June 24th FFU* Ladd’s Addition

*FFU=Friday Follow Up.  Friday follow ups are my weekly Friday posts where I share where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to on my Portland Walkabout.  I’ve got a 2000 mile goal I’m trying to achieve by the last day of 2012.


Sunday’s trekking involved me getting somewhat lost in the Ladd’s Addition neighborhood of Portland. Most of Portland is laid out in a grid pattern.  Streets run north-south and east-west, for the most part.  Numbered streets run north-south, with the Willamette as the start line.  The further east you walk, the larger the numbers of the blocks.  BUT, in the Ladd’s Addition, things take an interesting turn.  One very large roundabout, and four smaller roundabouts are placed around the neighborhood, and the streets radiate out like spokes on a wheel.  Well, sort of.  Oh!  And then there are intersecting alleys going at strange angles, and there is an occasional street running the traditional city layout.  All of which makes for a neighborhood that is very easy to get turned around in.

Wow, I just Googled Ladd’s Addition and discovered it is one of the oldest planned residential developments in the western United States.  According to Wikipedia, “The neighborhood is known in Portland for a diagonal street pattern, which is at odds with the rectilinear grid of the surrounding area.”  Which is a fancy, succinct way to say what I explained above.

The funny thing is, I decided I wanted to walk the neighborhood after perusing Google maps, checking out new neighborhoods, and seeing what might look interesting.  Ladd’s Addition’s layout looked pretty nifty on the computer screen, and I had NO idea it’s layout would throw me off so much just from what I saw on the map.  But it did!

See? It doesn’t LOOK all that confusing when you see it laid out in front of you. But trust me, once you get there, it’s like somebody pops open the top of your head and removes any sense of direction you have.

I found myself traipsing about, passing an alley, and trying to figure out if I had gone down that alley already or not.  After a while, things started to look very similar.  I had to scrutinize each new street and alley in order to recognize some distinguishing feature—a pothole, a lawn ornament, an odd color to a house—anything that would help keep me oriented.

One of the best things, though, about Ladd’s Addition was the amount of laughter I heard.  It was everywhere!  People walking down the street, friends sitting outside at a coffee house, children playing—all of them laughing and enjoying the company of others.  I think it is the most laughter I’ve heard out of any place that I’ve walked before.

Laughter is infectious.  I found myself smiling and enjoying my walk even more, even when the walk itself was maddening at times.  In fact, I found myself laughing occasionally, too!  One incident that tickled me in particular was when a couple of people were out walking their dogs.  Or to be more accurate, their dogs were walking each other.  One dog, a lab mix, was on a leash.  The other dog, a large fluffy-looking beast, had the leash in his mouth.  He was leading the lab and correcting his trajectory, when the lab was going somewhere Fluffy didn’t want to go.  The owners walked quickly behind, trying to keep up.  I watched this parade for over a block.  It was hilarious!  Those owners needed to hire Fluffy out.  Imagine starting a dog-walking service.  Fluffy could make them bank!

Overall, it was a very enjoyable walk!

Sunday I walked 5.79 miles.


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