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Portland Rules!

Geographically, Portland is situated between the Willamette and Columbia rivers just south of the Washington border, right on Interstate 5. The Columbia is still deep enough at this point to allow for access to the Pacific ocean, so there is an International Seaport as well as an International Airport, known as PDX in airline-speak. The climate brings in roughly 48 inches of precipitation a year, mostly as rain. Buy an umbrella, and never leave home without it. The rain may come mostly in the winter, but summer showers can show up when you least expect it. Summers can get hot, and living between two rivers can teach you about humidity real quick. On some days, those gill implants come in real handy...

Portland is an older city, with soaring downtown skyscrapers nestled cheeck-by-jowl with run-down businesses and the darker portions of Chinatown, which was built in the latter part of the Nineteenth Century by Chinese immigrants that were hired to finish the railroads to the Pacific.

Much of the older sections of the city were built in that time, and you can still see some remnants of these older times in certain areas of the city. Cobblestone streets and curbside horse rings are common in the darker parts of Northwest Portland. *Note*: these cobblestone streets are narrow (usually only one-way) and can be slick as ice when wet. Driving checks should be modified accordingly. There are also many older buildings, constructed mostly of stone, that sport the original gargoyles as decoration. This brings a very Gothic feel to the city, and I recomend using the Night's Edge Supplement with this sourcebook. Up to six months without any real sunlight in a temperate climate could be very appealing to a vampire, not to mention the high number of buildings with large basements...

There are a surprising number of parks in Portland, cropping up in sometimes strange places and sizes. Combined with the number of trees used in general landscaping it sometimes seems like the city is still in the forest. This gives the smart punk an ample source of cover during your friendly neighborhood free-for-all.

Personal Transportation
Since the city was largely constructed before the invention of the automobile, the streets offer very little in the way of parking, espescially in the older parts of the city. To combat this, enterprising individuals have been building parking lots and structures anywhere they can. Most of the larger buildings have underground parking for their employees, and there are parking structures scattered about wherever they can condemn a building. Rates average 5EB an hour or 20EB for the day for ground vehicles. AV's and gyro copters may land at some structures, with fees starting around 20EB per hour. Some of the larger structures offer lease rates to frequent customers, as AV parking is limited. You are required to disable any lethal external protection systems when using a parking lot or structure in the city, due to the proximity of other vehicles. Where there is room to enable your vehicle's "free-fire zone", you may.

Fees for registering a vehicle in the state are reasonable, only 200EB a year, with an additional 100EB for the yearly emissions test. A driver's license is yours for a 100EB fee, tests are given by appointment only, Mon-Fri, 10AM to 4PM. The owner of the vehicle is required to carry liability insurance, which will normally run you about 2000EB/year, depending on your record.

Public Transportation
There is also an efficient public-transportation system consisting of busses and the MAX, a light-rail train. The MAX starts in Hilsboro and goes out to Gresham, charging 2EB for the first zone and 1EB a zone thereafter, or 4EB if you're going all the way to the end of the line. There is a second railway that goes from Hollywood on the Eastside to PDX. Fares are the same for the busses, with the exception of the Downtown Bus Mall and Fareless Square which surrounds the bus mall. The Transportation Commission also sells monthly passes for 75EB, allowing for unlimited rides on the bus, MAX or the new Downtown Trolley. The busses and trains are moderately clean, but the animals come out at night. Some days, just getting there is half the adventure. Taxis are also available for standard rates, and most businesses will have a taxi call box on the premises. For the more well-to-do, Aerocab has landing pads leased throughout the city.

A few years back, I moved to the city of Portland, Oregon for nearly a year and was struck by how much of a Cyberpunk city it is. It rains up to six months a year, a good chunk of the architecture is stonework (giving it a Gothic feel) and there are areas very close to being combat zones today. I lived on the edge of one of them during that time, but also had occaision to wander through some of the nicer Corporate and residential areas as well. All in all, a perfect location.

All it needed was a sourcebook.

Since one didn't exist, I started tinkering around with the idea of writing one myself, but never really got anywhere with it. About a year ago, however, I ran into Planet Conkle, Chris Conkle's homepage and home to his Portland sourcebook.

My apologies, Chris, but it sucks.

Take a walk through Chinatown at about 3AM and see what life on the razor's edge can really be like. Or maybe spend an evening down at the Satyricon with your input. Don't forget the armor, though: I recomend a good vest with a little plate backing it. Wander around the Downtown towers after midnight and see how long you can evade security and the cops (and see what juicy bits you might pick up in the process). To truly experience Portland, you have to crawl around it's underbelly, not look at it through the windows of your car. Hell, if you really want some excitement, take the night's last bus through N.E. and see how long you live...

Ok, enough already. On with the show...