A sport imported from China, dragon boat racing has caught on here in the Rose City – and other towns in the Northwest, as well. Crewing as had a long history here and the four’s and eight’s can still be seen in the early morning hours out on the river. The Wasabi Paddling Club is a local club dedicated to both dragon boat racing and outrigger paddling. The club boasts of more than 150 members of all ages. You can see their boats out of the river most evenings, preparing for competitions locally and foreign.
Equipment: Sign up and pay the initiation. The club provides the rest. Bring clothes that you can sweat in and get wet.
Portland has a long history of professional hockey teams stretching back to the Rosebuds who became the first U.S. team to participate in the Stanley Cup Finals in 1916. A second version of the Rosebuds would eventually move to Chicago, in 1926, and become the present-day Chicago Black Hawk NHL team. In the 1960's, before the National Hockey League expanded from the Original Six, there was the Western Hockey League which included four eventual NHL expansion franchises. The WHL comprised of talent close to the equal of the NHL and was threatening the primacy of that league. Expansion killed that dream. Portland had a franchise in that league, too, the Buckaroos. The Buckaroos were one of the most successful teams in that league, but the league died a quiet death in 1974.
To make up the lack of a hockey team in the Rose City, the Edmonton Oil Kings moved south into the void in 1975 becoming the Portland Winterhawks. The Oil Kings had been a successful team in the top junior level in North America - players age from 16-20 years - and that success has continued here in Portland. In the thirty plus years the team has played in Portland, they have won the league championship twice - they play in a new Western Hockey League which with the Ontario Hockey League and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League combine to form the Canadian Hockey League. In addition to the WHL championships, the Hawks have also won the Memorial Cup twice, which is a CHL champions playoff. There have been many Winterhawks that have gone on to play professional hockey in the NHL - up over 100 (add in those who made the NHL from the old Oil Kings and this is quite a historied youth franchise).
I used to think, after being used to watching NHL-level hockey that the hockey at the WHL/CHL was a huge drop, but lately, I have rethought my position. The defenses are certainly not as good and the goal tending can be sporadic - but then it can be even at the Olympic-level if you watched Nabakov and Kiprusoff in Vancouver - but the effort on the ice is definitely there. Having just seen a couple of minor professional hockey games, I would tend to agree with those people in Victoria who complained when they got an ECHL team - third-tier professional league - instead of a top junior team - ie WHL team - for their new arena. The top WHL teams look like they could easily play with the best that league has and then some.
The Winterhawks wear uniforms similar to those worn by the Chicago Black Hawks. When they originally moved south, the owners got a hold of a bunch of old Black Hawk jerseys and viola, they became Winter Hawk jerseys. I guess, that is alright, seeing that the Black Hawks were originally from Portland. The Winterhawks play their games in either the Rose Garden or in the next-door Memorial Coliseum which dates to 1960. This was built for the Buckaroo team and served as the home for the Portland Trail Blazers until the opening of the Rose Garden in 1995.
Equipment: You still need a ticket!
The River is the City’s lifeblood carrying huge ships over 100 miles via the Columbia to the sea near Astoria. The River is also a playground. Watercraft of all sorts can be seen playing on the water, jet skis, cigar boats, sailing craft and others. Kayaks provide a quieter way to connect with the riverine scene. Rentals are possible from both the new Alder Creek outlet near the Hawthorne Bridge east end and the Ebb and Flow, a little farther upstream near Willamette Park.
Equipment: Kayak, vest, paddle can all be rented or brought from home.
Few cities in the World can boast of salmon runs right through their hearts. Portland can. During the appropriate seasons, the river is alive with small boats full of fishermen trying their luck to catch the fish, bound for upstream ancestral spawning grounds. Plenty of other fish prefer to spend their whole life in the Willamette waters. Fishermen like to try their luck with these, as well.
Equipment: A fishing pole, proper test line and bait might be useful.
The northern boarder of Portland is the Columbia River which is the number #2 spot in the world for windsurfing.
During the summer months you can drive up either side of the river and literally see hundreds of wind surfers or kite surfers in the Gorge.
Truly one of the best places for watersports of this nature.
Supposed to be the best run marathon in the country. I ran in the 5 mile event which begins after the marathon but joins part of the course so you get to run with the marathoners for a while. If you do the short race you can watch the finish of the marathon downtown and cheer the brave souls who dared to 26.2 miles.
Equipment: Good running shoes
Portland is a good place for sports, not for the viewing of them(only one pro team in town) but doing them!
Portland is usually voted one of the most runner,bike friendly cities in the USA and there are many good running paths near downtown.
Popular ones are along the waterfront, and up into Forest Park.
After rush hours your premitted to legally skateboard in the street in the downtown area, last time I checked(no I am not joking).
Equipment: whatever your interests, The Portland area has great skiing, one of the best windsurfing areas in the world(The Gorge), biking, and hiking areas.