19 September 2017

[pdx] Sellwood Bridge: We Love Our River

The river traffic was fairly bustling this day in 2017.

There's a line out of Ursula K. LeGuin's The Lathe of Heaven, after Dr. Haber begins toying with reality via George Orr's dreams. He's in his new office suite, overlooking Portland and the river, and Heather Lelache has just witnessed, with knowledge, Orr's dream rewrite the reality of a 21st-century, overbuilt, overpolluted Portland into the Portland that's more like it was back in the 70s, and Haber relates how he, in the new reality, came out to Oregon, and the thing that stuck with me from that scene was the line:

The ecosystem out here was still fairly intact.

And that came to mind as I looked out and saw the blue sky and the water of what was once one of the most polluted rivers in America, the Willamette, a river that's all Oregon's, and that we are as proud of to have as we are proud to be able to pronounce it correctly.

The Willamette is a pulchritudinous river along her entire length from Eugene through Salem to Portland, but it attains a certain mightiness north of Willamette Falls. Not only that, it's influenced by ocean tides ... there's a gentle tidal bore that causes the river to go up and down from the mouth all the way up to the falls at Oregon City.

I was skeptical, then me and my wife spent an lazy afternoon watching the water rise off Sellwood Riverfront Park. Then I was just boggled. Still am.

There wasn't just pentiful fun craft frolicking on the river, but there was some serious work going on under the bridge as well. This crew seemed to be doing some sort of maintenance on the bridge pier:

Men with hard hats on the barge, marine industrial equipment of every description, but it was the bubbling coming up near the top of the picture that intrigued me the most.

Wondered what they were doing down there. Still do.

Meanwhile, Maria kept everything snug and in place. What a cute little boat she is, too.

We love our river.

We're positively ... ah, Chipper about it.

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