02 December 2013

[PDX_Photos] Hillsdale Center … Shopping Center, Old School.

2969.On Saturday this weekend, The Wife™ and myself struck out for Hillsdale Art Supply Company. That was a good thing to do, but more on that in the next missive.

I was smitten at once by the charming, well-kept, and dated (in the good way) architecture I saw there. It really is a genteel gem, and it hasn't been covered over with a layer of development cruft accompanied by how some things 'just need to be updated'.

I like having old things about that are well-kept and sweet in that way. Living in a place that gets stamped out of a die every five years as the moods change leads to that evil of evils … tedium, monotony. Portland has history and lets it hang out.

I give you the Hillsdale Center, which may be found on the north side of Southwest Capitol Highway just west of Southwest Sunset Boulevard, in what amounts to downtown Hillsdale.

The thing that cued me of the vintage of the place was that lovely, sublime roof line. Accented in teal, I was all of a sudden called back to when I was a kid, a time when the American ideal was a dapper fellow at work, all suit-n-tie, and his well-attired wife was going to the shops, stopping in at a beauty salon here, a stationer's shop there, and the post office … and there's still a post office station here in this little shopping center.

I remember being a kid in Silverton, going to the JCPenney store downtown (hard to believe there was ever one in Silverton, but there was), and the hardware store, and the pharmacy.

It was a gentle time.

The thing I noticed the most about Hillsdale Center was just how neat and trim everything was. Oh, it's in a tony (yeah, I said it, Onion, and I say it regularly!) part of town where the incomes are rather high-middling to just-plain-high, so maybe they have the throw-weight to demand the rents that keep if spiffy, but it is nice.

And old-school, as I said. Submitted for your approval, the Jade Dragon Chinese Restaurant. Old school, and proud of it.

It anchors the building closest to the corner of Cap Highway and Sunset Boulevard with massive authority. I adore this edifice. I love the way the corner looks like a hinged wall of LEGOs, and I love the way the paint job accentuates the entry. Do I need to also mention that I'm absolutely smitten with the two huge ideograms centered up near the roof line there?

Reviews of the restaurant on Google+ et alia suggest that the food quality is mediocre. We apparently all consider ourselves such foodies that only the most sublime restaurant experiences garner even the most tepid approbation from us. Bull. Those of use who live in the actual world know that mediocre food in just the right context can be sublime.

We shall therefore, perforce, be visiting there for lunch one Saturday when next we pay a visit to Hillsdale Art Supply. We expect to enjoy this. The rest of you can shut up and enjoy your P.F. Chang's and be all pretentious and locavore-y.

And one amusing aspect of the layout is the sheer topography of it. As witness:

The slope you see here is looking down from near the entry to the rear parking lot off Sunset Boulevard. This slope is, as in many photos, much steeper than it looks. I'm no civil engineer (if I was an engineer I'd make quite a nifty nasty and obnoxious one, I just know) but that slope has got to be more than the mythical 6% that's so popular on the road signs. Immediately to my left in that building is a liquor store, just over from that, the post office, and the art supply store just beyond that.

I find it utterly charming that the solution to having a walking path at the side of the building that doesn't include steps, which would be inaccessible to anyone without a perfectly operable pair of legs, is to delineate it on the street with that red line fimbriated in white. One can see that it opens into a crosswalk extending across the walkway to the line of parking spaces.

Indeed, it seems like parts of this would be suitable for Italian mountain goats to shop in.

Never mind. We are smitten with this cute shopping complex never the less.

I mean, they call it the West Hills, not the West Plains.

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