Laura O Foster


Laura O. Foster

Author, Pacific Northwest guidebooks

Book Reviews and What Readers are Saying

Portland Hill WalksPortland Hill Walks
Anyone who loves Portland should own this book. The Oregonian

I've really appreciated the author's depth of knowledge of the city's history, her insights and judgment about what's worth seeing, and her moments of humor and commentary. This isn't a dry guidebook but rather a lively gateway to a new appreciation of PDX's hidden treasures. reviewer

I don't write reviews very often, but this is the best guide book for Portland I've bought so far. I recently moved to Oregon and was looking for a book that will let me explore different parts of the city and tell me something more about places than the regular "dry" guides. Laura Foster guides you through lesser-known paths, learning some history and geography along the way. I learned about why Oregon beaches are public, ginkgo plants, the history of the Willamette and the West Hills, and so much more. Amazon reviewer

We have used this book to explore Portland, and as recent transplants (one from LA and one from Eugene) find it a fun, useful resource. We have as much fun choosing which walks to do/repeat as we do taking the walks! So much research went into this book; it's impressive. Directions are clear (when we follow them!) and the maps are fairly accurate and helpful. When we don't follow the instructions and get lost, it's easy to find our way back. Ms. Foster's book was an unexpected and happy discovery. reviewer

A great example of how esoteric and magical Portland is. These are not your average 'nature hikes'. Instead you'll get a real feel for the mix of urban and natural areas of Portland. Plus maps, parking directions, hidden stairways and geological information. reviewer

I've done about 18 of the 20 walks and I am frequently amazed by them. These walks take you into the nooks and crannies of the city that would likely surprise most long-time Portland natives. Amazon reviewer

My husband and I have recently begun walking. This book is an excellent resource. I've never seen one so thorough, combining history along with a route that is so clear a person would have to really try in order to get lost. The history notes are so fascinating (and I'm not in to history at all). If you like to walk and you are in the Portland area, you really need this resource book! Amazon reviewer

I walk/hike with two other women once a week. We have found no other book which does what this one does. It not only provides interesting walks accurately, but also covers the history, architecture and plants along the way. I can't say enough about how much we've enjoyed this book. Amazon reviewer


Portland City WalksPortland City Walks
In the 20 walks she skillfully combines neighborhood history and architectural description with keen observations guaranteed to capture a walker’s imagination The Oregonian

Much like Portland Hill Walks, this is much more than a list of scenic strolls through Portland and its suburbs. She gives an amazing amount of detail on the history of the locations, architecture of its buildings, and other interesting bits of trivia that even us locals don't know! Without the hills these walks are more accessible to beginners. Amazon reviewer

Laura Foster has put out two fantastic books about Portland walks. This is her latest one and it's terrific. The walk descriptions are like little history and architecture lessons.

Can't say enough about this volume and Laura Foster's earlier Portland Hill Walks: Twenty Explorations in Parks and Neighborhoods. As a two-week vacation traveler to Portland this past summer, these two books were constantly with me on my numerous walks and hikes throughout the city. Portland is blessed with some wonderfully unique neighborhoods, each with layers of fascinating history and replete with charm and character. And thanks to the city's outstanding public transit system, the majority of these hikes are easily accessible without a car. Foster's books offer such interesting details of history, architecture, cultural and physical geography, as well as many individuals important to the development of Portland's neighborhoods over the years. These are such well-researched and detailed volumes that the reader comes away from these neighborhood encounters sensing that the homes and streets have been friends for years. I will use both of these books whenever I return to Portland in the years to come...there is still so much to learn about this great American city! Thank you, Laura Foster, for two of the best urban walking guides I have ever found!

StairsThe Portland Stairs Book
A feast of Portland stair facts and stories…with Foster’s keen eye for quirky detail. Oregonian

Foster breaks down Portland’s stair scene in nearly every way imaginable: Extreme staircases; Steps to show out-of-town visitors; 20 stairways with 100 steps or more; and, for anyone needing a rest—Steps to sit on. Want to link up on several staircases in a row? An entire chapter is devoted to walking routes on both sides of the river, with handy maps, mileage totals, and counts of the total steps you can expect to encounter. Turns out, a 5-mile trek in the Alameda neighborhood nets the most stairs—an impressive 805 in all.

Foster is known for her firm grasp on Portland’s long forgotten history, much of which we literally step over each day. And her latest offering puts readers in position for a bird’s-eye perspective on details such as Highway 30’s devastating affect on the community of Linnton and the work of community do-gooders like Don Baack, a pioneer of the town’s SW Trails movement.

Still, if you’d like to cut right to the chase, simply refer to “The List”, Foster’s compilation of seemingly every street and park staircase in the city, a total of 10,155 steps. Among them you’ll find listed, Mount Tabor, where Foster counted 282 steps. Portland Monthly magazine

Thanks to Laura Foster, the author of beloved local guidebooks, Portland Hill Walks and Portland City Walks, the city’s treasure trove of noteworthy staircases are back on display. Foster is known for her firm grasp on Portland’s long forgotten history, much of which we literally step over each day. Amazon reviewer

A terrific resource for walkers and those interested in exploring. reviewer

Walk ThereWalk There!
I love Laura Foster's work and Walk There! has helped me to explore and understand Portland and environs. Walk There! takes in a broader territory than her other books and introduces interesting nooks in familiar and completely unfamiliar places. We spent a whole summer taking low-carbon hikes that required no to minimal driving. Amazon reviewer

I'm thrilled to have discovered so many diverse neighborhoods, and so many interesting homes, coffee shops, restaurants, historical sites, trees, wildlife, vistas, and last but not least, people. If you want to "go on vacation" every weekend for the next year, and spend a pittance, this is the book for you. reviewer