How do I find a mechanic who won't rip me off?

A natural skepticism surrounds car repair. Among the auto-illiterate, the presumption is that if something on your vehicle needs fixing, you're never going to get a fair deal without spending hours doing research and price comparisons. Like finding a therapist or a primary care physician, deciding on your "forever mechanic" mostly depends on a mix of trial, error and word of mouth. But Emily Tyler, founder of the women-focused Portland automotive club Car Krush and host of the Hotboxing podcast, says there are some easy red flags to help the process of elimination, ranging from simple cleanliness to certifications by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Are there a bunch of broken-down vehicles on the property? Do they claim to "fix anything"? Are they insisting on a power-steering flush? In this case, Tyler says, feel free to judge a book by its cover, and trust your instincts.

Looking for more specific recommendations? Here are some of the local auto shops Tyler suggests, depending on your needs.  MATTHEW SINGER.

For general repair: Hawthorne Auto Clinic, 4307 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 503-234-2119,

For European cars: Munich Motorworks, 4506 SE César E. Chávez Blvd., 503-583-2313.

For Japanese cars: Japanese Auto Repair, 1025 SE 6th Ave.,, 503-235-6300.

For Subarus: Superior Soobie & Import, 17912 SE McLoughlin Blvd., 503-880-4084,

For hybrids: Atomic Auto, 610 NE 102nd Ave., 503-969-3134,

For tires: Lovely Tire & Wheel Company, 1430 SE 82nd Ave., 503-255-2721.

For brakes: Cooke’s Brake Service, 830 SE 46th Ave., 503-232-6440,

How do I convince Buffalo Exchange to buy my clothes?

For the most part, success at consignment stores depends on how trendy and well cared for your expendable clothing items are. Delores Gonzales, who works at the Buffalo Exchange on West Burnside, says buyers are trained to look for quality indicators like extra stitching around seams and the type of fabric—you'll get more for silk than cotton. Stores are unlikely to take anything that's even a little wrinkled or damaged, so it's worth sewing that one missing button back on. It certainly doesn't hurt to neatly fold your clothes and come in dressed like someone whose closet you'd want to dig through. But really, your best bet is to understand what stores are looking for: Buffalo Exchange (1036 W Burnside St., 1420 SE 37th Ave.) takes both new and vintage, Crossroads (128 NW 23rd Ave., 3736 SE Hawthorne Blvd.) doesn't take vintage and pays the most for brand names, and Red Light (3590 SE Hawthorne Blvd.) buys vintage almost exclusively and is the best place to get rid of your ripped-up old band tees. Pretty much every store buys seasonally and based on inventory, so don't try to sell a bunch of sweaters in the summer. Trends and inventory change constantly, so call ahead and ask what they're currently looking for. Ultimately, though, buying is subjective, so if you're determined to sell stuff the store doesn't take, try going back when there's a different buyer. Gonzales says Buffalo encourages sellers to stay at the counter as the buyer sorts through their things to get a better understanding of what to bring next time: "We're able to educate the seller about what we're looking for."

Multnomah Falls in Fog-Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area (U.S. Forest Service)
Multnomah Falls in Fog-Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area (U.S. Forest Service)

How can I get out of town without driving a car?

Sometimes staring at photos of the state's geological marvels and tourist attractions just doesn't cut it. There are times you feel compelled to hit the road and gaze up a cascading waterfall, trek through a forest, or log laps in the free cheese line at the Tillamook Creamery. But for anyone without a car—a not insignificant percentage of Portlanders—many of these journeys can seem out of reach. After all, you can't e-scoot all the way to Cannon Beach, and an Uber ride that costs three figures isn't practical.

If you have patience, though, and spare cash you've saved on gas, public transit and shuttle services can take you just about anywhere. Each of these trips start at Pioneer Courthouse Square—and be sure to time your trip so you can catch a ride home. ANDI PREWITT.

To: Multnomah Falls

Take the MAX Green Line to Clackamas Town Center to the Gateway Transit Center. Board the Columbia Gorge Express and ride until it reaches the Multnomah Falls parking lot.

Fares: $2.50 for TriMet; $30 for adults on the Columbia Gorge Express, $15 for kids 17 and younger

To: Timberline Lodge

Take the MAX Blue Line to the Gresham Central Transit Center. Across the plaza from the light rail stop, catch the Sandy Local & Gresham Express bus and transfer to the Mt. Hood Express at the Sandy Transit Center next to the Sandy Historical Society. That route ends at Timberline, where you can walk to the lodge or access dozens of trails.

Fares: $2.50 for TriMet; $5 for a Sandy Area Metro/Mt. Hood Express combined all-day pass

To: Cannon Beach

Ride the MAX Blue Line west to the Sunset Transit Center and transfer to the NorthWest POINT bus. From there, get off at the second stop in midtown Cannon Beach.

Fares: $2.50 for TriMet; $17 for NorthWest POINT

To: Tillamook Creamery (formerly Cheese Factory)

Catch a Red or Blue MAX train west to the Sunset Transit Center. From there, board the NW Connector bus to Tillamook and get off at the Tillamook Transit Center. Walk one minute to the Laurel Avenue stop on Wilson River Highway and hop on the NW Connector Cannon Beach-Seaside bus. Get off two stops later on Highway 101 in front of the creamery.

Fares: $2.50 for TriMet; $20 round trip for the NW Connector bus to Tillamook; $1 for the NW Connector Cannon Beach-Seaside bus

To: Bend

Take the MAX Green Line to Union Station. From there, hop on the Central Oregon Breeze bus, which will take you all the way to the Circle K on North Highway 97 in Bend, although the unloading point may be temporarily moved while the convenience store undergoes construction.

Fares: $2.50 for TriMet; $40-$52 economy for the Central Oregon Breeze, which must be booked 24 hours in advance at

Where can I get cheap bike gear?

Craigslist is often the default for misery cyclists looking for bikes and gear, but Community Cycling Center (1700 NE Alberta St.) and Bike Farm (1810 NE 1st Ave.) are much more reliable and carry just about everything you could need. Both sell affordable used bikes and parts, and the all-volunteer Bike Farm lets you use the shop's tools and teaches you how to fix your bike for a yearly membership or $5 an hour. River City Bikes (706 SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.) also holds free maintenance clinics every Tuesday night. But part of what makes cycling so intimidating are all the upfront costs beyond the bike itself: A high-quality U-lock is essential but can put you back $60. So the Portland Police Bureau's Bicycle Task Force gives out a couple dozen free U-locks each year to anyone who brings in a used cable lock. And every summer, Legacy Health holds bike helmet sales all over the city where you can snag a helmet for $6. SHANNON GORMLEY.