I never win anything.
I was shocked (and thrilled) to win the Grand Door Prize drawing at a work-related party for a two-night stay at the beautiful Mark Spencer Hotel in downtown Portland.
I had never stayed the night in a downtown Portland hotel either. Until recently!
For our stay-cation I insisted that we leave the car behind, use public transportation or walk, and that we eat at all new (to us) restaurants. We really enjoyed our 2-night stay.
“Stay Like a Local” is the Mark Spencer Hotel’s tagline. Nothing about our room was like what I have as a “local.” No, this poor local stayed in a king-size-bed-50-inch-TV-corner-suite overlooking the Portland Streetcar line and served breakfast each morning and fresh baked cookies each afternoon. Whereas I have always had a bed, bathroom and kitchen, thankfully, never have I lived with all of downtown Portland and The Pearl district outside my front door!
Oh, please, let’s do it again!
TheMark Spencer Hotel is located at 409 SW 11th Avenue, Portland, Oregon.
What Did We Do About Town?
As a local guide, I am continuously showing visitors the same things over and over again, like the International Rose Test Garden, the historical murals on The Sovereign Hotel, and – Portland’s Benson Bubblers. I love learning additional information and wanted to dig a little deeper and see something new. Just walking further down the South Park Blocks towards Portland State University we came to the gorgeously restored home of Simon Benson of Benson Bubbler fame, with one of the iconic fountains standing out front!
I grew up in Portland, swam in Benson Lake, climbed to Benson Bridge at Multnomah Falls, was familiar with Benson High School and The Benson Hotel, but didn’t realize until I was a local guide that they were all connected to one man: Simon Benson.
Simon Benson was born in Norway, came to the United States, and in 1880 arrived in Portland with a wife and child and very little money. Within 20 years he was wealthy from his vast timber enterprise and began philanthropic efforts including contributing to the construction of Benson Polytechnic (now Benson High), building the New Oregon Hotel (now named The Benson Hotel), donating the city’s bronze water fountains (now called Benson Bubblers), and buying the acreage containing Multnomah and Wahkeena Falls (now called Benson State Park) and donating it to the City as well as constructing the bridge (now called Benson Bridge) at Multnomah Falls.
The Simon Benson House can be found at 1803 SW Park Avenue.
Next we took the bus to Marquam Hill (aka Pill Hill on account of the three hospitals situated on top). Over 24,000 patients, doctors, students and workers travel to Pill Hill daily.
Continuing on our sightseeing, we traveled on the 3300-feet-long Aerial Tram. A little known fact is that it is free to ride the aerial tram down to South Waterfront. Tickets are only required if you originate at South Waterfront.
Finally, we checked out a little known museum, The Portland Police Museum and Historical Society at 1111 SW 2nd Avenue. I especially enjoyed the historic photos of Portland. Admission is free.
Food was an enjoyable part of our stay-cation. See you next time with food photos!
Oh Merrill – it was so nice to read your meet you in the morning letter…I so miss hearing about all your fun travels! The history on this Benson fellow was so interesting and it sounds like you all had a great mini vacation! SLV Preview Day was Saturday, so it will be a busy week at work! Stay tuned, I have some fun travels coming soon! Woo hoo. Take care…
Yay, it’s good to hear from you Donna. I’ll be looking for your travel posts! I miss traveling with you and learning our history together. When are you going to come visit in Portland?