During our last trip to Portland we finally got around to checking out the Portland Aerial Tram that takes passengers between South Waterfront and Oregon Health & Science University’s campus on Marquam Hill.
We ended up taking the streetcar to a stop close to Moody and Gibbs and then walking over to the lower terminal. At first I wasn’t sure if this was really a tourist activity or something of a more practical nature for students and faculty, but the answer appeared to be both.
The tram was built in 2006 to help reduce vehicle traffic to the upper campus and surrounding neighborhoods. A few fun facts from the tram’s website:
The Tram cabins travel 3,300 linear feet from South Waterfront to Marquam Hill. Traveling at 22 miles per hour, the Tram cabins rise 500 feet during the four-minute trip. Each of the two cabins have a capacity of 79 people, including the operator.
We lined up with a few other people at the lower terminal before catching the first leg of our roundtrip ride. No matter where you stand inside, you have great views! The trip is quick but a bit of an adventure–the tram swings when it goes over the support columns!
When you disembark, you can head to a platform alongside the tram or into the medical center and down a window-lined hallway to one of the outside atriums and overlooks.
There were no patients around so we explored one of the green spaces. There were beautiful healing gardens with water features and donated flora and benches. It would be a welcome spot for family and friends waiting for a loved one as well as for those who are being seen at the medical center and able to make their way outside for some fresh air during their stay.
If you’d like a different perspective of the city, I recommend taking the tram for a quick visit. Afraid of heights? Another great viewing location is the Pittock Mansion where you can park and walk along the lawn for great views of the skyline.
Enjoy exploring Portland!