Portland Trails scavenger hunt encourages exploration on foot

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PORTLAND — As a seaside city, Portland has many obvious and well-trafficked vantage points.

But it’s the hidden gems that Portland Trails hopes to highlight with an upcoming scavenger hunt.

The event, called City at Your Feet, will encourage participants to move from point to point without using a personal vehicle.

The scavenger hunt takes place 11 a.m.-4 p.m. July 21, when teams will be given 3 1/2 hours to get as many points as possible. Teams must consist of between two and six members, and at least one member must be 21 or older.

The cost is $20 for adults and $12 for kids 15 and younger. Teams can pre-register online or the day of the event, as long as there’s still space available. Individuals who wish to sign up will be assigned to teams.

Ten teams have already registered and the total participation is capped at 150 people, according to Nora Hefner, development and communications coordinator for Portland Trails.

“See Portland like you’ve never seen it before,” the Portland Trails website states. “City at Your Feet is a cross-town scavenger hunt and people-powered trail adventure (with) teams competing to crack as many clues as possible and gain points for finding unique locations along the trail network.”

Hefner said this is the second time the organization has offered a scavenger hunt throughout the city. The first was in 2016.

She said Portland Trails created the event because it wanted to put together a summer activity that “gave people a chance to get outside and explore.”

“For local folks, it’s an opportunity to find unique spots around Portland that they may have never seen before. For visitors, it’s a fun way to get to know the city by going off the beaten path,” Hefner said.

She  said the hope is to make people more aware of  “some of the hidden gems that make Portland unique, but that don’t always see a lot of traffic.” She said the event would also better connect participants to the community “by getting them out on trails and sidewalks and riding the bus.”

The event will be held rain or shine, Hefner said, but unlike 2016, this year’s scavenger hunt will be “more focused on planning a car-free route between locations than solving challenging clues.”

The starting and ending point will be Portland Gear Hub at 155 Washington Ave., where each team will get a Portland Trails Map and Guide and a set of clues.

“The idea,” Hefner said, “is to match clues to locations on the map and then plan a car-free strategy for reaching (them). There is no predetermined order in which teams must find (these) locations and they are not required to make it to every stop.”

Hefner said teams would earn points for finding the various spots indicated on the map, but some are harder to get to and will be worth more points.

She said top teams will win prizes from businesses including Bayside Bowl, Portland Paddle and the State Theatre.

To prove they’ve solved the clues and reached the designated location, participants must take team photos at each spot, Hefner said. “They can then post their photos on social media, send them to us, or we will check them once they return to our home location.”

She said there would be time for questions prior to the start of the scavenger hunt and contact information will be provided so “folks can get in touch with us if they need to.”

Hefner said two years ago the winning team completed the entire scavenger hunt using unicycles to get around.

“We hope to empower our participants to feel excited about exploring the outdoors and the city without needing a car,” she said. What we want is for people “to get a taste of all the interesting places and to see that they are accessible by (public) transit and people-powered modes of transportation like walking and biking.”

She said those who may tire easily or may find it more difficult to walk or bike are encouraged to use the Greater Portland METRO bus service; Portland Trails will provide passes for teams that need them.

Overall, Hefner said, “We encourage people to get creative with their approach to exploring Portland.”

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or kcollins@theforecaster.net. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KIrishCollins.

Armed with a trail map and a set of clues, participants in the City at Your Feet scavenger hunt offered by Portland Trails will get a chance to explore some of the city’s least-visited points of interest on July 21.

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