its western terminus at I- 5, heading east to
the suburbs of Gresham and Troutdale and
the scenic Columbia River Gorge.
I- 205 runs north-south, east of Portland’s city
core and serves as a 37-mile bypass route of
I- 5, allowing commuters to avoid traveling
through downtown, especially during times
of heavy traffic. Both I- 5 and I- 205 connect
Vancouver in the north to Portland and its
suburbs in the south.
Portland is also known for its bridges—all
11 of them—that allow commuters to move
across the Willamette River. It’s important to
note that five of these bridges have lifts, so the
occasional large vessel or tall sailboat passing
through may cause minor delays. When this
happens during rush hour, it can add a few
minutes to your commute time.
You should also keep in mind that one of the
bridges, the newly opened Tilikum Crossing, is
for pedestrians, bicyclists and public transit vehicles only—so it’s not an option for motorists.
A recent study ranks Portland tenth for
heaviest rush hour traffic of all metro areas in
the country. Fortunately, residents also have
access to one of the top public transportation systems nationwide in TriMet, with light
rail and buses, in addition to the Portland
Streetcar and Portland Aerial Tram.
TriMet serves Portland and its suburbs, with
its MAX light rail offering five different lines
for commuters. The Blue line runs from downtown Gresham to the east, through several east
neighborhoods and downtown Portland and
all the way out to Beaverton and Hillsboro on
the west end. The Red line has a similar route,
but instead of Gresham, its east end is at Portland International Airport in Northeast.
The MAX Green line connects downtown
(starting at Portland State University) to the
outer southeast neighborhoods, along with
the suburb of Clackamas. And the Yellow line
moves from PSU, through downtown and up
to the northeast neighborhoods of Boise-Eliot,
Piedmont and Kenton, stopping at the Portland Expo Center.
The newest MAX line is Orange, which
opened in September 2015. The line runs from
PSU downtown, through inner southeast and
all the way down to Milwaukie.
In addition to light rail, Portland has a comprehensive bus system with 79 routes running
through all of the city’s neighborhoods and
most of its suburbs. Nearly all of TriMet’s
buses are equipped with bicycle racks, and
riders may also use a mobile ticketing app to
purchase tickets and track arrivals.
When commuting to and from Vancouver,
there is an I- 5 Express route run by the city’s
C-TRAN system, getting you to the Port-
land City Center in roughly 30 minutes.
For travel within the Portland downtown
area, an option is the streetcar, which has
two main loops running through the west
and east inner core of the city. The streetcar’s North/South line moves from NW
23rd Avenue, through the Pearl District and
downtown and to the South Waterfront
in southwest Portland. There’s also the A
and B loops, which connect the east and
west sides of the Willamette River, moving
across the Broadway Bridge to the north
and the newly opened Tilikum Crossing to
And for those who need to get to Oregon
Health & Science University in the West
Hills, there’s an aerial tram from the South
Waterfront, offering a quick, four-minute
trip that allows riders some astonishing
views on their way up.
One of the many nice aspects about
living in Portland is just how easy it is to
get around. In fact, depending on traffic,
it may only take about a half-hour to get
from one end of the city to the other.
But before you make the move, take into
account the Rose City’s transportation
infrastructure and layout to ensure you
choose the right neighborhood for your
Photo courtesy of Travel Portland
PDX. Photo courtesy of Port of Portland