25 July 2020

We'll Always Have Northeast Glisan

3726Not to get into too much profundity about it, but the pandemic has made us re-think the idea of the burger-restaurant dining experience sans lobby.

We do miss those things in general, the former 122nd and Glisan Burgerville notwithstanding. But when we do get BV, the question highest on our minds is, of course, where do we go to enjoy it?

This last weekend we had come out of Gresham and had gotten our burgers at the BV at 162nd and Division. Brown Eyed Girl at the conn, we proceeded north on 162nd and then west on NE Glisan St. I had no clue. She has learned her geographical lessons well, however, and knows where to get an unexpected viewpoint.

Portland's 'flat east side' is something of a myth. We just don't have a junior mountain range like the west side does; there's plenty of hills, slopes, dropoffs, defiles, what have you. And just as you past the entry to the legendary Glendoveer Golf Course, just west of 148th on Glisan, the road drops and you get kind of a nifty urban view, and that's where we parked and ate (it's Walla Walla Sweet onion-ring season, for those who care ... they were superb, of course) and contemplated life.

At sunset. Which also made it kind of poetic.


There isn't a thing in that shot that doesn't mean something to us: from the slabby width of Glisan to the radio towers on the ridge of the West Hills, some fifteen miles away.

AND NOW, IN BOKEH!!!


... which was kind of accidental, because the camera wasn't sure what to focus on, but the blur and the view please us so much that we'll pretend we meant to do that.

This German Card Game Sponsored By Lake Titicaca and The Planet Uranus

3725A great long time ago, when the Brown Eyed Girl and myself fancied we'd someday visit Germany (let's get real now, yeah?) we'd avail ourselves of German products. There are still several that we like. Few, sadly, have hung around (I miss my Shoko-Kola, let's just say).

But we still do have this. It's a deck of cards for a simple game called Quartett. If you've played Authors, you know how it goes: you can two other chums deal this deck out between you, then you form your hand into melds and start asking each other for the cards you don't have. Once a meld is complete, you lay it down, and the first to run out of cards wins.

This, Verkehrszeichen Quartett, (Road-sign Quartett) is based on German traffic signs. The four cards making up each meld are lined up at the top of the card, a big lush photo of the sign in the middle and a description of what the sign accomplishes auf Deutsch caption it. There are 36 cards total, which divide into 9 melds, which makes it so that nobody can get a tie, or at least that makes it rather difficult.


But, I say, Herr Kartenspieler ... was ist das on der bach side?


"ASS Altenburger indeed" we giggle to our inner grade-schooler as we both enjoy the joke.

Sure, "ass" doesn't necessarily mean the same in English and that seems to be an initialism anyway.

But ... so what? If the whole internet can giggle whenever some space science reporter makes another creaky joke including the name of the seventh planet, then we can laugh at this.

So it goes.

19 July 2020

Westbound on the Ross Island Bridge.

3724Returning to the Ross Island Bridge, I give you the look out our car's front window as we proceed toward the west side of the Willamette.

Ahead of this, the road devolves into a number of ramps connecting to streets leading into downtown (S Kelly Avenue, SW Naito Parkway northbound, SW Arthur leading to SW 4th) and to the great Southwest (SW Naito Parkway southbound to Barbur Blvd). These are very charming old ramps and, judging by the curve radii and the tightness of the roadways, were clearly designed for much slower traffic. But, we deal.

Off to the left, if you could look, are the condo towers of South Waterfront ... and my history here goes back far enough that I knew a time when none of them were there. Off to the right, views of downtown that are, unfortunately, obscured by the safety railings.

Straight ahead, tho ...

... th e eastern face of Portland's posh West Hills. The buildings most in evidence surmount a massif known as Marquam Hill, our medical mountain, our "Pill Hill". Not only is there the massive research joint known as OHSU, but there's also the Doernbecher's Children's Hospital, a Shriners' Hospital, and a VA Medical Center.

If I caught a case of Andromeda Strain, that's where I'd want to be. You're never more than one insurance plan away from any doctor.

The cables up the hill are the OHSU tram, of course, another thing I knew Portland before it had. It's a fun ride, surprisingly low-key as a tourist attraction, and connects the OHSU buildings down by the river with the ones up on the hill.

And, of course, the lush green. Surfeit of trees? This is Portland. We haz dem.

18 July 2020

Tilikum Crossing From Terwilliger Blvd

3723This, the full name of which is Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People, is the newest and most unique of Portland's signature bridges, a cable-stayed design that opened to the transit- and bicycle-using public in 2015. It is not a general traffic bridge, but is restricted and designed for buses, light rail and streetcar, and bicycle and pedestrian access only. It connects from the west at a point off South Moody Avenue just south of the Riverplace district and ties into the east via a access called SE Tilikum Way which bends to become a block of SE 7th Avenue feeding into SE Division Place. It opened in 2015.

A public naming contest was conducted; Tilikum Crossing wasn't the popular choice but the choice TriMet went with. The popular choice was honoring the legendary street performer "Working" Kirk Reeves, may he long live in our hearts, but that just didn't have the gravitas that they were looking for, we guess. That said, the word tilikum is Chinuk Wawa meaning people in the sense of family or tribe and meant to pay homage to the indigenous inhabitants ... the Multnomahs, the Clackamas, and others who lived here before we white people go there, and if they weren't going to go with the people's choice, at least they went with something with a lot of heart and Native soul.


Interesting Fun Fact!: The bridge, as mentioned earlier, is transit and pedestrian/bike only. So, as you sit comfortably (and properly socially-distanced) in a TriMet motor coach or a MAX train, you can grin smugly at the people crossing in cars just to the north via the Marquam Bridge or to the south on the Ross Island Bridge. Of course, they're too far away to see you; the victory is a Pyrrhic one. It is, never the less, real, and yours.

The Ross Island Bridge From Terwilliger Blvd

3722The Ross Island Bridge the span that carries US Hwy 26 across the Willamette and from Southwest Portland (Well, it starts in South, now) to Southeast Portland. For a time in the 90s, me and the Brown Eyed Girl lived in a 4-plex down SE 8th Avenue in the Brooklyn section of town and coming home from work over the bridge (and, sometimes, going to work) I got to see a lot of Wy'east in morning and evening light. That, indeed, was its own reward.


The foliage on the parkway provides its own framing. That tower on the right there is for the OHSU Tram. It opened in 1926 and was named for nearby Ross Island, who itself was named for the early Portlander who had a donation land claim on that island, Sherry Ross. It is a cantilever deck truss bridge, supposedly quite rare in Oregon.

Interesting Fun Fact!: Ross Island Bridge actually crosses the river just north of the island and doesn't go to the island itself. As a youth I love bridges and islands and islands that have bridges go to them, so when I finally figured out that the Ross Island Bridge doesn't actually go there, I harbored a bitter petty existential resentment that endures to this very day.


17 July 2020

The Lloyd District from Terwilliger Blvd

3721There is an area of town called the Lloyd District, and it's undergone some changes over the years.

Generally speaking, this area of town centers along NE Broadway and Weidler, and goes from Williams Avenue on the west to about 15th Avenue on the east. It's spiritual heart is the Lloyd Center Mall, which has gone through many evolutions over the years and is now in what seems to be an accelerated metamorphosis into sort of a second downtown for Portland. More high-rises, more business, fewer shops and whatnot. Even the seminal Lloyd Center itself seems to be on the decline despite some passionate rebranding over the last few years.

But this is what it looks like, today, from one of the viewpoints on Terwilliger:


That would amount to a respectable downtown in any medium-sized city anywhere else. In Portland, that's our back-up downtown in case we ever have to send the usual one in for service.


In the washed out horizon blue of the oppressively clear day, Luuit keeps its own counsel.

The Viewpoint, The Restaurant, And The Totem Pole

3720Let's return to Terwilliger Blvd.

At 5700 SW Terwilliger Blvd in Portland there is an upscale restaurant with panoramic views of Portland and dinner prices to match; it's unit of the Chart House chain of fine dining establishments (If you have to ask, you can't afford it™). The Brown Eyed Girl and me ate there just once, a very long time ago, on a gift certificate. I had a pepper steak. It was superb.

It is the only address that's obvious, commercial or residential, along the whole of the Terwilliger parkway.

The restaurant in question.
There is a small parking lot in front but, oddly, even though it looks like it should be, is not strictly speaking, the restaurants. The Chart House exists at a public viewpoint called the Elk Point viewpoint, and you can park there (provided you can find a spot) for two hours no matter who you are, what your vehicle looks like, and take in the view. It's quite a lovely look.

Wy'east, from this vantage, seems far off and just a blip on the horizon, or maybe it was the overwhelming blue of the sky diminishing things (this is one reason I dislike clear bright blue days. They're actually quite dreary. The great leveller.) but I had to play a trick or two after downloading this to make it look anything like good.

But the majesty shows through.


... because it's Wy'east, and that's the way Wy'east be.

The real revelatory treat of the Elk Point viewpoint is the totem pole, however. dulled by age, it's none the less impressive for stature, about 50 feet tall, and if the story of the carvings are somewhat inscrutable to those without indigenous roots, it commands respect, and has a rather legendary creator: Chief Leelooska.

Chief Leelooska's Totem Pole at Elk Point

I had heard little of Leelooska but education was quickly to be found to hand electronically. The Chief was Cherokee, but was a great storehouse of cultural knowledge of many Native tribes, and had an especial love for the art of the Pacific Northwest coast. He was, in course, adopted by a branch of a Northwest tribe living in southwest Washington (the Leelooska Foundation, an educational organization and indigenous museum, is located in Ariel, a community on the Clark-Cowlitz county border). A page at Friends of Terwilliger has it thus:
Born Cherokee, Chief Lelooska (1933-1996) was adopted into the Kwakwaka’wakw, and was known for his mastery of storytelling and carving. As a scholar and educator, Chief Lelooska was recognized as significant resource on Native Americans in North America with a particular emphasis on the tribes of the Northwest coastal region. He was known for his versatility in wood sculpting, creating artwork that ranged in size from hand-held rattles and feast bowls to large-scale totem poles. The “Totem Pole” at Elk Point Viewpoint serves as an excellent example of Chief Lelooska’s work and is a prized part of Portland’s public art collection.
The pole lived at the Oregon Zoo for years and was apparently moved to Elk Point in 2014. It shows its age, and they're looking to restore it. But even as weathered as it is, its still magnificent in its dignity.

16 July 2020

The Marquam Bridge From Terwilliger Blvd

3719SW Terwilliger Blvd, which extends in a parkway from its origin at the intersection of SW 6th Avenue and Sheridan Street at the north end of Duniway Park to George Himes Park in the Hillsdale area, offers quite a few of Portland's surfeit of gorgeous viewpoint opportunities, which is a natural, as at some points along that throughfare are over 500 feet in elevation and face the city on the east face of Portland's posh West Hills - as well as welcome shade and about 15 degress Fahrenheit off the seasonably, distastefully warm mid-July Oregon weather.

And here is just one.


This is an angle on the Marquam Bridge, the span that combines I-5 and I-405 at the west end (the one closest to our viewpoint) and takes them over the Willamette to access points north via I-5 and east via I-84. Close by those soaring ramps over the river on the opposite side of the Willamette is the southern part of the central east side's business area; notable immediately above and to the left of the center of the shot is the Weatherly Building, at the corner of SE Morrison St and Grand Avenue. Immediately to the right of that is a building with a red brick exterior that only existed since about this time last year; indeed, the practiced visual Portlander should immedately see a number of buildings that have fundamentally changed the nature of the area.

In the upper left distance there is the tower of The Fontaine Apartements, a high-rise which stakes out the eastern extent of the Lloyd District.

Beyond these, blending to urban forest, the inner east side of Portland. Beyond that, Cascade foothills.

A view they can't charge you for ... not yet, anyway.

Women of Power Mural Activity At The Phoenix Pharmacy Building, July 15th 2020

3718We've visited this corner before. It got our attention today because of the new decor being installed.

The building, on the northwest corner of SE 67th Avenue and Foster Road, was built on 1922 by a pharmacist named John Leach to house his business. The Phoenix Pharmacy remained a going business at one corner or the other at 67th and Foster until the early 2000s, and the building itself, with its unique architecture, has ascended to hallowed landmark status.


Its latter-day history is a bit checkered and tarnished, as the vicissitudes of progress will provide. After the pharmacy vacated the building, a variety of businesses tenanted there, including a cheap phone and VHS video store which is what most people probably remember there, if they remember anything there at all.

In '99, according to the history published online by the preservationist group Foster The Phoenix, a neighborhood businessman purchased the property in hopes of rehabbing it into a stove museum and community center - plans which were destined to remain unrealized. So it remains standing, unoccupied, as Foster The Phoenix works diligently to forward their own plans.

The balks of plywood shielding the first-floor glass are by no means new nor a response to the protests that are ubiquitous in the news. They've been there for a long time, and up to recently, were decorated with an abstract party scene. Our route through the neighborhood was in via Holgate from Outer East Portlandia, then a side-jink via 67th in quest of some much-needed coffee at the Dutch Bros at 67th and Foster. My eye was caught by a young man covering up an ugly red graffito with a rather stylish street-art phoenix. And then it was east to see the new art. While the Brown Eyed Girl fixed us up with lattes, I jumped out and started clicking.

This is some timely art, a tetraptych (I was today years old when I found out that this is a word) of four women.

This first panel, still incomplete ... I'll cop to not recognizing her.


The second panel, also incomplete, but not recognize Frida Kahlo? How could you not do that?


The third panel, I see Angela Davis here.


I'm getting a heavy Marsha P. Johnson vibe on this last one, if only for the unfinished adornments.


This is a strong improvement over the artwork that graced these panels up until now. I hope to get back there after it's finished and get a look at how powerful this will be when complete.

A lot of spirit here!

Wy'east From Elk Point, July 15th 2020

3717We went on a long ol' drive today, spanning the city to bring you the constant variety of sports. Only there was no sports. So I took shots of other things.

I learned there was a place in the West Hills of Portland called Elk Point, and that it has luscious views. Here's a bit of one, run through the posterizing filter on the Canon to bring out some detail.


Wy'east, a perennial favorite of mine, from a viewpoint I don't usually aspire to. But more on that later.

14 July 2020

The Dinosaur Of Maywood Park Is Wise In The Ways Of Mask

3716At the corner of NE 102nd Avenue and Failing Street, on the side of NE 102nd that is actually outside of Portland and inside the small, triangle-shaped City of Maywood Park, there is a house and that house has a multicolored fence made of those slatted window blinds and behind it, there's a bonsai T. Rex, in skeletal form.

You can see it in the below, head above the blue and rose colored ones, and right in front of the chimney.


And maybe it's because the dino has seen some stuff, but they wear that mask with a certain dash.


Take it from someone who knows from extinction.
Wear your damn' mask, Portland.

Wy'east from Aloha, By Mike Warner

3715Here's a photo that I didn't take, that I wish I had, and that I've fallen rather in love with. It's also unusual for this blog's remit in as much it's a photo from the Heavy Westside rather than my beloved Heavy Eastside.

It's made in a place called Aloha, Oregon, which is a place lodged between (and, latterly, divided between) Hillsboro and Beaverton (and which we pronounce uh-LOW-uh, not as they do in the Hawai'ian Islands). It is as far west of the Portland City Center as the western half of Gresham is east. The north-south axis of this area is NW and SW 185th Avenue. And, by road, that's about a 75-mile trip, if you take the starting point as 185th and SW Tualatin Valley Highway, and the destination as Timberline Lodge ... at least, that's what Google Maps thinks.

All the more astounding then that Mike Warner, local news photographer (KATU) brought all this considerable skill to bear to make majestic Mt Hood ... Wy'east ... look as though it was right across the street from the middle of whereever you are in downtown Aloha, Oregon, during an alpenglow evening recently.

Mount Hood from TV Hwy in Aloha
Photo by Mike Warner, used with permission


This is the kind of photo that I've always wanted to take. I both envy ... and admire the skill.

Thank you to Mike Warner for simply being, and for his kind permission in using this photo. His Facebook page, where he posts a great deal of similar wonderfulness, is https://www.facebook.com/photosbymikewarner/

12 July 2020

Stop And Go Market, SE 122nd and Lincoln

3714Nothing profound to say about this, except it's just a charming quick-shop that's been along SE 122nd Avenue at Lincoln since, chee, I donno, Pontius was a pilot, or something. They've recently replaced the big sign on top, and that caught my eye, I suppose.

It has a little open-air tacqueria along the left side of the building, because that's how we roll out here in DavidDouglaslandia.




Echoes of Country Along Citified Division Street

3713Outer East Portlandia is still studded with hints of an authentic past that goes beyond the lamented demise of "Old Portland". Out here, in The Numbers, they come in glimpses obscured by trees embedded in the polyglot proletarian atmosphere one only seems to find these days east of I-205, and, as opposed to the old urban areas west of I-205, they tend to carry a decidedly rural aura to them.

On SE Division Street, just west of the light at SE 130th Avenue on the north side of the street, are two such glimpses. I'll not publicize the addresses, but if you were here and driving down Division and just looked, you'd see them, sure enough. Their unforgettability etches them indelibly on the memory.

This house is particularly remarkable for its architectural touch, which I shouldn't have to point out:


I've long admired this house, and how could you not, with that askew corner and the pointed peak? The detail over the front porch is nifty enough on its own and then it gives you this visual jackpot.

It's quite a semi-hidden gem.


This other one, above, is the next-door neighbor. Modest and unremarkable when framed this way, just a small cottage located in a remote wood ... though, of course, it's on one of Portland's most thronging arterials, the road between Oregon's largest city and its fourth-largest, both of which hold more than 100,000 people.

And it's this aspect of it that really lodges in the mind and memory. All this suburban urbanity around it, and here are these two small places that haven't forgotten that they were once outside of town and solidly in the country, the country that once filled the space between Portland and Gresham.

Back when there was space between Portland and Gresham.

Farms Preserved In Amber On Shaver Street

3712I go on about Rossi Farms a lot, but it's really a nifty place. I've never been to an event there, but I know it's a true working farm, now deep in the middle of a major American metropolitan area.

Portland is a city of size, sprawling in its compact, Oregon way, with a population which may well close on 700,000 in the next few years (and close on one million within the city limits by the time I meet my own demise). But here, along 122nd Avenue, is a snippet of the way it was at one time; small farms from 82nd Avenue all the way out past Gresham, instead of unrelenting miles of housing tracts and traffic speedways. Driving the bit of 122nd that passes through the property is always a treat, for more reasons than one.

This last weekend, the Brown Eyed Girl and myself enjoyed a bit of Burgerville while parked on NE Shaver St, the road that bounds the Rossi place on the north, taking in the view of our favorite volcanic mountain. We hadn't been down it very far for a while and, after our mobile meal was finished, she took us farther east down Shaver, interested in the houses down that way, and we were treated to these little bits of time warp.

Because who would ever think to find this sort of thing in the middle of a city like Portland in the year 2020 ...


A working barn, paint peeling but sill in use ...


... and ancient, rusting farm implements of astoundingly, delightfully antique vintage.


They called back, as things do to men my age, a time of youth. I was born and spent my early life, up until just about puberty, in Silverton. I wouldn't call myself a farm boy, not quite, but my early homes were decidedly rural and featured at least one barn. Grandparents on my Mom's side? They were hard-core farm life until my Grandfather passed and Grandma Bitterman had to move to a modest place. Driving down a road and past rusting, parked farm equipment resonates hard.

And not any less so when you drive past the same thing on a suburban street.

Portland Street Blades: Old and Older

3711A picture snapped from the corner of NE 121st Place and Prescott St, near 122nd and a stone's throw from Parkrose High School.


It's interesting to me the way that tattered old sign directing the sojourner down Prescott St ... a local collector into the Parkrose nabe south of Sandy between 102nd and 122nd ... which is duplicated by the not-quite-equally-but-still-obviously-worn, obsolescent 2nd generation Portland street blade atop the corner post, was allowed to stay.

It's seen a lot of depredation.

NE 121st Place holds a place of import locally because, since Sandy Boulevard and NE 122nd Avenue are grade-separated, it forms he connection between Sandy east and west and 122nd's southbound side. The northbound side is accessed to and from Sandy by a jug handle ramp enclosing he Powell Grove Cemetery, a highly unique bit of street geography which I've explored in the past.

Also, there's more than one way to skin that cat; proceeding south past the access ramp to 122nd southbound leads to a connection to a one-block bit of Skidmore at a traffic signal that one can go north or south at.

11 July 2020

The I-205 Electronic Sign is Trending

3710Recall that, some weeks back, in the midst of the Great Shutdown, the electronic wayfaring signs over I-205 here in great Outer East Portlandia were suitably attired with efficently-terse warnings about staying home and saving lives.

Well, since we've decided to gradually re-open the world, the signs have gone back to their original duty; displaying the next two exits and the travel-times thereunto. Well, it'll also be noted that, since we've decided to gradually re-open, Covid-19 was patiently standing by and is now having a grand old time getting re-acquainted with everyone. Cases are up, cases per day are up, deaths are trending upwards. The public conversations about re-closing the economy, to some degree or another, have resumed. And the messages on the e-boards have changed, similarly to the way they did in April, just before the doors rang shut.

Only today, the message cycles. The following, captured on I-205 southbound, just past the onramp from Exit 23, as the super slab cruises along behind Rocky Butte.

Part One:


Part Two:


Even in Oregon, I fear, this message is pearls before swine for some.

07 July 2020

Wy'East in Surrogate on Division

3709The last several days here in my beloved PDX Metro have been gray and cloudy. And I do like this; I've always preferred the cloudy days to the agressively clear, horizon-to-horizon blue.

However, it does prevent me from seeing my mountain muse, Wy'east. But a billboard company has kind of come to the rescue. Looking down on SE 98th and Division, from above a dodgy quick-shop and gas station, and within sight of the big Division/I-205 mixing bowl, we have a beatific place-holder design on a billboard, which has benevolence designed in.


So, if I can't get my Wy'east fix from 122nd, at least I got it from here, this day.

The lighthouse on the cupola of the Public Storage next door gives a dash of visual simultaneously ironic and romantic, in that commercial suburban business district sort of way.

Bonobo Mart Seems Always Out Of Stock

3708Another place we are habitues of, Discounts Plus provides us with much variety, spice 'o' life, and cheap soda pop and the occasional container of Osem kosher croutons and container of Bisto.

But there is one thing that they've never carried, despite what the sign over the window says. See if you can spot it.


If you haven't seen it yet, let's zoom in. Look between the sign that says TOOLS and the one that says TARPS.


That's right. MONKEYS.

And you know what? They're always out of stock. So aggravating.

One Of The Most Oregon Things You'll Still Ever See

3707There is a thing called dimethlyl sulfoxide. It is, as I learned when I was but a neat thing, is a "solvent degreaser". It was a byproduct of paper manufacture, and we had a paper plant on just about every corner through the 1970s, so it was all over the place. It also has alleged medical properties, and is or maybe was-has-been touted as an 'alternative' treatment for cancer.

Sort of an Oregonized laetrile, if you will.

And there was a time, back in the 1970s, when stores from the drug to the hardware variety, all thoughout northwestern Oregon, would sell it to you. But they couldn't sell it as a drug, because that was illegal. So they solid it as that 'solvent degreaser' that the average home just couldn't do without and it's-a-suppressed-miracle-drug-but-you-didn't-hear-that-from-the-person-behind-the-counter-at-the-Coast-to-Coast-if-you-catch-our-meaning-here.

But, back then, you could find DMSO just about everywhere because, well, power to the people, I guess.

It's hard to find now, not so much because the nanny-state suppressed it but because, just like anything, it's fallen out of style. We've moved on. But there are some places you can find it:


The sign on the top of a local mailbox somewhere around the corner of SE 117th and Market is similar in shape and format to the signs peering out of store windows back in the day beckoning you in for some of that sweet, sweet, DMSO anodyne. Actually, DMSO has some very interesting properties: it is absorbed readily into the skin, and can become thereby a transdermal transport vehicle for some other pharmaceuticals. Also, when you apply it, you taste garlic at the back of your throat because of science science neural transport biochemistry science (hand wave). But it hasn't changed medicine or liberated the peoples thereupon, and, as I've said, we've moved on. Mostly.

The sigh of a The Oregonian paper tube, in this era of a light tabloid daily that isn't even delivered seven days a week any more, just ups the poignancy of years gone by.

A Tarnished Angel On A Side Street

3706This I saw over the last week along the street leading up to the Chez ZehnKatzen...


It is unclear what this Type I's destiny is to be. I've the feeling she's on teh way to some restoration. But she's looking good in her somewhat-rusty glory (and unless you're a real maintenance freak there is no such thing as a vintage VeeDub without rust).

There is this: the house it's parked beside loves VW's as much as I do but has the spare funds to restore them to the glory Gott intended: they have a Type II, split windscreen, and that baby is immaculate. So, certainly good things are in store for this one.

A couple of technical points: the windscreen is curved out, not flat, marking this as 1974 or after (and judging by the obvious wear and tear, which is equivalent to that of Olivia, my '72, it's proabably right around '74 or '75) and the tail light gems are what they call the 'elephant's foot' style, which was '73 and onwards.

Olivia's taillights are the cheerfully-nicknamed "tombstone" style, for what that's worth.

28 June 2020

The Rainbow Tacqueria Of Parkrose

3705NE Sandy Boulevard east of 99th Avenue is a wholly different Sandy Boulevard. This neck of the woods is downtown Parkrose, a neigborhood of outer east Portland that has, along its commercial axis, seen better days, as many areas are in this time of flux.

Sandy Boulevard - a road named not for the little town way out toward Mount Hood but because it stretched toward the Sandy River, according to MacArthur - stops being a diagonal road at this point and follows the general trend of the Columbia River about a mile to the north. This road, once US Hwy 30, used to be one of the principal east-side gateways to Portland, and architectural legacies of that time can still be seen along that mile-or-so of road ... buildings with vague Art Deco lines, which served interstate travellers at one time with nightly lodgings are now shabby-yet-clean motels and small businesses. It's history through a smudged glass.

At the corner of Sandy and NE 115th, there's a building that echoes that Art Deco detail. Sitting at the corner of a lot containing an L-shaped building that appears to be apartments now but at one time must have been a roadside motel is the Antojitos Mexicanos Taqueria.

Up until a few months ago it was content to wear a coat of bland, oatmeal-hued paint. Nothing special. Then, one day, it exploded in color. Now it looks like this:

From the west:



And, from the east:

Simple yet playful, and anything but boring, thanks to an artist named Pablo, who signed the work in the lower right corner of the facade, with a date of 2020.

It, like many eateries still, is closed, only takeout at this point.

Signs Of The Mill Park Times

3704My home neighborhood in Portland, Mill Park, is a pretty sedate and banal place. Or it seems that way. Below that we're just a hotbed of punk, I'll tell you.

Near my house there's this Lutheran church, Gethsemane by name, which has been communicating gentle messages during the emergency time. This was what they had today:


Now, I'll cop out an confession here; religion, as we practice it in America, despite the dogged efforts of those who would work for kindness, continues to bend toward rebuke and performative cruelty. This is not just blithe opinion on my part either; anyone of equitable view seeing the news these days must surely agree. However, this message, in this age of performative cruelty?

That's punk AF, my friends. And those Lutherans are pretty neat people.

Just down Market street, there's a big house on a big piece of land on the corner of Market and SE 113th. It may have been a farmhouse when the land out this way was farms, who knows. It's certainly old enough. And the property itself could be some sort of arboretum. And they usually have signs in their amazingly big front yard. And this is what they had when I drove past today:


Head and heart on the right place, and hands? They sure won't be voting GOP in November. These signs are bright and visible and they've changed over time, and nobody ever hassles them or steals them.

Punk AF.

And, on two stop signs, one at the corner of SE 117th and Market and 117th and Hawthorne Blvd, there are Trump stickers. Now, I react negatively to such things, and told the Brown Eyed Girl, but she pointed out that they actually read STOP TRUMP in that way.

Indeed.


So, if you come out 122nd and Market way, Mill Park, remember, we only look sedate and banal. But, just below that bland exterior, we're kind people who generally wish you well

Yeah, we're punk AF that way. Can you handle us?

25 June 2020

No Wonder The President's Upset At The Media

3703I mean, it's not easy, given our President's character, to be charitable toward critics. Or anyone, really; this is a man, after all, who makes family members sign NDA's, which brings together family with all the warmth of the necessity of having to hide embarrassing secrets from the public. But, really, shouldn't NBC Washington Staff and Associated Press be reporting, and not pulling down statues?


In closing and in conclusion, let me just say that an indifferent CMS (Democratic Underground, in this case), can write some of the best absurdist flash fiction today.

(NB for those still unclear, no, we know that the statue of Pike was not pulled down by NBC Washintgon Staff and the AP and that the President's hatred of the media is because they see what he's really a-doin')

Swedish Fish: Collect The Entire Set

3702Staffing with Swedish Fish is important. Oh, if your needs are small, I guess you can go with the basic staff, but sometimes you can't just stop at getting the basic Swedish Fish ...


... you have to get them some assistants, too.

23 June 2020

NE 82nd Avenue Today

3701It's just a couple of pictures of NE 82nd Avenue, between Burnside and Glisan, across the street from Vestal Elementary School. I do love pictures that center a notable thing, and sometimes, that notable thing ... is no-thing. It is what it, as they say in the aphorism that's becoming used to the point of being worn out, is.

This sort of picture I enjoy because taking shots of telephone poles at a close angle to the line is the sort of image that is as urban to be as anything. It has its own visual rhythm and rhyme.


I found the looking down 82nd toward Glisan from where I was standing very pleasant. I had a lull between traffic signals and could step out in the street for a brief instant. I wasn't trying to get deserted-pandemic street, it just kind of happened this way.




Street Art, NE 82nd and Couch

3700At 103 NE 82nd Avenue, corner Couch, in Portland, there is a building which once housed a Vietnamese tofu restaurant.

And on that building is some of the most exquisite street art I've seen in many a day.


The work, attributed to IWS Crew is both trippy and sinister. For example, on the south end of the building, well ... I'm sure I'm not the only person who wants to know what that tree is on, but I'm sure a lot of people want to have them some. Especially because it apparently allows you to communicate with extraterrestrials.


Meanwhile, the centerpiece of the work apparently is some sort of cautionary tale about being too habituated to being logged in.


Either way, the whole thing is well-done, and looks as though it was commissioned at some point. After the restaurant closed, some local posers added their own touches ... not one of them looking too professional next to IWS Crew's work.

21 June 2020

Drawing the Saint Johns Bridge, Part 2

3699I continue to extend the work on the Saint Johns Bridge drawing.

I am half going with my eyes and half going with my gut, just like I did with Mt Saint Helens. Since the trusses of the span are rather complex, I'm taking it little by little, and it's proceeding as such. But just like I finally decided to push through and go for broke on the Mt Saint Helens drawing, it seems to have done the trick here.

I guess I just didn't trust myself as much then.


Maybe I should have started over with an undistressed piece of Bristol. Oh, well, I'm all in on it now.

The Ziggurats From Four Miles Out: NE 57th And Sandy

3698Portland is a city which, to the Oregon mind, sprawls, but is still personal-sized. Herewith another example.

Portland's got an angle. It's not an insider's angle though, and it's easily findable by anyone on any map; it's called Sandy Boulevard. Starting at SE 7th and Washington and through the Parkrose district, where it more aligns with the Columbia River, Sandy Boulevard is a great diagonal. Rising from the east side center of town to what was once merely the northeast corner at about 30 degrees, it cuts through all walks of Portland life; from the affluent to the merely prosperous, it connects all.

It's more than five miles worth of fork intersections and small flat-iron shaped buildings, has one television studio, it's main-street Hollywood District, its a small clutch of Asian restaurants up near 72nd, the Pirate's Cove with the huge jug-shaped building, it's the good, the bad, the ugly, it's as iconic as any Portland arterial.

Portland's Wilshire Blvd, really, in a way.

It also surmounts the comparatively flat eastside's actually-rather-undulating geography. As one moves east from the Hollywood District's business center, you go up a very long climb, which levels out at NE 57th Avenue. Here, at the crest of the Alameda ridge, you look back the way you came, and you have an extraordinarily interesting POV on Portland's City Center. Thus:


This is just about four miles away from that red rocketship-shaped building. Iconic Portland landmarks you can see from here is that rocketship (the KOIN Center), and the stalwart Wells Fargo Tower on the right. Visible in front of the KOIN Center is the new Multnomah County Courthouse. Just to the right of that, recognizable by its tilted chapeau, is the Edith Green/Wendell Wyatt Federal Building. Right and alongside that is the bland striped buffness of One Main Place. That's the south side of downtown.

To my right here, out of shot, is a lawn and within that lawn is a plinth in front of the German-American Society, and at one time upon that plinth was a statue of George Washington, but then the protests came and began serious iconoclasm. The statue, pulled down, has been pulled off the field of play. We wish it well.