Public Transit

4 Ideas for Car-Free Fall Outings

Leave the car at home for World Car Free Day and to avoid traffic confusion during this weekend’s I-84 closure.

By Margaret Seiler

People in a crowd, some with a full glass beer stein at the end of their outstretch arm

Right on the MAX line, Hillsboro's OrenKoFest at Orenco Station on September 24, 2022, includes a “Masskrugstemmen” beer stein holding contest at 3:30 p.m. The fest is free, but contest entry is $20. 

With World Car Free Day celebrated on September 22 and the closure of a section of Interstate 84 near Gateway in Northeast Portland disrupting travel Friday night through Monday morning, September 23–26, it’s a great week to spend zero time in a private vehicle. Transit options to the Oregon Coast and the Columbia River Gorge allow for day trips and overnights, and in town TriMet, bike shares, and other services add to the options.

While there’s no official observation happening in Portland for World Car Free Day—in conjunction with disability rights groups, Washington state is promoting a Week Without Driving challenge, something local advocates would like to see here—there are plenty of ways to get out and enjoy this first week of fall without driving anywhere. Here are a few ideas.

Take the Blue Line MAX to Orenco Station for Hillsboro’s take on Oktoberfest: OrenKoFest is happening right by the transit stop at Jerry Willey Plaza from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, September 24. The free, all-ages event features German food and music for purchase, a beergarden, children’s activities, and a stein-holding contest ($20 contest entry fee).

There’s still plenty of time to get your money’s worth out of a 2022 GOrge Pass ($40, $20 kids). Let the driver of the Columbia Gorge Express navigate the I-84 detour while you hitch a ride to Multnomah Falls, then stop for lunch and a quick hike in Cascade Locks. Show your pass again the following weekend for a lift to the Hood River Hops Fest, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Take the Columbia County Rider to the Spirit of Halloweentown in St. Helens. Take your bike on the bus so you can check out the decorated downtown on two wheels. Pumpkin photo ops pack the town (where the 1998 Disney TV movie Halloweentown was filmed) every day September 17 through Halloween, and this weekend is packed with bonus pirate activities.

In town, the 4T Trail (for train, trail, trolley, and tram) attracts hikers and transit geeks alike for a train ride to the zoo MAX stop, a trek to Council Crest, and then down and back up to OHSU before an aerial tram ride (Monday to Saturday only) down to the South Waterfront for a connection by streetcar back to the heart to the city. In early fall, it’s not too hot, not too wet and slippery, and there’s already that satisfying crunch of dry leaves underfoot.

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