On July 10, a Friday, I'm planning to be in Portland for either a matter of hours (should arrive late afternoon), or perhaps one overnight. I'm driving down from Seattle w/ two relatives from Michigan who are out West for a cruise, and since my favorite annual convention has moved from Portland to San Jose this year, I'm glad for the reason to get to Portland for even a small bit of time. Yes, it's a long drive for a day trip, but I am cursed with a driving mania, and it's a rare chance to spend a few hours w/ rarely seen cousins. Otherwise, I'd tell them to just take the train, which is a beautiful ride from Seattle. (And this was the original plan, actually, until it was clear I had that day free.)
#1 on my personal Portland list is Powell's Books.
If I stay overnight, it is possible it'll be at the youth hostel in the Hawthorne neighborhood -- I've been there before, and enjoyed it. I have not checked there yet for availability.
What, besides Powell's, should I put on a short list of Portland possibilities, with "frugal" and "unique to there" being a prime factor? (Things that start "A free ..." or "The best cheap ..." are perfect.)
Nice walking loops of the city? Good sunsets? Esp. beautiful bridges, parks, etc? Interesting perspectives on the waterfront? (I enjoy watching ships / harbors, other interesting large-scale dynamic stuff.) The few times I've been in Portland, I've never been unhappy just to wander / explore, but more specific ideas are welcome. If all goes well, I'll be putting a Tri-Star through a trial run, too