|The aerial tram leaving Koehler Pavillion for the downhill trip|
If you are a regular follower of Robert Frost’s Banjo, or if you know me personally, you know that I have a chronic respiratory condition—actually, strictly speaking, a genetic enzyme deficiency that almost always leads to chronic respiratory problems, as it has in my case. The condition is known as Alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency, & the most common treatment for it is regular enzyme replacement via IV infusion, using one of a few name brand plasma-based drugs. As a result, I go to the hospital weekly—it’s a routine with me that actually started in the spring of 2002, & likely will continue the rest of my days.
|A view of downtown Portland from the tram (looking north)|
As a result, the city & OHSU partnered in constructing the aerial tram, a tramway that not only connects the South Waterfront section of OHSU with Marquam Hill, but which also provides a more convenient mode of transportation for a number of staff, patients & visitors, as well as some tourists—on a clear day, the views during the ride both of the Portland skyline & also of the mountains to the east & north can be breathtaking. You can not only see Mt Hood but also Mt St Helens, as well as getting a rare bird’s eye view of the city itself.
|The tram just past the tower|
The tram docks at Koehler Pavillion. The ride “uphill” is $4.00 for the general public, but free for hospital employees, patients & patient visitors. There’s no additional charge for the ride downhill, however.
|Mt Mood, the South Waterfront & the Willamette River viewed from the tram (looking east)|
I’m a newcomer to the city, & as such, I can’t really speak about the controversies with any depth of experience. At this point, the tram is an integral part of my week, forming as it does the final leg of a trip that uses—tram included—four types of public transit: also bus, train & streetcar. Despite the fact that I have a fear of flying & a fear of heights, the tram ride is always relaxing & usually enjoyable—occasionally it can get a bit packed, but usually there’s plenty of room in the cabin.
Just watch the swing!