Portland is the biggest city in Oregon, and a popular destination for drivers.
Hitchhiking outMost of the freeway on-ramps from within Portland do not allow adequate space for drivers to stop and pull-over for hitchhikers. Therefore, it is recommended that the best way to get out of Portland is to take the public transit system as far out of the city as possible and try from an on-ramp that allows for more room to pull over.
South towards Eugene, California
Hitchhike from Wilsonville area. Monday through Friday, the bus #96 departs from downtown Portland twice in the morning (about 6am and 7:45am) and three times in the afternoon (3:45, 4:45, 5:55). Check current bus times at TriMet Bus Line 96 Take the bus to its last stop and walk a short distance to I-5. The on-ramp here has a medium amount of traffic with a slight shoulder. Two lanes merge into one, so stand at the point that -if a car stops for you- cars behind can safely go around. You should be able to get a ride at least far enough to find a place on the I-5 shoulder you can hitchhike from.
Though the above method does work with a fair amount of success, semi trucks usually engulf the slow lane, making it quite difficult for motorists to pull over. There is a rest area which is far easier to hitchhike from but is 3-7 miles from the Wilsonville/Tualatin area, depending on where you are at. A much easier route is to take a bus to Oregon City Transit Center, then board the CAT bus ($1 fare) which then travels down 99E rather than the freeway. One of the first towns along this route is Canby. If one takes the road marked for I-5 headed west, it will lead directly to the aforementioned rest area. This road is about 4 miles long and hitchhiking is very easy here though traffic can be fairly low at times.
If one continues on the CAT's route, it will end in Woodburn. From here walk to the coast highway which is only a few hundred feet away. Head west, towards the coast, on this highway for approximately 1.5 miles and you will reach the interstate. The on-ramp is quite reliable and never takes more than a half hour to an hour to get a ride but rides are almost invariably headed to Salem and this city can be difficult to hitchhike out of, especially on the south side of town (Exit 260A/260B) and during rush hour. It is more advisable to simply walk down to the freeway and hitchhike from there unless Salem is your destination.
The downside to this route is the CAT only runs Monday-Friday.
North towards Washington (State)
Although not the most ideal hitchhiking point, the on-ramp at Jantzen Beach Exit 308, just south of the Washington border, has a traffic signal before the circular highway entrance. Hitchhike with a sign to cars stopped at the light. There is not enough shoulder for cars to pull out of traffic, though. Marine Drive Exit 307, one mile south, has a slight shoulder along the circular ramp but there is less distance traffic. Another on-ramp is Exit 306B at Victory Blvd. A few hundred feet from the corner is a wide section of shoulder. Stand beside the big tree and watch out for the bus lane between the shoulder and the regular traffic lane.
Alternatively, the Bolt Bus is only about $15 straight from downtown Portland to downtown Seattle if you book it a few days in advance. I know that's hard, but Portland is a cool place to hang out, with an ENORMOUS couchsurfing community.
Things to Do
One cool spot we saw is Powell's Books, at Burnside and 10th. A giant, multilevel book store, with bathrooms and a coffee shop.You could spend hours wandering around in there.