the usual barley], giving the beer a hazy light color. This new brew also uses Belgium yeast and is infused with orange peel, delivering a slightly sweet, lighter and more refreshing take on an IPA.”
I took 100 pictures during the festivities, which for me is not a large number — it was kind of hard to photograph such a spread-out event. The best 26 images are presented in the new Portland Orange MAX Début 2015 album.