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Apr 25, 2007
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Some interesting photos! Did you prefer Portland to Seattle (or vice versa)?

They are the only two North American cities that appear to resemble Toronto, although they appear to lack the pedestrian activity and newer architecture.
Hmm..tough question, I really enjoyed both cities. Although, I was in Portland only for the day compared to an entire summer in Seattle. I also got a chance to see Vancouver for a day during my stay in the Pacific Northwest.

Seattle definitely has more of a comprehensive North American big city feel. From the skyscrapers, corporations, notable landmarks, and extensive urban network, I felt that it offered more in terms of quantity of activities in a city. Seattle's downtown is generally more bustling, especially in the tourist/shopping district around Westlake station. Macy's, Pacific Place, Cheescake Factory, as well Nordstrom's flagship store are all within a few blocks. Also a better place for entrepreneurial ventures such a tech startups.

Portland felt more like a regional city, which it essentially is. But it's compact downtown still featured plenty of nice buildings and unique boutiques and shops. I also love historic buildings with iron fire escapes, which were everywhere in downtown. Portland has a great foodtruck/cart culture. With an city block (and several more spread out) hosting dozens of individual and diverse food options. Great convenience for food on the go, and extremely popular with the locals.

Both cities are known for their artistic and indie scenes. But Seattle's downtown area is similar to Toronto's, whereas it's more corporate mainstream. With its unique areas further away, such as Capitol Hill, Wallingford, & Ballard, etc. Portland's arts scene is pretty much present everywhere, including parts of downtown. Overall, the city and its citizens felt more comfortable and laid back.

Seattle is actually relatively active in newer condominium construction, though mostly in mid-rise format. Especially noticeable in areas such Belltown and Capitol Hill. I also must admit that their condos were more successful than ours at integrating engaging retail usages and pedestrian/street interaction. Generally consistent quality of material in construction and architecture was also notable.