I never thought I'd appreciate living on a river as much as I do. When Ben and I moved from Tacoma, we were so sad to leave the expansive Puget Sound with its islands, gorgeous water, and wildlife (starfish and seals and herons). Living in Tacoma felt like we living on the ocean, instead of about two hours inland. Looking at the little Willamette River flowing North (it's one of the only rivers that flows South to North), it didn't seem like it could match up to that glittering blue sea of water that we lived on.
But slowly and surely, this green-hued river has grown on me. It means that we live near many a wetland and the river is always populated with birds that we normally find only when exploring wetland or wildlife refuges. In the past 1.5 years that Ben and I have lived in Portland, I have walked to work almost every single day and walked into the city on weekends. I've seen ducklings and goslings grow up in the Spring. I've seen the river recede and then rise after a heavy rain. I've seen the river covered in fog, glittering on a beautiful spring day, and populated with boats and wake-boarders in summer, and the edges of it covered in ice and snow in the winter. In the recent months I've seen a sea lion coming down the river for salmon and river otters playing amongst the boats at the marina.
Portland is also so walkable and so dotted with bridges that there are some really accessible and fun walking loops that take you along the East and West bank of the river. One of our favorite loops to do (and a popular biking, running, strolling, jogging path) is starting down on the West bank at the Hawthorn Bridge, crossing the river to the East bank, walking about a mile up to the Steel Bridge, crossing back to the West side and walking another mile back down. The entire loop is about 3.5 miles and gives you a great look at cormorants, heron, mallards, Canada geese, and all of the even more interesting Portlanders strolling about.