Do the 12-mile jaunt from PDX International to downtown on MAX. The $3 train ride to the city center takes 40 minutes, providing a great introduction to Portland's transit environment. The taxi ride takes half the time and runs $40. Amtrak and Greyhound make it easy for West Coasters to drop in.
Skip the car and go by bike, train, tram, streetcar, and bus. A bike gets you everywhere easily, unless you venture into the West Hills for a mile-long uphill slog to the famous Rose Garden. MAX trains are bike-friendly and can enhance your cycling range. You'll need a car to get up to the mountains, out to wine country, over to the coast, or up the gorge. Some hotels now offer bikes as part of their room package. Bike rentals are plentiful and convenient.