There’s so much to see and do in a big city like Portland that a tourist could easily miss out on some of the coolest parts of the city. You’ve probably been told before that it’s good to stop and smell the roses from time to time; in the Rose City, I like to stop and look for the horses.
What? Yes, horses. They’re all over the streets of Portland. Really. Dating back to the days of real horse-powered transportation, the sidewalks here have little iron rings for tying up your horses. Of course not many people are riding horseback around the city these days, but if you look closely, you’ll find that lots of these rings are still in use.
Artist Scott Wayne Indiana started the Horse Project in 2005 when he tied his first pony to a horse ring in northwest Portland. For a few months, he continued parking horses at rings all over town, and then he started asking the public to join in. It costs about $3 to round up all the necessary supplies (including the horse), and everyone is encouraged to participate. Now, pedestrians in Portland can spot plastic ponies all over town. It’s a really creative way to remember the history, and I love to go on horse hunting walks in this very pedestrian-friendly city. Take your kids out and make a game of it, and take your own ponies to tie up whenever you see an unused ring.