As we approach the first summer of legalized recreational cannabis use in Portland, the struggle to find "safe" places to get stoned just isn't the important business it used to be.
Public use still isn't legal though, so there's still a need for a little pre-planning before heading out. With that in mind, below are some of the better places Portland has to offer.
Just to clarify, this isn’t a list of Portland’s best scenic vistas to enjoy while getting high. You'll find no “most amazing sunset” here. Nothing against sunsets, I'm just not much of a sit-and-veg-on-the-view kind of person. It’s also not a “munchie guide” of places with the best junk food to waste your high on. (Repeat after me: “I’m not hungry, I’m stoned. The enjoyment of WHATEVER I choose do will be enhanced, and I should choose something better than hammering two bags of Cheezy Poofs.”) This is simply a list of some of the more convenient and practical places to get stoned around town.
For the active, there are quite a few great options. Both the Eastern Prom and Deering Oaks parks have plenty of open ‘private enough’ places to smoke/vape outside, and are good places to find pick-up basketball games (there’s nothing like the exaggerated experience of playing hoop while high, your clumsy routine layups feeling like you beat a double-team in the NBA finals). For those of you who prefer an indoor court experience, the laissez-faire security atmosphere around the Sullivan Rec Center at USM leads to an easy puff-and-play experience in the gym. The no-brainer is of course anywhere on the back-cove walking trail, though my personal favorites are the park benches on the back side near Payson Park. It’s an easy walk from there to the park’s tennis and basketball parks, as well as its huge frisbee-friendly fields.
Finally — and this one is for a pretty specific group (i.e., those who golf and don’t mind high greens fees) — the golf course at Sable Oaks is very isolated, truly beautiful and nothing takes away the sting of a 110+ score better than being stoned the whole time.
My favorite go-to spots in good weather are the roof levels of downtown parking garages. Easy walk-ups (or take the elevator), privacy, fresh air, and a panoramic view of the city to help plan your baked adventure. The garage in Monument Square is great, but the one above the Nickelodeon is especially convenient as you can descend to see a movie, or walk a couple of blocks and spend a few hours rummaging through Bull Moose and Casablanca Comics. If you are going to see a movie, the bizarrely isolated bathrooms (up a back stairway and down an oddly long hallway) are an interesting option, though surely frowned-upon.
If you are downtown and the weather suddenly turns, forget settling for a huddle under the awning of some random doorway. Head to the Time and Temperature building. While a downtown office building on Congress Street may seem a counter-intuitive place to get stoned, the stately Chapman Building (the structure’s original name) is more museum than business hub these days, with much of its space unoccupied. An ongoing lack of maintenance has resulted in many former tenants moving out, leaving much of the first floor’s shopping area, as well as many of the upper floors’ office spaces, vacant. Meanwhile, an ongoing foreclosure on the building by Wells Fargo makes the empty spaces unappetizing for new tenants. The result is a semi-spooky experience, with archaic architecture, dead-end hallways lined with empty offices, and a couple of sketchy access points to lower rooftops. The building’s money shot is on the mezzanine level, at the very back of the building. There you will find a bizarre “small door” quite similar to the one on the 7½ floor at Lestercorp (the fictional building in the classic 1999 movie Being John Malkovich where a miniature door is a portal leading into the mind of actor John Malkovich). There’s not enough here for an extended experience, but remember, you just came in to get out of the rain; head over to Arcadia and veg out on Donkey Kong and Galaga while pounding a few drafts.