[Portland] Metro offers free guide to Portland-area walks

Walking costs nothing. It burns calories. And it gives you a new perspective on the Portland area.

So says an evangelizing new guidebook, "Walk There!"

Metro, the regional government, makes its first foray into foot travel with 50 excursions. Each walk comes with a slick description, photos, map and difficulty rating -- think Frommer's, not government bylaws.

Treks are assigned to categories: For a power walk, hit the stairs in Alameda. Take a lunchtime stroll in downtown Gresham, enjoy the natural beauty of Fanno Creek or get your urban fix on North Mississippi Avenue.

Metro credits Kaiser Permanente with the idea and funds for the guidebooks, which are free. Governments, nonprofits and outdoor groups helped craft routes. And editing credits go to Laura O. Foster, author of "Portland Hill Walks" and the upcoming "Portland City Walks."

The Oregonian talked walking with two forces behind the book. Their thoughts, edited for brevity:

David Bragdon:
Metro president

This book is very ungovernment-esque. The writing's conversational; the design's kind of hip.
We strive to be a little unconventional and quirky. We want it to be approachable for people, something to pick up on a Saturday morning. You don't feel like you're reading some bureaucratic document....

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