30 March 2021

A Street-Address Map Of Silverton, Oregon


This is a major signpost in a process that's been developing all my life, really. I don't say this just to be dramatic although I do like to write as though I'm saying things to be dramatic.

City street maps have always been my jam, and, in a life full of plans that went nowhere, I'd say #1 of those was to become a mapmaker. No matter how you get those skills, and I'm self-taught there, there isn't exactly a place that accepts applications to be a mapmaker, and I am beyond shabby in my skills at making connections and networking.

I remember one time, many years ago, applying for a job with surveyors with the City o'Portland. I knew enough of surveying and mapmaking to get an interview, but I must have seemed like the most egregious poser because an interview is as far as it got. C'est la guerre, mon frere. But, during all those years, but not so much latterly (which the Brown Eyed Girl will tell you is one of my biggest problems) I dashed off a prodigious number of make-believe city maps, played with street grids, and all that.

The results are lost to time except in my memory, and I am incredible for map memory (as the Brown Eyed Girl will also tell you).

Early in life, I was born. This was a great relief to my mother who may now point out that if we did things according to my schedule, I'd have waited until I was, at a minimum, twelve. And that occurred in the Willamette Valley backcountry metropolis of Silverton. This was a peculiar place for someone obsessed with street layouts and address grids to be; McEachern's Silverton: the Morphology of an Oregon town hints at the amazing textual variety contained within Silverton's snowflake-like street plan - nothing regular about it,  a combination of little bits and parts that don't really mesh with each other.

The street grid of Silverton can be inscrutable even to the native-born. This is a point I plan on exploring going forward. It's been a curious trip. Anyway, my exploring this has resulted in the map you see embedded here: the first map I think anyone's ever made that sets out, nearly block-by-block the street addresses you can expect to find in Silverton, Oregon.

It's about a 2.3 Mb PNG and here it is:

To make it I hacked apart a PDF copy of the Oregon Dept of Transportation map of Silverton, which I was able to load into the Inkscape application and editing all the street names into a mixed-case font I liked more than was provided, then, with the aid the public GIS at the City of Silverton's website, figured out where the blocks should go, and plopped an obliqued set of red digits there (this was a common them in the maps of California cities that the AAA's California branch produced and I've always rather liked it).

This is a product which is useful even though it's not a finished thing, there's some detail there outside of town I want to add in and I can do it on a 2nd pass.

It also got me of thinking of ways to renumber and quadrant the town so as to make the address layout a little less inscrutable. But Silverton's street address plan is, as it is, quirky and interesting without being too confusing (that's the beauty of smaller-area towns like Silverton). And this too is something I'll be exploring as a thought experiment roping in a few insights from planning documents I've traipsed across in my intellectual travels.

But for now, here, a most unique map. I enjoy this. And even though I was never able to become a professional map maker, I can at least now say I've put something out there. 

28 March 2021

Man, Woman, Mt Tabor, and City View, Circa 2010


Today's throwback photo: A man and woman sharing time on a bench with a view of the tree-covered Hawthorne District and downtown Portland as it was then beyond. A western exposure from the brow of Mount Tabor.

Many things have soured about my beloved home town, but as long as there's places like Mount Tabor and Mount Tabor Park and views like this, then it's still my beloved Portland.

122nd Tent Colony At The Old Safeway


Once upon a time, not too awful long ago, there was a Safeway at 122nd and NE Glisan. Then, after several years of patronage by the surrounding neighborhood, Safeway decided that, despite the demand, just one Safeway - two miles south, at Powell Boulevard - is plenty Safeways enough for DavidDouglasLandia. 

Suspicions of a pattern of disinvestment in this area by large merchants who do not think some areas are worth their time come to mind. I shall file them for the nonce.

Since that time, other tenants have moved in alongside the still-vacant supermarket. They are more refugees of the present storms that tear at us all. And they've been here a while.

This stretches from just the corner of the defunct Safeway branch down to the corner of NE Davis Street there, and a little bit in front of the old Ron Tonkin Grand Turismo place, now known as Jordan Motorsports. This is basically across the street from Ron Tonkin's historic landmark dealership and sign.

They will stay there, doubtless, until someone finally takes the problems that put them there to begin with seriously on a systemic basis ... or they get swept, which ever comes first.

And it Portland, it's typically the sweep. 

No, I have no cheerful and witty play-out for this missive. This is the planet we live on, guys. 

The Auto Service Bay Doors So Nice They Named Them Twice


Seen on the facade of Rustom Nissan, on NE 122nd between Multnomah and Halsey, across from Courtesy Ford (the erstwhile site of Marv Tonkin Ford):

What'll it be, pal? You want double the service, or double the express? Carol Merrill is not here to help you choose, door one or door two?

There must be a subset of you had ONE job that ends in 'You know, that's so goofy ... we think we'll leave it like that".

Gets bloggers pulling out the camera, anyhow. So it goes.

Covid Vaccination Drive-Thrus At The Old 122nd Kmart?


It was reported in the media very very recently that the State of Oregon have opened a drive-through Covid vaccidnation site at Clackamas Town Center. I've heard of some people going there. I've heard also that it works really well, so this is good news. More people vaccinated, tougher time for the coronavirus, better time for us all around.

Now, here, out 122nd way, at NE Sandy Blvd, we used to have a Kmart, the last Kmart in the Portland area, I think it was. how it hung on through the wave after wave of closings, I couldn't tell you - access to the location was problematic at best, with 122nd and Sandy coming together as they do, and no possibility for a left hand turn-in from 122nd southbound. But it was the sole survivor, and now it's gone and only its big box remains. 

Although this morning I spied something other than else:

... a phalanx of five drive-through popups each indentically paired with a small tent beside and with lanes defined by orange cones leading into and out.

I'm no epidemiologist, but I'd say we're about to replicate the Clackamas Town Center idea, and I find this most encouraging and exciting.

There's a new crew in charge in the country, and they're getting the job done.

23 March 2021

Downtown Portland from the Lloyd District, circa 2010


I just downloaded about 700, a little more, photos from a Kodak EasyShare camera's card that I found that I had taken in 2010.

Eleven years ago.

So, periodically, when the creative writing well is dry, I'll dip back into this folder and share a shot. Some of them are quite mundane, but they all come from the period of about 2010 through 2013, and some of them are obviously different, and several of them are impossible to reproduce because Portland's growth has become glandular in these latter days: either there's a building in the way, or there's a building on top of where it happened.

This particular one was taken in 2010 from the floor of the Red Lion Hotel near the Lloyd Center that that year's OryCon had its Hospitality Suite on. The view from the window at the elevator lobby was always splendid and gave a great angle. This day, there were clouds muscling over the West Hills that also bulk up behind the downtown towers.

Not only has the profile of downtown Portland changed, likely as not, there's now a high-rise between this viewpoint and downtown, so this is an impossible shot now.

Bridge in the foreground is the Burnside. There are now several high-rise apartment towers that would obscure that view. 

We must go up there, get a 'today' shot, and I'll post them side-by-side. Stay tuned for that.

20 March 2021

The Northside Street Names, They Are a-Changin'


Springtime, and the City of Portland's fancy turns to renaming streets.

Well, maybe not every springtime. But I remember May, about a year ago, where the CoP created a short-ton of new street names by the simple expedient of re-christening streets in the leading-zero segment of SW as S. Goodbye, SW Macadam Avenue; Hello, S Macadam Ave. Well, they're at it again.

Perhaps with an eye toward some sort of increased development in the city's far north margin, the CoP has deemed it possibly confusing the way street names change on that rim of town. Lombard Street and Columbia Boulevard, together, define a rather hard edge to the north side of town; south of these two streets, north and northeast neighborhoods march in stately array, and are abruptly ended at these arterials and the railroad line they dance around. North of this, the Columbia floodplain, meadows, a major international raceway which is also the site of Vanport City, industrial tracts, auto salvage yards, a branch of the Oregon State Dept of Corrections, and Portland International Airport. And I suppose it can be a bit disorienting:

Starting at Kelley Point, where North Marine Dr bends south to become the outermost end of N Lombard Street, said street descends inward, goes through a bit of a chicane, and becomes N. Columbia Blvd. If you fail to turn right on N Burgard Rd, it's Columbia Blvd upon which you'll remain. Turn on Burgard, however, go through another turn, and the name changes once again to Lombard. Now, in the business district of Saint Johns, Lombard pics up the US 30 BYP shield, which debouches onto N Philadelphia Ave from the Saint Johns Bridge, then for the next seven (give or take) miles, maintains the name Lombard Street from N going into NE, then, and this is unheralded, once you pass the NE 47th Ave overpass, you are no longer on NE Lombard Street but NE Portland Highway (the name is borrowed from the official ODOT name for the road). 

The road remains NE Portland Highway until the wide curve passes you by NE 72nd Avenue; it' s NE Killingsworth Street after that, until its terminus at NE Sandy Blvd in central Parkrose. 

There are other anomalies; the most irritating (a mild irritation to be sure) being the small snakey part of Columbia that starts at NE 89th and (for now, anyway) Killingsworth and ducks under the railroad trestle there by the Airport Holiday Inn to join old Columbia Blvd. This minuscule road is called NE Columbia Parkway. Just that. No other part of the road.

To fix and rationalize all this, the City o'Portland has devised a thing called the Columbia-Lombard Wayfinding Project and this simple thing aims to fix this by doing, majorly, the following:
  • Renaming the part of Lombard Street at the city's extreme northwestern corner, alongside Port of Portland Terminal 5 and Kelley Point, as N Columbia Blvd.
  • Eliminating the names of N Burgard Rd, NE Portland Hwy and NE Killingsworth St. east of NE 72nd Avenue in favor of a unified N/NE Lombard St along this entire length.
  • Small street renames and adjustments to tributary streets.
The result is a Columbia Blvd that runs unbroken from Kelley Point all the way to NE 89th Avenue and a Lombard Street that runs unbroken from just west of Saint Johns all the way into Parkrose. This CoP illustration will make it a bit more graphically clear:

As someone who has lived in the city for almost forty years and has been addicted to the Portland street grid for longer than that, I can see the practicality of it, but I'll miss the quirkiness of having a road neither originating from outside or nor necessarily travelling toward or away from this town being called Portland Highway (there's a "N Portland Road" that exists similarly, so not all is lost). Also, seeing a level segment of Lombard defining the 5500 block north of Burnside will take a little getting used to.

But, just a little more than one year out, this will be the new reality. 

Update your maps, kids. 

10 March 2021

Veranda PBN Progress, Plate 1


The first step, as I've said before, in completing a PaintWorks project, is to cover the black area and then the gray area.

I don't know if that's best practices or not, but they are the most optically-attractive part of the design, and compel me to go there first. Tonight, I covered the black areas (leaning over to check if I've closed the black paint pot, yes, yes, I did).

And thinking of the parenthetical in the statement above makes me want to point out one of the ways in which PaintWorks quality really shines out. These are acrylic paints, as are the vast majority of PBN kits you'll find today (when I was a kid they were as likely as not oil paints, as some of my stained shirts of the time would attest). Acrylics are versatile, mix handily, give themselves to a bunch of effects that look like watercolor or oil, but they dry quick, yo, and once they do, they're literally a sort of plastic. You can't thin them down or reuse them like watercolors.

I've lost at least one PBN paint pot this way. Forgetting to cap your paint at the end of a sesh might just cost you that pot. In the pot, though, PW paints dry slow enough that if you leave it uncapped overnight, you won't necessarily lose that color. You do have to put some water in there, thin it out, and make sure you cap it; dry acrylic paint is dry acrylic paint. But, you leave this open overnight, you don't necessarily lose it.

Don't take that for granted though. Like I just day, dry acrylic paint is dry acrylic paint. I have a paint morguefile, but not everyone does. Be careful about this. 

Judgmental Tabi The Art Kitten Is Judgemental


While I was setting up my next PBN experience the current studio kitty, Tabitha, who has become very warm and affectionate (if still a little spazzy) as she evolves into the family, stopped by to, if they look on her face is any indication, render judgement:

The judgement is more than likely you're making it hard for me to get to the windowsill, pal. I have rights, you know. 

Those scallop shells have hung there for so long that I've kind of accepted them into the ylem of my existence. I think they came from my time in the SCA, as a site token, I'm pretty sure, actually, but have forgotten which event. But I love scallop shells, probably from all those gas stations we fuelled at while I was growing up. 

The New PBN: PaintWorks 79-91437, Veranda, Dempsey Essick


We parked on the downhill when completing Cat Signs, so we shall proceed with velocity into the next project. 

Allow me to introduce you to PaintWorks #97-91437, Veranda, design credited to on Dempsey Essick. The box perforce:

The scene suggests something of the atmosphere of Dixie, a hint of genteel living with the horse and buggy in the distance in the trees on the right.

There's something to that Southern note. The artist, Dempsey Essick, is based in Lexington, North Carolina. The artist's (who retired in 2015) work sounds a long, warm note featuring hummingbirds and other flying critters, serene rural scenes and pastoral Southern buildings lushly attended by the foliage one expects to find near them. 

Here, now, on my much-beloved palette, the 18 colors that come with the set, in the wonderfully-designed PaintWorks pots. I love this design; easy to find colors, easy to keep organized. Also the brush which, while of a higher quality than most PBN kits you'll find, still doesn't quite satisfy; I use my own, usually a #2 round for acrylics and watercolors. I've found the most satisfaction with the "Gray Matter" brand, for what that's worth.

And last, but not least, the piece itself, the panel ready to accept the paint. 20-by-14, standard for PaintWorks' larger pieces; as usual, what stands out are the areas where black is supposed to go, and the gray areas where the secondary color note will be placed.

The deck area of the veranda I'm anticipating with both excitement and trepidation. There the borders between the colors is dotted, calling for drybrushing for creating soft blends between the colors, and this really creates the effect of a shiny, painted deck. I have so far struggled with drybrushing so I'm looking forward to confronting this and making a real effort to master the technique here.

Also note the wide-open unnumbered area on that deck. Unnumbered areas usually mean you're going to paint them white (sometimes what's unnumbered on the panel is numbered on the diagram due to space and clarity issues, so confirming on the diagram is always essential) and that's just what's going to happen here. I will, however, not be applying the white; as I learned long ago, when you're painting in acrylic or watercolor, the white of the paper or panel is almost always sufficient. It simplifies things, and also demands a certain amount of caution; the fix for accidentally painting the area may mean you have to paint that area white anyway to make it look totally right. 

The color approach and theme of the piece is something outside of what I usually like to go for, so this is a little outside my comfort zone, but it's exciting and as a completed piece, should like quite lovely.

So, on we go. 

09 March 2021

Cat Signs PBN Progress, Plate 6 and Final


This is it, the end product of the PaintWorks kit 73-91655, Cat Signs:

You want to pet the cat, don't you? Of course you do.

Now, on to the next person, place, or thing. 

08 March 2021

Cat Signs PBN Progress, Plate 5


This is Cat Signs at the closing bell this morning. 

It's all starting to feel quite cosy (I'm choosing the British spelling for reasons) isn't it? The Craven "A" sign and the wood of the wall in back generate quite a bit of warmth.

Just the quilt in the SE corner and the outside-the-window in the NW to go. That NW corner I'm going to take a bit of care with, as there is, yes, yet again, my old nemesis, dry-brushing to be done there. But I approach the challenge with joy and a sense of adventure. 

Portrait Of The Kitteh As An Old Dude


This is Octavius, our senior boi, in the studio with both me and the Brown Eyed Girl, today:

He usually gets his old-boi food when me and the missus are hanging out in the studio. He is, however, not getting fed right now ... and he has questions.

"Mewr. Meowr." 

Like that.

Cat Signs PBN Progress, Plates 3 and 4


This last weekend was a busy one, in the way that a work colleague who's healing up from a serious injury had to call out twice and I wound up working one 11-hour day and one 10-hour day on very short notice and I didn't even feel like doing much reading or writing so I got up to the PBN easel and filled in some more color ...

... and it felt good. 

These are the last two checkpoints on Cat Signs, and the whole thing is coming together with a shout, I must say.

In the first one, plate 3, I begin filling in the labels on the old boxes that support the box the fuzzbutt is smugly reclining in. 

I can also tell now that this is a very British shorthair. How? Google makes it easy. Googling Craven "A" Cigarettes and Pelaw tell me that both brands are British with a long history of popularity. The tobacco brand, Wikipedia tells me, was manufactured in Britain by a subsidiary of British American Tobacco, and, Wikipedia also tells me, the founder of Pakistan smoked 50 per day even when ill with tuberculosis, and Charles deGaulle rather fancied them after being deprived of his usual brand during exile in World-War-Deuce. 

It also tells me it was named after the third Earl of Craven, though not why. 

I also gather that Pelaw is a brand of polishes that have been around for a very very long time. I've found references to metal polish and shoe polish and it was apparently quite beloved for a very long time.

I know not what the Lyons' refers to.

After detailing the labels under the moggy we turn the corner and begin filling in the quilt int he corner and the tools and tool-shed impedimenta in the northeast corner of the panel. It's at that point the work really starts to pop for me and take on that impression of space and volume, that magic moment in doing these that I love so much. 

Gonna enter the home stretch very soon now. 

04 March 2021

Cat Signs PBN Progress, Plate 2


It was my goal to fill in the kitty cat in the picture. 

Mission: accomplished. 

Beatific smile, scritchable fur, ears that beg for fondling, boopable nose; it's all there. The colors are very well designed here; the lighter colors aren't too far apart from each other but have enough contrast to produce that beloved tabby pattern. The darkest color, a very very shaded brown, gives the perfect counterpoint to the light cream and buff colors. It's a pleasure, this cat.

Where they fits, they sits; if you don't have scritches or treats, it's OK, make an appointment for later and they will pencil you in if you promise to have the proper accessories at that time.

Cat Signs PBN Progress, Plate 1


This is the first stage of Cat Signs: 

The PaintWorks paintings, as usual, start with the black areas colored black (and those are psychologically attractive so I did that first) then the next dominant color, in gray. That, this time, was a mustard-golden-yellow, and we could predict, if we hadn't first looked at the picture on the box, that this was going to predominate in warm, happy tones. 

The lovely vintage typography, labelling,and signage is already evident.