29 April 2021

Stark Street, Downtown Montavilla, April 2021


This is a picture I've taken before but I was in the right spot today, so I took it again. 

This was part of me and the Brown Eyed Girl's sojourn to get her her 2nd Pfizer Covid vaccine dose, amongst other things. I did a bunch of walking. And, in the afterglow of known my spouse is fully vaccinated, and all the errands are run, I have about 160 photos taken on the day ... the most productive in a while.

I think the farthest one can see here at this angle is about SE 92nd Avenue; this was taken where Stark and Washington devolve from SE Thorburn Street at abut SE 74th. So, about a mile.

More, as usual to come. Also a few more views of Rocky Butte. 

27 April 2021

On A Clear Day, You Can See Vancouver


I guess I'm on a Rocky Butte tear today. So be it.

The majority of the sightline pictures of my Rocky Butte posting flux were looking east, and I suppose I have an excuse for that, as the Cascade Range is simply a fantastic thing to gaze at and I every day thank the cosmic chance that caused me to come to be here, in this area, because visually I never tire of being alive here. 

Looking east from Rocky Butte is engaging, for different reasons. You look upon Portland's undulating east side, ranks of houses and streets, many many trees, and there's always north of the Columbia.

Dig, if you will ...

I will now amuse myself (and bemuse you, the reader) by pointing out some things in the photo.

That blue swath across the middle is, of course, the mighty Columbia. On this side of the river, closest in, that area of beige flat-top industrial buildings shows where NE Killingsworth St (at this time next year, NE Lombard St, remember) runs east from 82nd. That peculiar-looking double-humped building, the blue gray edifice, is the Boeing Paint Hangar. 

Yep, that's where planes get painted. Also visible there are some jets, presumably in the finishing stages, and to the right of those, the clear area just south and west of PDX, which is a good place to put a Brobdingnagian painting booth for your jet planes. 

The bridge right about dead-center in the photograph is the Interstate Bridge, carrying I-5 over the river into Washington. We'll be replacing that bridge in the next few years, unless we don't, like what happened the last time. Stay tuned there.  And just above and left of that is the railroad bridge, and just beyond that, another shipping ship. 

North bank: you'll notice some tall structures there. This is adjacent to downtown Vancouver, but it's not downtown Vancouver, its the port facilities that I picted a few weeks ago from the other side, from Kelley Point. Vancouver city center is the collection of low-slung blocky shapes immedately to the right of that. Vancouver city center is in a state of flux; they're building a new waterfront district, and developer money is flowing into the area like mad, and there's no plans for new high-rises, but the place is on the grow. 

Backing it all up on the horizon is that spur of the Coast Range we call the Tualatin Mountains, that part of which you'll find Forest Park in.

Wy'East Over Morning Traffic


A throwback to December 2019: Wy'east, on a chill morning, while I was still using the ten-toe express to get to and from werk, during the Time-Of-No-Olivia.

I hated not having the VW (and it was causing no small amount of stress) but the scenery was a compensation.

Anyone reading this? I've a suggestion. Live your life as though you were a tourist there. Sight-see your world even if you've seen it a billion times before. I can only speak for myself here, but in a life in which I hunger for, and am largely bereft of artistic stimulation (we proles don't need art, you see), it's gotten me a hell of a long way. 

Joseph Wood Hill, Himself


A hard-to-miss feature of Joseph Wood Hill Park is this; a monument with the face of the man who is its namesake.

Joseph Wood Hill came to Oregon in the late 1800s and opened a military academy in what is now NW Portland in 1901. Subsequently, in 1931, it moved to the foot of Rocky Butte, on its NW side; the Hill Military Academy existed there until 1959. The property, including many of the old buildings, is populated by the Portland Bible College and the northeast Portland branch of City Bible Church. 

Many of the street names in the area around where NE 92nd Avenue and Fremont Street merge were inspired by the presence of the old military academy.

Just The Balustrade At Joseph Wood Hill Park, Is All


No animating imperative behind this photo except that the charming lamp posts, the curving balustrade, the pleasing shadow cast by said balustrade, an the evergreens beyond seemed to want to be in a picture.

The air is fair at the top of Rocky Butte. 

26 April 2021

A Casual Review: Princeton "Snap!" and Select Brushes


Though I never became the major influencer that I thought I'd become, I do use supplies and I do like them and like to tell other people about them, perforce I have an opinion and the 'Web is all about that.

As an aspiring artist, I use brushes. And when one starts out inventing themselves as such, one tends to hear advice reducing to don't shy away from spending what you can for the best you can get, which is true per se but doesn't help you home in on brands and varieties and price ranges and such, which is probably what you really wanted to know. Along the way, you'll hear sirens songs of sable brushes, blandishments to care properly for your brushes and they'll last forever (and if you let your acrylic dry in them, you'll just have an expensive stick), and sizes and shapes and whatnot. It's all a bit confusing.

Here's my experience so far.

When was painting the little acrylic 50-Paintings series (a few of which I have left to do) I got a bunch of Royal & Langnickel "Zen" brushes. They're fun to use but as I use them, I find the bristles don't stand up to regular use like I'd hoped. R&L is one of the more value-priced companies, and have achieved a certain reputation in the makeup world, and are inexpensive in the good way in the artist range, but it's a brand you start out with while you get acquainted with what's out there, and terminology and such.

The handles to Zen brushes are the prettiest mirrored ABS plastic, which makes them fun to look at, but one of mine has had the shiny outside start to peel off. And the bristles are prone to splaying out, even if you do take care of them.

Richeson "Gray Matter" brushes ... called as such because the neutral gray color of the bristles are supposed to visually facilitate using your color ... are more satisfying, however, they're harder to come by. And just getting a #2 round doesn't meant you'll get the same size: they have different series. They do perform well, though, and are a little higher priced though not egregiously so.

So, hop skip and jump through a thumbnail of my artist brush experience so far brings me where? Princeton Art Brush Company. They have two ranges that I'm really quite loving just now, and here is a picture of my latest:

Dig if you will this picture of three round brushes. The one at the top, with the blue handle, is a Princeton Select Artiste #2 round. The other two with green/black/blue handles, are Princeton SNAP! brushes, a #0 Round and #2 Round. All three employ synthetic fibres for bristles, and they are all intended for acrylic/watercolor work.

These are really splendid for beginners looking for a brush with a serious feel to them. I use these small rounds quite a lot of my paint-by-numbers doings, and they give me a control and precision that navigating some of those small spaces require. The Artiste Select is a moderately-priced brush with a short handle, the Snap! brushes feature a fibre called white taklon and each of these lovelies is a long-handled model ("9800 series") and I got them because I like the long handles and also I could use those for oil painting if so inclined. The bristles on all three are nice and springy and hold their shape and a fine point if needed.

Also? The prices on the Snap! brushes are all less than $10 each, most less than $5 each, which is a boon for beginning artists wanting a good quality brush for not a lot of money. 

I got mine at Artist & Craftsman Supply on SE 21st off Powell, which we have become very fond of.

So ... inexpensive but not cheap, worth it if you want to get into art without breaking the bank just yet. Hard to to better at this price point. Recommended.

A Long Look Down 122nd


I enjoy taking long looks like this with tight, small angles on long lines of power poles and such. My Canon PowerShot is a very capable point-n-shoot, but it lacks an obvious way to take anything like a telephoto shot. So I choose angles and use the perspective I have at hand.

Sort if 'in-camera', as filmmakers might say.

NE 122nd by Rossi's has this nice long stretch of straight sidewalk going uphill, so it also offers just plain eye-catching changes in surface and angle. 

Also, there's a bus stop sign there. Which is nice.

The 73 is the 122nd Ave bus, which I got to know intimately when I was Olivia-less for a while. 

The Airway Beacon Atop Rocky Butte


I'm not through with Rocky Butte and Joseph Wood Hill Park just yet. There's some more interesting things to point out.

There is, as I've mentioned before, and airway beacon at the top. It still works and operates most nights. I imagine it's not useful as such, however, it's as charming as all get-out and it's pretty cool to see it turn 360 at night. You can see it from NE 102nd Avenue north of Halsey, or just west of there in the Fremont and 82nd area if you look sharp. 

Of course, one can always get a good view if one goes up-close and personal.

25 April 2021

Olivia, Hanging on a Back Street


Another thing that's at my back when shooting the peak is trusty Olivia, the VW. Over the years, however, the City'o'Portland's idea of where you can temporarily stop while picture-taking and where you can't have assumed vaguely comic proportion; at present, there is now no parking availability on NE 122nd between Fremont and Shaver on either side of the street, and curb parking on Shaver is verboten about 200 feet either side of 122nd.

My strategem in this wise is as follows: Usually coming out of the west along Sandy from downtown Parkrose, south on NE 112th to Shaver, and west on Shaver to the point where the no-parking zone begins, right across the street from the entry to Parkrose HS. 

The walk is a little aggravating, but good for me. I need to walk more. The Brown Eyed Girl will back me up on this opinion.

It does make for a charming portrait, anyway. 

Wy'east, Blanket of Cloud


There hasn't been a 'strictly-Wy'east' post here for a while and the cloud-cover today rather demanded that I rise to meet this challenge. 

The result.

The sky rather like nacre, the summit of the volcano draped in cloud, the clounds in front of that throwing dramatic shadows on the lower slopes of the peak they shaded. 

Flawless, as usual. Is it ever anything else?

The Old Rossi Place


I've taken so many pictures of Wy'east from the corner of NE 122nd and Shaver and have name-checked Rossi Farms more times than I can count and even featured it in a picture or two but I've never really taken a picture that makes the main buildings the star of the show. Well, for that, this:

This is one of the houses, presumably an office of some sort, and the barn of the small, actual-working spread known as Rossi Farms (Since 1880, boasts the sign). It's adjacent to Parkrose High School,and generally speaking clings to the south side of NE Shaver Street between the Parkrose Middle School campus and part the way into the 12600 block, its 24.5 acres (approximately my estimate) riven into asymmetrical halves by the superduperblacktop of NE 122nd Avenue. 

The bigger half, that east of 122nd, is where all the growing occurs. I've seen a variety of things grown there in my going to and fro over the years. The smaller part, west of 122nd, holds the farm's offices and barn and various venues for holding events (there was at one time a small line of Western-style storefronts). Today I saw grape vines and a goat meandering amongst them.

It's always in immaculate shape. And it seems out of place now, but there was a time, about a century ago, and less than that, when the entire landscape between what was then the eastern edge of the city of Portland and whatever there was at the time of Gresham, Fairview, and Troutdale was a patchwork quilt of similar farms.

Rossi Farms. The last farm standing, and an echo of a time when Multnomah County was rife with farmers, just like the rest of the Willamette Valley. 

So it goes.

24 April 2021

29 April 2019, At 57th And SE Division


Those of you hardcore SE Portlanders will remember that, up until late 2019 or early 2020 there was one of the last classic drive-up Dairy Queen burger stands in, hell, the Universe, I guess, at the corner of SE 57th Avenue and Division Street, across from Clinton Park and Franklin High School and Atkinson Elementary. 

It was a burger stand, as in a kitchen in a building and you either parked in the lot and ate or you ate on the tables up front if the weather was nice, or you headed through the drive-through and took your haul to wherever you were going to consume it. Last year (I guess), before the pandemic, they, with little fanfare, began to pull down the ancient little building and I found out by Googling about that they had apparently decided they were going to rebuild in a more modern building, with a 2nd floor because the lot was that small.

At least that's what they said. Who can tell for certain if it's even going to happen anymore. We go by that part of Division occasionally and it's just the old parking lot with a gravel square where the building was and a big steel shipping container alongside, coated in graffiti now, holding things related to the deconstruction presumably. It keeps its own counsel in these matters.

But in April of 2019, me and the Brown Eyed Girl stopped by for a snack or perhaps a burger, and I got some photos of the park across the way, golden in that light. 

That was then. 

That Dairy Queen's burger game was immaculate, my friends. Several minutes down the road, those burgers were still hot, just the right amount of juicy, and always perfectly cooked. 

I suspect they won't be rebuilding, no matter what they meant to do. 

And so it goes. 

Painting a Busy Thing


Painting is a thing that's happening here, as I prepare to dive back into freeform painting and paint an elephant (all in due time, Grasshopper) and I'm doing another PaintWorks work called By The Harbor. in the foreground, an overstuffed antique store on a pier, its charming contents spilling out; beyond, the aforementioned harbor, a schooner moving along through

There is a riot of flowers hanting over the scene. They are a busy, busy thing to paint.

In one of those touches so charmingly PaintWorks, the instructions invite you to personalize the picture if you so feel moved to do so by painting over the outlined words on the panel and painting your own words on the sign.

It still seems liberating the way a programmed activity, paint by numbers, is very subtly subverted by this manufacturer. You can go with the lines and disregard the little techniques and it's still pretty neat when it's done, or you can dance with the techniques and go outside the envelope a little and it's a creative artistic adventure. 

That's why I love this brand so much. You can have your paint-by-number your way, if you want.

20 April 2021

Ralph The Buddha


... starring in That Was Zen; This Is Meow.

Feel the serenity yet? I sure do!

The View From Zach's Shack, June, 2010


If I throwback any harder I may just wind up back in 2010, who knows. A similar artifice worked for Christopher Reeve in Somewhere In Time. So, there's that.

Zach's Shack is a place on the north side of SE Hawthorne Blvd just east of SE 46th Avenue. It specializes in hot dogs and sausage dogs of many varieties, and is a funky space with retro concert posters and funky dogs named after Bob Dylan and New York and Chicago and such. The french fries are incomparable. And it was a nifty dark place to sit and watch Hawthorne Blvd go by.

This was the view out to the street in June, 2010.

Stumbling on this picture excites me because it makes me think of photo-realistic painting and I am planning on doing a painting based on this photo.

It's the way this looks like those snapshot photo-realism paintings I've seen so much of coming from that school. I like the way the SUV across Hawthorne rests on a spot roughly 1/3rd of a way up from the bottom, creating an asymmetrical composition in the classic style.

It's resolved. I'll be painting this soon. 

19 April 2021

Moody Night Shot of the Fremont Bridge, 2007


For our last throwback of the day, here's a view, lens flare through plastic optics and all, of the Fremont Bridge at night, taken on a March night in 2007.

This photo is the perfect backdrop for hard-boiled Portland-style detective tales, retro-future atmospheres, and anything that just needs a moody, after-dark, bridge-lit, fourteen-year-old patina. Contact us for details.

The Hull Of Norm Thompson


Throwback for the day, year 2007, number two.

Norm Thompson. An escape from the ordinary. Sold outdoorsy stuff to upscale shoppers; kind of like an L.L. Bean, only Oregonized. Local until the times changed and it got sold to a big company which sold it to a bigger company which relocated it piece by piece to the east coast until now it's just like Henry Wienhard's and Rainier Beer and Steinfield's and Nalley's: historically Oregon brands that are just some nameplate to be sold back and forth. 

At the time the majority of the company was still here in Oregon but its landmark main store, which was for a very long time on NW Thurman between 18th and 19th Avenues, was left behind as Norm consolidated its operations out in the Tanasbourne area of Hillsboro along Aloclek Drive. 

It had been vacant at this point for some years ... remember, the wave of money and building hadn't gotten as far north as Thurman Street yet, in 2007. And when Norm Thompson left for Hillsboro, in 1995 or so, it took the veneer of the old building along with it, revealing the work that it covered.

Now, it's just ordinary. 

NW Thurman Street in 2007


And now, a few throwback-images. These next three from 2007 ...

In 2007, the place I work for was based in industrial Northwest Portland ... well, it was then. I remember walking around getting a breath of Stadt luft on lunch breaks and such, wandering the edge of the rail yards when they were rail yards and not full of condo silos, and such. Of all the talk of old Portland evolving into new Portland and the Manhattanization of the city center, I must say that from my temporal viewpoint I got to watch development slowly creep that direction like rising sea levels from climate change.

I guess I should have known that the landscape was really about to change when the old tire warehouse across the street became a Montessori school. I wonder if the Dandy Warhol's clubhouse is still in the area and if it is ... congratulations to them. The lease on that thing must be astronomical by now. Courtney Taylor Taylor may have had to sell off one of his Taylors. 

Times are tough all around.

What I lay before you here is a view eastward down NW Thurman Street, looking from NW 19th Avenue. In those days, after hours, nobody went there. Then, eventually some people went there. Now everyone goes there. 

But then? This part of Thurman used to be a through-route with businesses and a tavern or two. In 2007, it was still something of a commercial interregnum.

Just ahead on the right was a place called Premier Gear Works, a commercial machine shop. I understand it's removed to Tualatin or somesuch, maybe Clackamas, I dunno. And it was so deserted that I could stand in the middle of this street pretty much as long as I wanted and compose to my heart's content on that old ViviCam 3705 (3.3 Mpx!) and not be in any danger from any traffic whatsoever. Up and above all this are the ramps tying I-405 and US 30 to the Fremont Bridge.

A thing that was already a relic at that time is just out of shot on the left. And that's something I will exhibit in the next entry.

The Stripes Come To 122nd


And here's what I saw this morning on my way home from graveyard shift, on NE 122nd between Halsey and Holladay:

Pretty good advice, this. Virtually nobody will follow it, but it's good advice. 

18 April 2021

Wy'east And Rocky Butte Lamp Post


... and, of course, where there's Zehnkatzen Blog Post there is eventually Yet Another Photo of Wy'east. This should surprise nobody by now as the mountain is the totemic image to me as it is to George Orr, only his dreams changed everything and mine change very little. 

The composition pretty much suggested itself. I don't think I need explain it any more than that.

There is a thing to point out though. See that little cloud cap on the summit, there? That started forming in earnest at that time ad, while it didn't go into a full lenticular cap, it did persist for the rest of that day, and was pretty amazing. 

Looking Down SW 4th Avenue, ca 2009


I've been looking for this one for a little while, and this is essentially a bit more of the throwback action I've also been doing latterly.

In 2009, the city wasn't being changed as swiftly as it its now; I suppose if I took this photo again today there may be obvious changes, But, as from a pleasant memory, this is a look northward down SW 4th Avenue, downtown Portland, at about SW Mill St. The small Gothic-ish brick construction on the left there is part of Saint Mary's Academy, and the centerpieces are the Portland Plaza condo tower, center left, and the Wells Fargo Tower, center right.

Both were a little iconoclastic for their day; The Portland Plaza (1975) for being weird before Portland liked weird (weird before weird was cool? Totally Portland, yo) and the Wells Fargo for being bland (and those people are sad and wrong and no you should not engage me on this) but these are two signature bits of Portland skyline and I love them dearly and I will fight you.

Mount Shasta, ca. 2009


While travel opportunities have not afforded themselves to me as they have others, I have been a few places that were not Oregon. In this wise, I and the Brown Eyed Girl and some SCA friends went to Sacramento to attend a big heraldic doing back in 2009. And, continuing the theme of Cascade volcanoes which has insinuated this blog as of late, I give you the Cascade Range's second peak: Mount Shasta.

I think I've posted this before, years ago, but I don't feel like diving back right now.  The search itself was inspired by a remark that a fellow member of the Annex Art Society Facebook group made. 

Shasta (indigenous name in the nearly-extinct Karuk tongue of northwestern California: Ãšytaahkoo) is the second-tallest peak in the Cascade Range and almost the southernmost dormant peak in the arc, but for Mt. Lassen. It's summit elevation is 14.179 feet/4,322 m, making it almost 2,000 feet taller than Wy'east; its prominence which, in layman's terms is the difference between the summit elevation and that of the surrounding terrain, is 9,772 ft or 2,979 m, which makes it amongst the most prominent peaks in North America (Wy'east's prominence for comparis is 7,706 feet/2,349 m, also about a 2,000 foot difference). In volume it's the most voluminous stratovolcano in America.

Thus it's strange to me that it doesn't seem to impose, even close up, as Wy'east does from a distance. It does have some unique features in its local geography. One is the flatness of the terrain surrounding it; it's part of the Cascades but extraordinarily isolated for a mountain of its size (the nearest mountain higher than it is White Mountain Peak, about 335 miles away on the California-Nevada border). There's not much nearby for it to compete with.

The relative friendliness of the surrounding relief allows for a thing which must be fairly unique; a major cross-country highway, Interstate 5, comes to within eight or nine miles of the summit. Even on a easy, well-maintained road one comes remarkably close. With the gentle slopes of the foothills giving a largely-unimpeded view, the mountain does not seem, subjectively, as large as it must be. It seems close-up and friendly, rather a large, rather attractively-constructed hill. 

I have other pictures of driving past Shasta on I-5, but I think this is the best one. It not only shows the gentle spread of the shield-shaped peak, but a small dark shadow just right of center allows one to just see the famous satellite-parasitic peak, Shastina; the mountain itself being somewhat muted in the haze of an increasing distance, as we pulled north, headed back to Oregon from Sacramento.  

17 April 2021

Wy'east From Columbia Blvd Traffic


A few chapters ago I promised yet another Wy'east photo, and I have them from Rocky Butte, but I wanted to share this one first.

The aspect of Wy'east, seen through (and despite) a welter of traffic signals and 'phone pole wires and stopped traffic at the intersection of NE Cully Blvd and Columbia Blvd has a certain energy to it, and it tells a story of a most patient mountain. We people have the land and do with it as we will, but Wy'east ... well, Wy'east could the Dude a thing or a million about abiding. 

The peak abides.

Luuit/Mt St Helens, With Rocky Butte Lampposts


The summit of Rocky Butte is, as I may have mentioned, Joseph Wood Hill Park. You get to the top by finding NE Rocky Butte Road off NE 92nd Avenue between Brazee and Russell Streets, or take NE Fremont St east from 82nd and follow it around the City Bible College (which was once the Hill Military Academy, the namesake of the same man who the park was named after). 

Once at the top the road goes around what appears to be a crenelation at the absolute summit: that is the centerpiece of Joseph Wood Hill Park, and where these views I've been sharing can be obtained. Now, during these pandemic seasons, the part of the loop that faces east has been closed, one presumes to prevent too many people from clustering into an ongoing superspreader event. But the park is still accessible, parking now being somewhat limited.

If you do go, mask up. 

Once within the limits of the crenelation, there is an absolute flat area with wide red-pumice paths and an old airway beacon (which is lit and rotates at night) and unparalleled views of outer eastside Portland, and a view of Wy'east only exceeded by that of the Johnsrud viewpoint near Sandy. The rock walls and seating niches are immensely charming. And the lamps on the stone pylons? Incomparable.

They even frame Luuit/Mt St Helens magnificently. 

 This is also a way you can see a lot of IKEA without actually going. Still, It's calendar-worthy.

15 April 2021

Suspishus Fishus, SE Stark at 146th


There's a Franz Bread thrift store we regularly shop at at 146th and SE Stark, and there is a building immediately west of that across a parking lot where quite a few retired and on-the-way-to-the-wrecking-lot big trucks get stored, and the building on that lot is a yellow building that used to have a hotel and motel furniture clearance store. It has not been that store, being vacant now, for several years but the building still wears its signs and colors and occasionally the random street artist will leave their mark, but occasionally the inspired guerrilla wall-flare insurgent with some talent and wit will stop by ... and leave their suspishions on the wall, for all to see.

 If there's a way to angle for the attention of my camera, this isn't a bad one. 

A Piece of I-84 In Rush Hour From A Distance


Another view that makes me think of Rocky Butte as kind of like Council Crest East. Now, Mount Tabor's fine and the neighborhood around it most charming, but the open views are harder to find there.

Outer east Portland is mile upon mile of flattish, open-yet-cozy mid-20th-Century urban semi-sprawl (we corraled that before it got too out-of-hand, I guess). And, in Parkrose, a freeway runs though it.

Just a bit of Portland rush-hour there, on the left hand side of the road one can see the line up, those are commuters trying to get home to Vancouver at a guess ... I do believe those lanes merge into I-205 northbound heading over the Glenn Jackson. 

Cargo Coming In At PDX, As Seen From Rocky Butte, with bonus Luuit


Rocky Butte, according to Wikipedia:

...is an extinct cinder cone butte in Portland, Oregon, United States. It is also part of the Boring Lava Field, a group of volcanic vents and lava flows throughout Oregon and Washington state. The volcano erupted between 285,000 and 500,000 years ago.

Its summit is 613 feet, or 187 metres, ASL: its obstinance in the face of the Missoula floods is what caused a riffle in the alluvial flow driven by those which we know of today as the Alameda Ridge that snakes its way east-northeastward through NE Portland for several miles, defining a number of neighborhoods and the course of a historic NE Portland street known for lovely views and high property values. 

It also has gorgeous views of its own. It takes in at least two major Cascade volcanoes clearly, miles of tree-covered eastern Portland between there and downtown, beautiful stretches of the great Columbia, parts of Vancouver and Camas, and Mount Tabor, if you look the right direction. Yesterday we spent an invigorating hour on the top of it, at Joseph Wood Hill Park, where there's a viewpoint with pumice paths, and over the next handful of blog posts, I'll be sharing these views.

Yes, there will be Wy'east. Just not yet.

The long view today is centered on a landing UPS cargo jet at PDX. The industrial and commercial land going north from the line formed by Sandy Blvd and Columbia Blvd are spread out at ones' feet here; and this all just so happens to be the main approach from the east to PDX itself. You're never late to spot any given plane; just early for the next one. 

In the foreground you have Government Island bisecting the Columbia and I-205 curving along one of the spans of the Glenn Jackson Bridge. Beyond the Columbia is, of course, the slopes encompassing the riverward part of outer Vancouver's Cascade Park nabe. 

Luuit/Mount St Helens should, at this point need no introduction though, at this time of year, still snow-clad, it's on fine form.

08 April 2021

Sandy Blvd As Seen From Council Crest, May 2010


Today's throwback gem returns us to our Council Crest crow's nest of the year 2010 to look at one of Portland's most unique eastside features: Sandy Boulevard. that magnificent diagonal road.

In its entirety it runs from SE 7th and Washington all the way out to Troutdale, the road actually carrying a SE directional from its root to where it crosses Burnside at 12th. As we all may be aware, this was an unbroken road until the Burnside-Couch one-way couplet was decreed, which closed off that first two blocks of NE Sandy, 12th to 14th, and now there's big condo silos there so there will be no going back on this, no, not ever. And, east of 99th in the Parkrose nabe it stops being that magnificent diagonal boulevard and more or less follows the line of the river about a mile north.

The diagonal part, though, is a defining Portland thing for me. No town does diagonal roads quite like Portland does.

The road, ironically, isn't absolutely straight, although it seems that way on maps. The very mild kink in it is easy to miss unless you're looking hard at it. It's obvious on the ground, but not so much from above. And that kink is actually easily observed as in the photo, when you have an acute-angle perspective on it. That bend is where you'll find the Portland nabe known as Hollywood, kind of a downtown for middle-northeast Portland.

Immediately to the right of that, the only high-rise visible in that area, is an apartment complex called Hollywood East; public housing, a 17-story tower at 44th and NE Broadway. And I doubt that it would be obvious even today from this vantage, but a lot of the buildings in Hollywood have been swapped out for other buildings, especially along the north side of Sandy between about 42nd and 47th. 

Beyond that a pale blue streak across the photo denotes the Columbia River, and beyond that? Oh, some part of eastern Vancouver, or Camas perhaps. It's all pretty much the same in that part of Clark County Washington.

06 April 2021

Downtown Portland From Mt. Tabor With Bonus Hawthorne Blvd 2010 Throwback Picture


Last of the throwback treats for the day, this goes back to 2010, and is another composition taken off the brow of Mount Tabor, which is another way Portland's dear to me; I don't get the sort of emotion I get looking at this when I think of any other town I've been in.

In reviewing the photos I'm realizing that that evening, in July 2010, I was really pushing the Kodak EasyShare C813 to its limits. There's only so much low-light goodness you can get out of an 8.3 Mpx sensor designed into a camera meant to appeal to the people who thought, when I was a kid, that Kodak Instamatics were serious picture-taking (this is not the slag it may seem, after all ... I was that sort of person, growing up. Aggravated me that you couldn't take night shots with those cameras. Seemed rather unfair). 

So, sure the view of SE Hawthorne Blvd there in the lower left is a bit fuzzy and downtown set against the backdrop of hills and a bright sunset may be a bit grainy, but it's clear enough to call back that time, just a decade ago, and to those who know Portland's skyline, to remarkably show off that changed skyline. 

So many new buildings there now.

The haze of the physical picture artifacts come off as a kind of an artistic interpretation of memory, now. Warm and hazy, filled with emotion and meaning. Same planet, different world.

And so it goes.

Township And Range Restaurant:2013 Throwback


This is a building that has held a number of restaurants and/or trend bars over the years; it's on the south side of SE Hawthorne Blvd at SE 24th Ave. At the time it was a bistro and bar called Township and Range, and I insisted we pull over and lens it because I adored the bold, angular fat script o the sign. It looked good, impressively good.

It was a bar which promoted itself as a 'friendly neighborhood tavern' sort of vibe which even in 2013 in Portland meant hyper-stylized American bar food with painfully local ingredients and prices to match the attitude ... and even then Hawthorne was the kind of place where the patina of gentrification had soaked in to become the organizing principle of the place ... so we never went. 

We did look in through the entry glass when it was closed once though. Had this big beautiful wood outline map of the state of Oregon, with the surrounding states picked out in different colors, and inlays representing the Willamette Baseline and Meridian and the Willamette Stone. So at least they knew what townships and ranges were about.

Suffice it currently to say that it met the same fate as most ambitious bars and restaurants and self-styled 'friendly neighborhood spots' in Portland did. It's closed - as in gone out of business - and that was well before any pandemic stared hanging around, so put it all down to Portland's legendary shark-tank of a restaurant culture, where you kill or be killed. 

Something else is undoubtedly there, maybe. I guess. Whatevs. 

Four Portland Bridges In One (Picture): 2018 Throwback


Other cities have more bridges, other cities have fewer but more spectacular bridges, but Portland, with a mere seven traffic crossings over its modest yet muscular dividing river has a rep as Bridgetown which extends well beyond its limit.

Maybe because, in the gestalt way, Portland's bridges draw the line between number, function, design, and majesty to accidentally arrive in a certain picturesque sweet spot. The modern lines of the Morrison Bridge are sublime; the antiqueness of the Burnside, the rusticness of the Steel, are, to me, more memorable than the majesty of the suspension spans linking New York boroughs. Even the Saint Johns, despite its quaintness, emanates a combination of poise and elegance that the Golden Gate Bridge can't match. 

But that's me; I, even in the evolved Portland of today, am ever the PDX-chauvinist. Home-town pride and all that.

There's another more practical niftiness about the bend of the Willamette through the dead center of the Rose City; it affords unique angles that allow me to combine more than one bridge most attractively into one shot. For instance, if you situate yourself in the proper place, about 2/3rds of the way east over the Burnside from downtown, you get this:

Four bridges in this shot: in the distance, the arch of the Fremont; next nearer, the red trusses of the Broadway; one more in, the prehistoric Steel, and the balustrade of the one I'm standing on here, the Burnside. Through the gaps in that balustrade you see a car cruising along a ramp from the Banfield Freeway westbound to I-5 along the river southbound; if you look carefully between the supports of the Steel you see a bulk ship standing by to either unload or go; and on the right peeks out the Louis-Dreyfus grain dock elevators.

There are probably other river scenes in other river cities where you can combine nearby elements for an interesting view, but my heart tells me they can't really compete with this even before I've looked at them. 

Interestingly, despite the preponderance of 2010-2013 throwbacks from the now-decommissioned Kodak EasyShare C813, this was actually taken in 2018 according to the EXIF data, so it isn't a throwback ... more of a gentle shoveback.

05 April 2021

The Bulk Ship Corio Bay Departs The Willamette


I did say it was as working river, this harbor. Here, now is a bulk ship leaving the Willamette and entering the Columbia for, we're presuming, points west (actually, subsequent checking of VesselFinder.com revealed it was headed for Nanaimo, BC).

This is the good ship Corio Bay.

It sounded a large, booming sound as it proceeded out of one river and into the other, then languidly sailed downstream the Columbia, toward Astoria, and at that speed, it would have made it there that evening. VesselFinder reports that the ship is still at Nanaimo.

VesselFinder also reports that the ship sails under the flag of Hong Kong, but the foretop sports Old Glory, also a maritime flag that is half red, half white:

The Brown Eyed Girl wondered aloud what that meant, so I endeavored to find out. That particular maritime flag says, in International Code of Signals-speak, I have a pilot on board, so the Corio Bay was getting river-pilot assistance to navigate the inland waters of the Columbia. What a life that must be ... there isn't anyone I don't know, including myself, who's wondered about going on that adventure at one time or another in their lives. 

2010 Throwback: Luuit (Mt St Helens) and NE Portland from Council Crest


During our first few years here as permanent Portlanders, we lit up to Council Crest Park every chance we could.

For those of you unfamiliar with Portland geography and history, it's like this: Council Crest is a very high hill in SW Portland, topping out at 1,070 feet above sea level. It's got a gorgeous and long view almost all directions, the north being obscured by a lush grove of evergreens, and the south somewhat obscured by hills and neighborhoods that direction, though, on a clear day you can catch a glimpse of every Cascade volcano from Tahoma (Rainier) to Seekseekqua (Jefferson). Its name came when a group of church people met there for a conference in 1898 and thus decided to call it Council Crest; over the years, this evolved into it being called that because representatives of surrounding indigenous tribes thought it the idea high ground for meetings though, in actuality, that likely never occurred anywhere but in the vivid imaginations of colonizing settlers.

This day, in May, 2010, I made Luuit (St Helens) the star of the show. 

In the lower left, just above the tree line, is the Fremont Bridge. Just to the right of the tangle of ramps that it feeds into is a tower of Emanuel Hospital; the crane a presage to the seismic shift in development and income that was just then still incipient. The developing nacre of the Pearl District can be seen along the tree outline in the lower right.

In the middle distance, the Columbia River; beyond that the eastern suburban fringes of Vancouver, Washington. And, if you squint at the left-hand edge of Luuit there, you can just barely make out a round hump, and that's the summit of Tahoma (Rainier), which means that me and a great many Greater Seattleites were looking at the same thing at the same time, Advance Cascadia Fair.

Those practiced in that-was-then-this-is-now can probably make out all the changes in the cityscape since then.

04 April 2021

The Mountain And The Port


The Columbia, as I've said, is a working river.

A hard working river, it must be further defined.

And it does it all beautifully, tended to with care (some enlightened, some misguided, but that's what you get with humans) by all who are deemed temporally responsible for it. It throngs with ships but doesn't seem overwhelmingly polluted; you can walk the shores and the water seems fresher and cleaner than you'd expect, and it's in the most unique setting, with one big town on each bank but majestic volcanic ranges within easy sight.

Those port facilities are on the north bank of the Columbia, a Port of Vancouver terminal in Washington. We, of course, view from the Oregon side. I don't think Wy'east has much of a care or knows what a state is; to Wy'east, it's all one and the same. It's been here before any of us came, and it'll be here long after we go.

Here's a pan-right and extreme closeup looking up river:

That most distant bridge with the two towers and the cable between is our beleaguered and imaginatively-named Interstate Bridge, that's where I-5 crosses. The truss in the middleground is the railroad mainline bridge. The Cascade crest, beyond. It's a big world, my Willamette Valley, but surprisingly narrow. 

03 April 2021

Columbia River Pilings, Late Afternoon


And now, let's go experiential for today's coda:

Just like any working riverbank, there are pilings for things that used to be there and are there no longer and, being easily forgettable, are left to weather away. But I find riverbank pilings especially romantic, with the echoes of time and decay and other things of that nature. 

It should go without saying that the chance at a composition like this is irresistible. 

Where Two Great Rivers Meet: Kelley Point


Here we return to the recent present, a few days back on our lark to Kelley Point. This is where the mighty Willamette gives its all to the even mightier Columbia. 

To the left of that line of small pilings stretching out to that marker, Oregon's Willamette river; beyond the end of that line, stretching into the distance and off to our right, the mother river of the Pacific Northwest, the Columbia. 

On the left there, that grove of trees is the southeastern-most extent of Sauvie Island, Belle Vue Point. The indigenous name for the island is Wapato, and, at about 33 square miles, it's the largest river island in the Columbia and one of the largest in the United States.

The far shore is in the state of Washington. 

You are on the edge here in multiple ways.

The Steel Bridge, April, 2010


This was taken the same day the previous entry's was, too; end of April, 2010, this being Portland's venerable Steel Bridge as seen from the parking structure at NW Naito Parkway between Couch and Davis. Beyond that, the Louis-Dreyfus grain dock. 

The framing of the picture probably means that you could take the same shot and it wouldn't look terribly different.

The Sign of All The Times


Another throwback edition from the dearly departed Kodak: the landmark Portland, Oregon sign looking down upon the Japanese-American Historical Plaza and the Burnside Bridge of 2010.

For lease, navidad. 

02 April 2021

A-1 Truck Parts? Just Look For the Sign of the ...


On our way back from Kelley Point late that day, we decided to course down North Columbia Boulevard. Most of Columbia Boulevard is industrial, and out near the Columbia/Burgard/Lombard Tee, you ad the remote feeling as well; even though you're merely a loud shout from Saint Johns, it hides behind a rise, so one, not having told it was there, wouldn't know that it was.

And it was in this section of Columbia Boulevard that we saw the niftiest thing we've seen in rather a while:

9609 N. Columbia Blvd, Portland. At Your Service.

Guess what they sell there. Guess. Goooooo ahead ...

Right. Girl Scout Cookies and Amway SA8 laundry soap. I knew  I couldn't fool you people.

Coolest thing is to look at it from the end. It's then you can tell, without mistaking, that they sliced the outer few inches from each side of a light truck and stuck them together which is pretty creative, the more one thinks about it. And an awful good show, too. 

The Mountain, The River, The People


The beauty of the the Columbia shore near Kelley Point is that you get a really great angle on Wy'east; the drawback is that in the glooming of the late afternoon, you don't really see it clearly. A very long time ago from this vantage, the Brown Eyed Girl made a really pretty little pastel of it and if we don't have I framed, I don't know why not; I am quite in love with it.

A view of it, though, puts a lot of things in tension; you can't have the mountain and the river without the industrial port in view. Still, it makes of it a statement, a sort of silent exegesis; this is our world and this is where the heavy moving parts are. Along rivers, in back corners of the geography where shipping and commerce occur. We are a mercantile world and logistics are the sinew you'll find along the bone of those rivers.

It serves us, but sometimes, we seem the junior of it. 

Ship At Dock Near Kelley Point, Portland


From Parkrose, that day, we headed toward the end of the North Portland Peninsula. The Brown Eyed Girl deemed a visit to Kelley Point was overdue, and who am I to contradict that logic? It's solid. Iron-clad.

For those who are not of the Rose City, the North Portland Peninsula is that part, generally speaking, west of William Avenue where all streets are prefixed NORTH; the Willamette River swings northwestward before finally joining the mighty Columbia. It's an inland peninsula; two of the three defining sides are made up by the Willamette, the other, the Columbia. If you look at a map, that peninsula kind of resembles a thumb it the thumbs up position; at the tip of that thumb, on the right bank, where the Columbia and Willamette join, is Kelley Point. 

There is a City o'Portland park appropriately named after the point.

Now, also, this is the bitter end of Portland's port district. Unlike such cities as Seattle, Portland's port is out on the edge of town (there were terminals closer to downtown, but, like other long-time city residents, they're getting pushed out to the margins too). The port terminal known as Rivergate T5 is on the Willamette River just south of Kelley Point, whereas T6 is located on the south bank of the Columbia just east of that. 

All of which is a roundabout way of saying when you go down to Kelley point at the Columbia side, you are likely to see such as this:

This is the Glovis Corona, a vehicles-carrier according to VesselFinder.com:

Its current position seems to be about 100 miles west of the Columbia bar, making for the general direction of Asia. 

The patina of rust makes it look much older than 25 years; gave it a sort of post-apocalyptic look (but what doesn't have one, these days?). At first, coming through the trees toward the shore, I thought someone put up a big building over there. It's easy to forget how big these brutes are unless they sail right along side of you, or get in the news like Ever Given and the Suez Canal, a few days back.

It's also sort of dishevelled-romantic. Well, at least to this landlubber. 



The camera I'm currently using, the Canon PowerShot SX230HS, is a replacement for my late, lamented PowerShot S100 which died suddenly and tragically young. It is not the same as that little charmer, and not necessarily better in all ways; I found the most capable camera in my price range that was as close to function and temporal manufacture as the S100 was. 

In some notable ways it actually exceeds the beloved S100, and that would be in optical zoom. Whereas the S100 had 5x optical zoom, the SX230HS has 14x optical zoom. When you throw in the digital zoom you get at the end of that range, how much magnification can you get?

How about 56x? No, I didn't mistype this. And it's flawless. In a somewhat-dated, point and shoot digital camera, it's a boon.

Here's a thing I did: when at the corner of 116th and NE Shaver, in the previous missive, taking pictures of our beloved mountain, I wanted to come up with a baseline idea. So I zoomed in, stayed steady and snapped. This is what I got of this modest camera:

I mean, if I got any closer, I'd be climbing the danged thing.

A New View: Wy'east from 116th and NE Prescott


Stumbled on this one. There is a viewpoint not too far from my usual vantage point at NE 122nd and Shaver, by Rossi Farm, that provides a new frame for our beloved volcano.

This is how Wy'east appears from the corner of NE 116th Avenue and Shaver Street, at the northwest corner of the Parkrose High School Campus.

Immediately in front of us is the baseball field at Parkrose HS; the low-slung buff colored affair in the middle distance is the Burgerville on NE 122nd; beyond that, some trees; the point in pointing them out is the perponderance of deciduous trees here, which gives the whole thing a bit of a different feel. 

Not every tree in Oregon is an evergreen. Well ... just most of them.

The framing captures the imposing feeling of the mountain just rather perfectly, and actually a little better than the Rossi Farms POV. In the gestalt, though, it's not better on balance ... different. Supports a slightly different mood, that of the mountain amidst the city, as most of us usually see it.