31 May 2021

When You Bring Your Graffiti "B" Game


This, on the west side of the MJ dispensary at the east end of the Ross Island Bridge, is about the most half-assed graffiti I've ever seen.

It's like Dilbert cosplaying Bart Simpson, or Bart Simpson cosplaying Dilbert, or what happens if you order Bart Simpson from Wish.

And 'Eat Pant'? What even is that even supposed to even be?

Pal, this is Portland. Up your game or don't bother.

30 May 2021

Tilikum Crossing, In Passing, From the West


This is a view of Tilikum Crossing from the seat of a car travelling northbound on Moody Avenue, just south of the intersection where all the transit traffic comes and goes from it.

It's quite a beautiful bridge, and that's actually a change of mind for me. I love the way the cable-stayed design makes it look like a suspension bridge. At first, I wasn't that big a fan, but that was then. 

They're going to try to build a new Interstate Bridge, while I'm woolgathering about it all, and I hope they take some inspiration from this, amongst other things. Columbia River Crossing 1.0 was going to be a dreary, boring thing. A bridge in that spot, linking Portland and Vancouver, should be a majestic, impressive thing. 

Maybe a suspension bridge? I can hope.

The Lilypads of River Place


A couple of weeks back I mentioned the flower gardens just off the end of Montgomery Street in RiverPlace and here's a picture I took which charmed me. 

One feature of the landscaping is an arrangement of small square pools, and these pools have lilypads.

Water lilies are one of those things which signify the Greater World to me. I didn't see anything like that during my growing time in Silverton, but I get out here, and they're everywhere I want to find them.

I do adore water lilies. Especially when someone else gets to care for them.

Going Down The Inside Lane At The Hawthorne Bridge


It's that sort of adventure, you know the kind, where you feel all risky but all you have to do is operate on an ordinary level of care and you're gonna be okay. 

The Hawthorne Bridge, the southernmost of the major bridges connecting Portland City Center West to Portland City Center East, is a four-lane truss bridge, with two lanes outside the truss and two lanes inside the truss. It's a steel deck with no shoulders - you break down, there's literally no place to pull over. But the inner lanes have something that the outer lanes do not, namely, a lane of traffic coming your way with nothing between you and that lane.

So it seems rather dangerous. 


But you know it's going to be okay, because you're a conscientious driver. It's that other schmo you gotta worry about.

You know ... the one coming at you. 

Zidell Marine: The Last Of The Industrial South Waterfront


Once upon a time there was no such a thing as escalating property values in a place we today call the South Waterfront, and instead of glittery if-you-have-to-ask-you-can't-afford-it shi-shi condo towers, there were things like this you see pictured hence.


Zidell Marine Company (ZMC as can be seen on the crane above) built barges. And, from the ways just south of the west end of the Ross Island Bridge, launched a great many of the ones that ply the waters of the American West Coast.

During the early 1990s, the Brown Eyed Girl and myself lived in an apartment just on the other side of the river from this, on SE 8th Avenue near Rhine, and we were in love with the urban sounds. McLoughlin Blvd, in the mornings, as the traffic was winding up for rush hour (which was more like just an hour back then) sounded like a rushing stream. And we could hear barges being launched from there in the middle of the night: a long horn, a brief moment of quiet, then a rather authoritative splash.

Now, it's the last corner of authentic industrial activity in the zu teuer South Waterfront area, and even now it's actually in an afterlife. Zidell Marine built its last barge in 2017, so that crane, the factory, and the property they're on are just awaiting its next life - undoubtedly as something for those somebodys who already have everything and talk in terms of leases and condos and e-vehicles and the like.

29 May 2021

The Johan Poulsen House at 130


I've mentioned this house before but I've never had my own image of it. Thanks to last Wednesday, I've several. 


This is the Johan Poulsen House, built in 1891 by the namesake timber baron. In the year 2021, it's 130 years old. It could be Portland's most visible example of the Queen Anne style (BITD I called it Victorian, which I believe now is incorrect to say), and in as much as it's prominently positioned on McLoughlin just south of the east end of the Ross Island Bridge, it's downright impossible to ignore. 

Not that you'd want to ignore it; it's quite a lovely sight. Back in '16, it went up for sale and was acquired by a local media production company and why not, what a signature place for something like that, but they only held it form '17 to '19. It is apparently on the market again.

Back when it originally was for sale, I fantasized:

... a signature landmark with nearly 5,000 square feet of living space, and enough bedrooms that you can move your salon in. Which is exactly what I'd do. I'd take me, The Wife™, our felines, and a few friends who deserve to be admired and we'd all go there and be awesome together. Hell, I'd research the dimensions of the Algonquin Round Table, have a replica made, have it put in the room with the best view (it sits on the nose of a bluff overlooking the east end of the Ross Island Bridge and with nearly unobstructed exposure to downtown Portland and most of the inner east side, I mean, imagine the views!) and we'd just be brilliant together.

... and I'd still do it, I'll tell you. I'm awesome enough to carry it off, and I'd be adorable at it. 

Just need that money and fame (the right kind). I mean, I'm here available for it, and I'm absolutely certain I could handle the wealth and fame. 

In a world where some kid got famous for mumbling catch me outside, how about that? there ought to be room for me to be profitably brilliant. 

Luuit/Mt St Helens Over SE Portland


Wy'east wasn't the only volcano out that day, last Wednesday; Luuit made a showing too. Due to the nacre-like sky and the muddled light that the high overcast attenuated, I had to do a little push-me-pull-you in GIMP to make any detail come out.

We're going into another droughty summer, but the peaks still have the lovely snow upon.

Grand Avenue Extreme Closeup!


Zooming with my point'n'shoot Canon PowerShot is fun. 

The current tool is the PowerShot S230 SX. That SX on the end means 'super zoom', and it does the trick: at the end of the zoom, which goes from optical to digital zoom, I get a 56x magnification. Now, I've always admired telephoto pictures, the way they make things look much closer than they are and create a new world based on a point of perspective. I can't exactly do that, but if I choose my POV and perspective just-so and then zoom the hell in, I get a nice effect in-camera. 

I did it to the shot of the viaduct when I realized I was looking straight down SE Grand Avenue, and here's what I got:


Now, Grand Avenue isn't known for its hills ... but there, it looks like a street in San Francisco. And it kind of tells a different story.

28 May 2021

Looking Down The McLoughlin Viaduct


This is a view northward from the part of the Ross Island Bridge that goes over SE McLoughlin Blvd.This viaduct has a bit of history.

The viaduct as it stands is only around 15 years old. It replaces one which existed there for decades and was something of a roller-coaster ride, because the low spot it goes over, where SE Division Place and the SPRR mainline, is one of the legendary places where Portland leveled the ground with fill and, as such, was imperceptibly moving in the general direction of the Willamette River. By the time the 2000s came along this was enough to make of it a wiggly, serpentine trip. 

The new viaduct is a has lovely art deco touches. Those pyramidal pylons are the past's idea of the future, angular yet graceful and poetic on a subliminal level. I dig its personality.

The lanes on the north bound, the right, side devolve into Grand Avenue, which can be seen dwindling into the increasingly-inaccurately named Central Eastside Industrial District. The ones on the left receive outbound traffic going south from SE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. 

The highway itself dates back about a century.

Something Went Down at 138th And Division Wednesday Evening ...


... but whatever it was it involved the westbound #2-Division TriMet bus and required six cop cars to quell.

The photo was taken from the corner of 136th and Division, outside of the magnificent Cruisers Cafe. 

It was peaceful, whatever it was. Soon after this, the group dissipated with no shots fired or mayhem of any kind. No FlashAlert, so we still don't know what happened here, but it ended peacefully, so we hope for the best.

Transit drivers have had it particularly hard and stressful during the Pandemic Year, so we hold faith for them.

Signs to Wonders


Well, maybe not stupendous wonders. But they're the background of my life, these place names. I find poetry in the way they scan.

This sign gantry surmounts the east end of the Ross Island Bridge. a quick offramp puts you on the road to Oregon City and eventually Salem, and the straight way puts you on the road to Wy'east. This would have been near the beginning of what we would have called the Mount Hood Freeway, except that Neil Goldschmidt and the freeway revolt happened and we have MAX and whatnot now.

The Perfectly-Named Moving And Storage Company Doesn't Ex ...


Well, it does now, I guess.

... spotted in the lot of a long-time moving outfit at SE 7th and Woodword. Would I recommend them? LFINO. Last time we moved across town, George W Bush was in office and we did it ourselves (mur-der, let me just tell you).

Would I recommend us? Hell to the no.

A Rather Unusual Street Blade-Woodward and SE 6th


This is a set of street blades that've been here for a while, as evidence by the obvious weathering.


This is, for sake of reference, one street north of the east end of the Ross Island Bridge and one block east of SE McLoughlin Blvd.

The oddities are manifest. The flat sheet metal of the signs; the rounded rectangle serving as a border, and the ordinal suffix on the number 6 being as large as the number. 

What really gets the attention is the specific; this is not SE 6th St, but SE 6th Av. But the CoP put it up, god knows how many years ago, and since it's in a forgettable corner of town, it pretty much remains. But then, we've seen evidence that whoever posts street blades for the CoP does kind of a sloppy job of it betimes. 

27 May 2021

As Though I Were Behind The Dairy Curtain


The main plant for Darigold, a dairy co-ooperative that sells dairy products all over the western USA, is located just north of the east end of the Ross Island Bridge here in Portland. It's a factory and office complex located generally between SE 6th and 8th Avenues and north of Woodward Street, constructed during the 50s or maybe 60s with details that look mid-20th Century.

There's a sign on the top that, when the support was lit, with red neon, made it like a landmark beacon coming home in the middle of the night when we lived in the Brooklyn neighborhood.

The Sentinel Over Powell Blvd


Opportunities to spot Wy'east vary all over Portland. The great peak is visible in many areas, not at all in some thanks to terrain and tree cover, and sometimes, it plays peek-a-boo.

It does the peek-a-boo act along the stretch of SE Powell Blvd just at the east end of the Ross Island Bridge. But this produces a sort of invigorating challenge; deciding on just the zoom and the parts of the tree-covered east side to use to nuance the visual impact of the mountain on what is in front of it.

As typical, the juxtaposition of the human-inflected landscape against the ancient volcanic cone produces a visual tension I just cannot resist.

Downtown Portland From The Ross Island Bridge, Then and Now


In this posting on the 17th I shared a photo I took in April 2010 of downtown Portland from the vantage point of the east end of the Ross Island Bridge, and it struck me how amazing it was to see it without the Tilikum Crossing Bridge there. I figured it was past time to get an updated picture of this, to document the change.

This has been done. And here is the result.

This day it was warm, in the upper 60s, and the high overcast was nacre-like, in contrast to the gray low-overcast of the 2010 pic. It diffused the light a great deal and I was not able to get contrast on many of the buildings that I wanted. But the difference is pretty striking, I think.

I mean, that new bridge there. 

In a book very close to my heart, Ursula K LeGuin's The Lathe of Heaven, the main character, George Orr is described as living in a Portland that, instead of going the way we did, doubled and tripled down on the growth, had become a moribund city of millions with subways and innumerable bridges across the Willamette. We, as I said, didn't go quite that way, but the multiplying ways to get across the river make me think of the picture of the Portland-yet-to-come that she drew. 

I mean, what a difference 11 years makes. This was just in 11 years, there seems to have been more change and more change more faster than in the thirty years previous. Nearly asymptotic, really.

25 May 2021

A Childhood Summed Up In Two Desktop Toys


VW's when they still said "flower power" and not "overbred car for the wealthy".

Star Trek before it was cool.

I mean, I'm sure there's some sort of perspective thread between the reality of these two things and my current edgy combination of despair and hope that fills my head pretty much all the time, but right now, I'm just enjoying the bittersweet irony of it all.

The Signs Of The Times In Parkrose, Part 2


This sign is just a bit down the block, south, toward Prescott on NE 99th. There's no other valid comment I think than yes, the times are such that a statement, on a side street, is entirely relevant and pertinent to the way things are going in America, and in Oregon, and in the Pacific Northwest right now. 

I will say this about that (since I'm a white man I don't have to be allowed to prattle on, I just do it): back when I was a teen, I saw trends in media and society that gave me hope that (at first, I was a child) we would end various -isms, racism, sexism, by the time I was an adult. Then I modified it to allow that maybe the way we were going we wouldn't end it but we'd take it down a hell of a lot.

And it's 2021, and look at what we elected last term, and look at what his followers are still doing. 

Wasn't I a fool?

The Signs Of The Times In Parkrose, Part 1


I found this bit of prime foolishness nailed to a telephone pole adjacent to the La Mota on NE 99th in Parkrose. People are just too unwise somtimes.

Eat your landlord? Portlander, please. The wealthy are higher up the food chain than we proles are, and that's where the toxins concentrate.

Don't eat your landlord.

Compost your landlord.

I'll repeat this until you people start to listen. Because I am the nice one.

This Is How Chill We Are In The Pacific Northwest


The Pacific Northwest has a reputation for being chill AF. Even our Type "A"s are more like Type "B-pluses". The only thing that really keeps us from being mistaken for Canadian provinces is it's too obvious oftimes that "Northwest Nice" is thinly-veiled passive-agression.

But we are pretty chill, overall. Prove it? How chill exactly?

Well, dig, if you will, this picture.

Not so much of the maryjane quickshop, of which there seem mysteriously to be more than there are even of people partaking and multiplying by the day. This is on NE 99th Avenue in Parkrose, and it's not so much the shop by what you can see beyond the beyond that black iron fence.

Those are grave monuments. That there's a necropolis, my frens, a city of the dead. A cemetery. And some of us PNWers just swan on over to the pot shop and buy an ounce or an eighth or a lid or a potholder or whatever they're calling 'em these days, and cast a glance at a cemetery next door and it's like no big deal.

If that isn't max chill, I don't know what is.

The Portland Immigrant Of The Year Plaque Is A Little Out Of Date


Just pointing this out, not making any judgements. 

In the low retaining wall in front of The Portland Immigrant, there's a few polished granite slabs inset with the title of the work, credits as to who supported it, and, on the far right of this, a part where the Portland Immigrant Of the Year is listed. Here it is.

I imagine the social, political, and pandemical climate of the last three years has made keeping the tradition a bit problematical because, for whatever reason, there are three years that need names.

Notably, 2013's was Sho Dozono, who is a prominent Japanese-American businessman who is famous for owning Azumano Travel and ran for mayor in 2008, losing to Sam Adams, and 2016's was Som Subedi, who is familiar to anyone on Portland Facebook as a fairly fierce advocate for immigrants in the social media sphere.

The Portland Immigrant at Sandy and Killingsworth


It's kind of an inauspicious place to be honored.You can't really pull over to admire this monument.

At the west end of Parkrose's business district, that busy place where NE Killingsworth (or NE Lombard, this time next year) terminates at Sandy Blvd, and where NE Sandy Blvd ceases its diagonal climb out of the Portland's core to align with the historic route of the Columbia River Highway, where traffic to and from I-205 throngs day and night, and where the only neighbors are two hotels and a cemetery, there's a traffic island where the flow parts to go every which way, and there is a landscaped terrace on this island which functions as a plinth of sorts, and on it, a weary-looking fellow casts a tired gaze on the Best Western Pony Soldier Inn.

The Portland Immigrant gazes at the Pony Soldier Inn,
Sandy Blvd dwindling into the background

The Portland Immigrant means to remind of all of us the vitality and spark that those who come from other countries and parts of the world bring to the blend of people and dreams that try to coalesce to form Portland, and that they may come here as weary travellers but with energetic dreams they too want to make real.

The surroundings, as I said, don't lend ones' self the opportunity to pull over and look. Where Sandy Blvd cruises through Parkrose also happens to be the place, once, where most people who came to Portland entered town; at one time, this was Portland's northeast corner, and US 30 the main road into town. There's no real place to pull over to enjoy this spot so, in a certain sort of cosmic sarcasm, motorists tend to race past, not really paying the monument much mind, unconsciously mirroring some of American society's poorer attitudes about the role immigrants play.  

Still he remains, just waiting for you to see him and what he means. It's your move, my friend. 

24 May 2021

The Garden At South Waterfront


There is a lovely park just off the circle where Montgomery becomes River Drive in the Riverplace nabe; it has lilyponds and colorful flowers and all sorts of botanical niceness.

It makes for great photographs of irises with this great freeway bridge in the background, I'll tell you that much.

I've got a couple of others to share in episodes to follw.

You Can Get There From Here


This is the big ol' sign on the Marquam Bridge which, if you're travelling northbound on I-5, tells you where you can take it, pal.

It's a good and actually useful piece of trivia to know that the exit tying I-5 and I-84 together is at I-5 MP 300. That makes it quick work to figure how far and how long: the first exit into Salem, at Chemawa Rd at the edge of Keizer, is at exit 260, which means a little less than an hour south. The last Oregon exit on I-5, exit 308, is less than ten minutes north, except during rush hour, when it's an hour and an half. 

And California is 300 miles away, backthataway. 

One destination cited is The Dalles. The Dalles is one of just a handful of towns in the USA that begin with "The", amongst them, The Woodlands, TX; The Village, OK; The Plains, VA; and The Hell Did I End Up Here, NV. 

I may have made one of these up.

Follow me for more geographical tips.

23 May 2021

The Metropolis Down Moody Street


A view northbound, on SW Moody, past the light at the entry (no private cars!) to Tilikum Crossing kind of compacts the urban history of Portland into visual layers.

The tall tower in the far background, the Wells Fargo tower, is Old Portland, surmounted by freeways, next stage, then transit, rails in the street, then newer development, the OHSU buildings there on the right, and lastly the modern, the entry to the Tilikum Crossing there on the right, closest up.

This ... is the city.

The Tilikum Crossing In Profile


A most agreeable angle can be had of the Tilikum Crossing (full and complete title: Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People) on the walkway along the extension of River Parkway south of the Marquam Bridge.

The cable-stayed span is a rather beautiful design, if only because it resembles a suspension bridge. It's a change to the landscape, and I adore it.

A Most Crook'd Tree


This is just a tree along the walk down to Poet's Beach along the Willamette in the South Waterfront.

... and it has the most delightfully bent trunk.

The walk down to Poet's Beach is lined with those boxy stones, and some of them have prose and poetry inscriptions by children and indigenous voices. The one there, is by "Amy", a third grader, who observes correctly that A river is a wonderful thing. It keeps the fish from drying out.

22 May 2021

The Jantzen Building, NE 19th and Sandy


It's been a long time since a swimsuit came out of this building, I don't know how long. Just like Nalley's and Steinfelds and Henry Weinhard's, Jantzen is just a brand name that gets sold about like some corporate trading card.

But when the Jantzen Diving Girl was just a young lady, 411 NE 19th Avenue, corner Sandy Blvd, is where she grew up. 

She was and always will be a Portland girl.

The edifice, complete with iconic Jantzen girl over the main door, still stands, waiting for something au courant to lease it and make it their own.

And so it goes.

The Steel Gray Of The River On A Cloudy Day


The POV for this one was just above a short stretch of Willamette River left bank in the shadow of the Marquam Bridge called "Poet's Beach", and the color of the clouds reflected on the water caused the Brown Eyed Girl to exult about the steel gray color of the river water.

There are things about our individual worlds that can't compare to others'. For those of us who grew up in the Willamette Valley, the quality of the light here during days like this is like cloudy days nowhere else in the world; little wonder a great many of us act like Oregon (and particularly northwestern Oregon) invented the cool, cloudy day. But there's something to it, outside of parochial chauvinism; at least one of the actors in the series Grimm mentioned that the particular light of our area gave the production a certain feel it couldn't get elsewhere, like it was a character unto itself.

So, we get steel-gray rivers under torn, cloudy skies like nowhere else in the world, really, and it's not really an idle boast. This sort of light is the light that brings artists from elsewhere.

21 May 2021

The Bridges Of Multnomah County


A look north, downstream of the Willamette, showing the several bridges that unite the core of Portland. The big one, up front, is the Marquam Bridge, the one that carries I-5 over the river, and the trusses of the Hawthorne is clearly visible, but even though one can see bits of the Morrison, Burnside, and Steel, they obscure each other and you can see only hints of them.

I've always adored the Marquam. It's got a graceful arch to it and the way it gracefully swings between the west bank and the east bank, doing its job without bragging, and largely unappreciated for it. 

But I think it's gorgeous.

An Antique Portland 7-Up Sign Re-Emerges


During the off time I got during my birthday-time, we did some driving around. I got a few things. Great used books from Backstory on Hawthorne. Long-desired classic Firesign Theatre albums at Everyday Music on Sandy. And in the process we drove down Sandy rounding the bend onto Couch.

There's a building there that is adjacent to and was once a working part of the Portland Bottling Company. Its got some vague art-deco-ness to it in the port-hole like windows and the great panoramic glass on the corner of 14th and Couch with rounded corners. For the past decade or so it was home of Natian Brewing.

The pinnacle of the building held a revolving 7-Up sign. Since Portland Bottling vacated the space, it's had various advertising signs covering the old logo. 

Those are down now, and we can see a hint of the glory it once had. 

The bottle on top, which was a 7-Up at one time, is still dressed as a Guayaki Organic Yerba Mate Bottle. 

It was this way earlier this week and is still that way now, presumably, if one were inclined to go look. North side of NE Couch just west of NE 14th. Yours for the finding.

20 May 2021

The Mighty Clouds Over Hawthorne This Day


The atmosphere over Portland and northwestern Oregon was rather unsettled today; the adage If you don't like Oregon's weather, just wait 5 minutes and it'll change applied.

It did make for gorgeous cloud displays, however.

There was a majesty there.

There's A Double-Decker Egyptian Coffee Bus On Hawthorne


We don't get round to the Hawthorne District nearly as much as we used to, at least since the money arrived. And then the pandemic.

But we were there yesterday (reason to follow) and here, at the cart pod at SE 32nd and Hawthorne, I noticed there was a English double-decker bus amongst the other (at the time, closed for the day) purveyors.


It's the Tōv Coffee Bar, and they specialize in Egyptian-style coffee, according to their website, and are fairly well-reviewed, also according to their website. Well, USA Today reviewed them, so that's certainly a feather in the cap.

It, too was closed, at 5 PM on a pandemic Wednesday, so we weren't able to partake. Perhaps another time.

19 May 2021

W's For M's: Credit for Consistency


Of the infuriating ways the City o'Portland erects street blades, sometimes, at least this one is amusing. Allow me to introduce you to the street blade set in Riverplace at the traffic circle that serves as the intersection between Montomery Street and River Drive:

It's not that the city hasn't yet even updated this sign to confirm to the new South district (and besides, I kvetched about that in the last episode). No, it involves the misplacement and inversion of two letters on that sign. Note the W in the SW: the outer strokes are absolutely vertical. Now, notice the second M in MONTGOMERY. The outer strokes on that have angles. 

The W in the SW is actually an upside-down M.

The 2nd M in MONTGOMERY is actually an upside-down W. 

And it repeats exactly on the other side of the sign, too. Take my word for it. So, at least the city is consistent about it, which makes me admire them in a perverse way.

I Finally Found Some South Portland Street Blades. I Was Unimpressed.


More than two years ago the City o'Portland made the bold decision to fix a problem that they didn't really have by creating a new city directional slice, South, to the five-quadranted layout of Portland's streets. Insisting that it was causing innumerable problems in technological wayfinding for first responders and others who needed to find their way into and out of the area making deliveries and such, that part of SW that was east of the line created by SW Naito Parkway and SW View Point Terrace yet still west of the Willamette River would now carry the directional S rather than SW and the leading zeros on cross streets in that are would go away.

This, we were told, was a big problemo. 

So, in May 2019 we were told it was to change in May 2020. And now, it's May, 2021. We've cruised the South Waterfront and Riverplace areas assuming, and reasonably so, I think, that since there were so very many people lived in these areas that there would be some sort of movement toward street blade replacement or updating with a level somewhere approaching alacrity. 

After all, it was a very serious thing, yes?

Well, maybe. But after occasional passes through the area in the year (now, year-plus) since the switch from SW to S it seems as though exactly zero street blades in the South Waterfront and Riverplace areas were changed (fellow address nerd Michael Long, on Facebook, has turned up a precious few, but these are out toward Dunthorpe). Until today. Here's what we found at the intersection of Montgomery Street and Harbor Place, at the entry to the Riverplace area:

The single letter S, on a square of green, stuck on the sign. Still no block number on the sign. Looks kind of cheap-out, to my eye. But wait ... there's more. 

The big boulevard that comes through area is called Harbor Drive. Harbor Way sticks close by the side of it and derives its name from it. Finding this road on a map will show that its main purpose it to connect northbound traffic not wanting to hope the river and continue north to I-5 or I-84 to Portland City Center. Harbor Drive at one time was an expressway leading all the way up the Portland waterfront to the Steel Bridge. In 1974, that freeway went away to make way for Tom McCall Waterfont Park; the truncated expressway ended where SW Front Avenue (now Naito Parkway) intersected the Clay/Market couplet. 

So, Harbor Drive still exists in the area and provides a primary access. And there are street blades for it that read SW HARBOR DR. Except they now have been revised, as the new-look blades have:

Unless I'm very much mistaken, the bits of the old SW are just visible around the edges of the sticker that has the S on it. And similarly, the Montgomery St blade is updated thus.

At least they covered up the old directional in full here. It still looks sloppy, however.

I suppose at this point that's my biggest complaint. I'm still not happy with the fact that they felt they had to do this at all; leading-zero addresses were a great and uniquely Portland geography quirk, and I was sad to see it go. I've made my peace with it, now, though.

But since they went ahead and it's done, and we have to like it or lump it, and since it was such a big problem, why isn't the change coming any faster? Especially since all that it takes is to inartfully slap a sticker on? 

You can do better than this, City o'Portland.

A Long View Down Hawthorne Blvd


So late this afternoon we were westbound coming out of downtown via the Hawthorne Bridge and the light and the angle were just right, and I pointed my camera out front of the car and made it pretend it was a telephoto by zooming in real tight.

The stretch of road that got lensed here was approximately from SE 7th Avenue to SE 20th. At 20th, which is the northeast corner of Ladd's Addition, the street itself jogs to the south approximately the width of the street itself, which puts it out of full view from this POV; however, the telephone poles along the north side of the street still can be seen, until they top the crest at SE 28th Avenue and the landscape drops again to the retail district along upper Hawthorn. From this vantage the only thing that can be seen is the humpback form of Mount Tabor.

Mount Tabor itself is about three miles east of the spot I snapped the picture from.

17 May 2021

Downtown Portland Sans Tillkum Crossing, April 2010


I wasn't thinking of or looking for another picture of Portland's skyline or any sort of throwback action but I was inspired to go back and look through some very old photos ... I mean ViviCam 3705-years-old ... and I couldn't hold back from sharing this.

This is a photo taken in April 2010, on a gray, misty day, of the downtown Portland skyline as seen from the very east end of the Ross Island Bridge. It is notable for what isn't there: there are a number of buildings that are here now that aren't there then, but the big thing that isn't there would be down in front now.

The thing that's missing is, of course, the Tillikum Crossing bridge, which would be between the photographer's POV here and the Marquam Bridge. This is one of those photos I referred to earlier: there are locations that are no longer possible to get the same photo because of the development that has happened here in the last 20 years, things that have fundamentally changed the look and atmosphere of the Rose City. Buildings that now exist where once there was open space, and massive new constructions that have interposed themselves between a still-accessible space and the thing one once went to that place to observe.

I'm thinking it's past time I got an updated downtown skyline photo. Not just of my favorite angle, from the top deck of that bridge there in the photo, but also an update of this one, from the east end of the Ross Island Bridge.

7 NE Oregon St Part 4: The Worker Must Have Bread, But She Must Also Have Roses


REturning now to 7 NE Oregon Street, that delightfully-marvellously decorated TriMet service depot building, let's look at that side actually fronting Oregon Street.

It's quite a work of art, in itself.

The real appeal of this art is its graffiti feel, it comes from that marvelously chaotic place where the the militant meets the working class and it's not afraid to show it. The text in the design states where its heart is, in a very clear way: The worker must have bread, but she also must have roses. The art is militant, with more than a hint of feminism and revolution to it, and I like it quite a lot for those reasons. 

There's a lot to see here, and I encourage embiggening the picture and spending a while letting your eyes do the wandering. At the time I took the picture I was kind of walked-out, though, and the Brown Eyed Girl had come through the vaccination line over at the OCC and was waiting on me so I started back. As I'm looking at the picture I'm finding that I wish that I had taken more detail shots. The artists really did a splendid job.

We can always go back.

A View Through The Bridges


Another view upriver from my Steel Bridge viewpoint. 

I didn't get precisely the view I was hoping to - I don't know if such a thing is achievable - but I did get zooms that, if not calendar for frame-worthy, certainly have interest, as far as I'm concerned.

The view is, again, looking south, or upriver. What's in full view is the bascule leaves of the Burnside Bridge's lift span, and what is in view through there are truss approaches to the Morrison, with the glimpse of the Hawthorne through that. The towers in the distaance are the condo silos of the South Watherfront.

The thing I really want to draw attention to are the two 'conning towers' on either side of the Burnside's draw span. They are lovely and quaintly decorated and look very pretty up close. Anyone gets down there, please give them a lingering look. They are visually very delightful.

The Auto Graveyard of Glisan St


The address appears to be 9025 NE Glisan St. It seems to be something of a boneyard, though a very small one.

I'm not any sort of authority on cars this old. They look like they are from the 1940s, or maybe 1930s. They look like gangster cars. Al Capone would be riding in one of these sweet rides, when he was alive and they were new.

What the owner of the property does with them, or how they're acquired and why they stay here or so very long (these old cars come and go from this lot and have, according to my memory, for years, a decade and longer) is a complete mystery to me. 

That they have done so for so long, in constant state, is a delight just as quirky and mysterious.

Anyone wanting to pass by themselves? This is just west of the I-205 offramp to NE Glisan, on the north side of the street, at the top of the slope. The appropriately-named Top Of The Hill Tavern is across the street from there.

16 May 2021

The Shabby Quick Shop At Stark Firs


There's this throwback of a trailer court on the south side of SE Stark Street, just east of the entrance to Floyd Light Middle School* at approximately 108th Avenue. 

It's called Stark Firs, and the old structures and manufactured homes are vintage and arranged like dominoes, at fairly close quarters. It is prole as hell and I love it. I've lived temporarily in places like it and have known people who've grown up in such places. It has a piece of my heart.

No actual firs seem to be in it, but a great deal of asphalt.

There is a shabby quick-shop at the front of it. Here it is, as taken through the just-washed windshield of Olivia earlier today:

Save for rearranging of the fractal confetti of beer ads and various retail poster ads on the outside, it's looked more or less like this ever since we moved out this was some 15-more years ago. It's seen a lot of life, there's been a gun crime or two over the years, no more than you'd expect for a big town, but still it soldiers on, too stubborn to die.

And that is one reason I love it so. It's beautiful, not shi-shi enough for the region of Portland east of I-205, but perfectly at home out here, where the people are still quite real.

It is adorable. I love this.

The Long View West Down Glisan From NE 89th


There's a wonderful fable about how Portland's geography sports a 'flat' east side, a more level landscape than can be found west of the river.

That's complete bull, of course. There are remarkable hills on the east side of the Willamette offering low-key splendid views (I'm not just talking about Mount Tabor or Rocky Butte). There's the Alameda Ridge, stretches of Stark Street, a long length of Sandy Boulevard. Portland's east side is remarkably bumpy for a flat place, and the person who first started talking about 'Portland's flat east side' is was probably a cyclist with calves of titanium, you know the kind.

NE Glisan east of I-205 is fairly level, but as soon as you get to about 89th to 92nd Avenues, it drops. There's a long lovely slope alongside Multnomah University (actually a modestly-sized bible college) and it offers this long-range view.

In the distance there are, of course, the West Hills ... west of the Willamette. Here, we're approximately four and a half miles east of the Willamette. The stretch of Glisan we can see here is somewhat more than a mile. 

Portland is a city of hills. Many of them hide their light under a bushel though.

Montavilla Sunday Morning


Nothing much here, just Stark Street looking west from SE 80th taking advantage of the deserted Sunday morning streets and a scrunchy viewing angle to get a really cool picture of storefronts that could be in any town ... large or small, Portland or elsewhere.

Yes, we still have pandemic going on, new CDC guidance notwithstanding, but for being the big town it is, parts of Portland can be surprisingly deserted on any given Sunday morning because that, too, is how we are here.

Heavy Boxcar Typographic Graffiti


I can't entirely suss the meeting behind this graffiti, seen on a boxcar on the mainline alongside Columbia Blvd earlier today, but I do enjoy the visual texture of it all, the lovely rainbow color.

There's some other stuff going on over there to the right that I wish I could hove gotten in the shot, but I was shooting this from the driver's seat of Olivia on the road and there was scarce traffic but that's not really that smart a thing to do and everything was in motion anyway, and I was thrilled that I got this.

The heaviness of the strokes made me think I was looking at Hebrew, just briefly.

Some good damn art going on with graffiti, I must say.

Staring Down The Sunset On SE Morrison, July 2017


This is a photo that reminds me of some semi-apocalyptic role-playing game art I've seen online lately involving sightlines down city streets with a low sun-angle.

In this case, it's just looking westbound on SE Morrison St just east of SE 7th Avenue on a July evening in 2017. 

The tall building on the left, close-by, is the Weatherly Building, southeast corner of SE Grand and Morrison, a 12-story edifice constructed by the man who once sold more than 90 per cent of the ice cream in Oregon ... well, about 100 years ago, anyway ... and it was hoped that the Weatherly would be the nucleus of a business district to rival the one on the west.

Well, here it is, 2021 and there are enough bulky buildings in the MLK/Grand corridor that the Weatherly is now just a little taller than the rest and the new 5 MLK building at MLK and Burnside exceeds that by 5 floors. So, as it turned out Weatherly and his cohort were right about the inner east side.

They just had to wait 100 years.

15 May 2021

Red January Sunrise, Stark and 122nd, 2018


Found this looking through older photos to play with. If I haven't posted this already, I fail to understand why.

The intruding roof line is from the Astro Gas Station at the corner of 122nd and Stark on on the NE side. The view is generally southeast and the car was probably about fifty feet north of the intersection.

The cloudbank is, of course, inimitable.

14 May 2021

7 NE Oregon St, Part 3: Transfixed by the abstract


The other part of 7 NE Oregon I wanted to share today: this visually delectable, entrancing abstract pattern.

Since it only went up in 2019, I understand why it doesn't have the memory-share I thought it should. Also, note the "@LEVELHEADEDPRESS" credit there. 

I don't know if the individual strokes have any meaning as such, but the way they're layered and shaded they capture the eye and draw one in. Such delicate attention to detail is the province of someone truly talented, and I enjoy it muchly, from the almost fractal quality of the patter to the way the deft shading makes it all almost three-dimensional. 

It's a beautiful thing, to be sure.