Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Running in Portland

I'm in Portland, Oregon! I arrived yesterday for the Native Health Research Conference. Going through security yesterday in Calgary an older man who was holding up the line a wee bit, looked at me and said, "Sorry, I'm old, I'm slow but eventually I get the job done!"  I burst out with a Goldie Hawn giggle, the man was very pleased with my reaction thinking himself quite amusing, the security people grinned and held their tongues and so did I. A funny moment shared by a group of strangers, a moment that left us all moving on with our day feeling the pleasure of sharing in the man's quick wit : )
The panel I organized is on Thursday and involves myself and three colleagues from Saskatchewan (Sharon, Noela and Colleen).  The conference started today with a wonderful panel that included Steve Sanderson from Vancouver (the tall guy above). Steve is originally from Saskatoon and the creator of comic books for Aboriginal and other youth about health issues such as suicide prevention, diabetes etc. The comic books are very cool and can be found on-line at The Healthy Aboriginal Network. Pictures above are of Steve, Colleen, Sharon and myself. 
I had a wonderful run this morning along the Willamette River. The river has a number of bridges and I had the pleasure of running across two of them. I ran 7 miles (612 miles), got lost a couple times and found out from a cyclist that one of the bridges was closed because of a murder the night before. I ran to the yellow tape and turned around.  Portland is a beautiful city and I assumed before coming here that it was located on the Pacific Ocean. As we flew in yesterday I was very surprised to see a river but no coast line. Portland? Port? Ships? Cargo? Ocean? My assumption seemed logical. It turns out that the City of Portland received its name when Asa Lovejoy and Francis Pettygrove flipped a coin in 1845. Lovejoy was from Massachusetts and he wanted to name the new settlement Boston. Pettygrove was from Maine and wanted to name the new town Portland. Pettygrove won the coin toss two out of three times and the rest as they say is history. Much to my disappointment no ocean, but an interesting lesson in geography and history : )

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