Presenting … the Downtown Portland Sidewalk Ambassadors!

The Sidewalk Ambassadors are friendly and knowledgeable roving information guides. They are dedicated to making downtown Portland friendly, welcoming and hospitable. Think of them as mobile concierges. They are eager to help with any question – just ask!  The downtown Clean & Safe District runs the program to help visitors and residents alike enjoy everything downtown Portland has to offer.

Features of the Sidewalk Ambassador Program:

Sidewalk Ambassadors roam the streets of downtown Portland on foot, eyes wide open for folks who might need their help. With the help of their Mobile Information Kiosk (found in a new spot each week near downtown’s Pioneer Courthouse Square), the Sidewalk Ambassadors are equipped with maps and brochures about transit, attractions, outdoor activities, tours, performing arts, shopping, and more!. If that weren’t enough, the vintage-style Sidewalk Ambassador bicycle zips around downtown Portland, brochures displayed on back (seriously – everything we do in Portland, we do on a bike!). Finally, the Sidewalk Ambassadors tweet the latest haps several times each day (

How can a Sidewalk Ambassador help you?

Sidewalk Ambassadors are friendly and approachable, and can help guide your way on many matters. They can help with:
  • Shopping suggestions, ideas or guidance – great for gift-buying time!
  • Dining ideas: Lunch, dinner or happy hour suggestions. They’ll send you to the perfect spot. (Additional note: Portland is a fantastic city for dining!)
  • Planning a trip on TriMet, Portland’s award-winning transportation system.
  • Saving time on errands – find what you are looking for right away!
  • Finding reasonably priced parking – and not getting a ticket.
  • Selecting evening or weekend activities– concerts, events, attractions, outdoor activities, festivals, tours, contests, etc.
  • Suggesting itineraries and accommodations for out of town guests.
  • Finding a car rental. Or bike rental. Or kayak rental. Or 4-person bike rental…

Also — they might have funny jokes to brighten your day! (They’re pretty sassy, actually.)


  • Green shirt and black pants or shorts. In winter: a green, black and white coat.
  • International information sign on shirt or jacket.
  • Messenger bag full of maps and brochures.
  • Friendly, welcoming demeanor.
  • Sparkle in eye, huge smile, spring in step.

How to Contact the
Sidewalk Ambassadors:

  • Website:
  • Email address:
  • Twitter account:
Merlin Varaday Written by:

Merlin Varaday was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, raised in Ashland, Oregon – home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival – and has spent the last ten years in infamous “keep it weird” Portland, Oregon. With a B.A. in Tourism Marketing from Portland State University, Merlin’s day job is to answer questions for visitors to Portland and tell them about everything awesome in the grey-skied City of Bridges. Additionally, Merlin has contributed to the writing, editing, and layout of the Old Town Chinatown Crier ( Currently working on a blog about Living the Good Life on the Cheap in Portland (web location to be announced shortly), Merlin’s immediate plans are to stay in her hometown and write about all that the quirky metro has to offer. Which is a lot: leading developments in sustainability, an award-winning transit system, eccentric annual traditions like the Santacon, and culinary anomalies such as Voodoo Doughnuts. Because of this, Merlin considers herself a “stay-put writer” (as apposed to a travel writer). “Maybe sometime soon I’ll get to travel some place fantastic,” she says, “and then I will be a travel writer. For now, Portland offers a tremendous amount of material.”